Memorial service held for victims of Tsushima-Maru tragedy

Memorial service held for victims of Tsushima-Maru tragedy

On August 22, at the Kozakura-no-To monument in Wakasa, Naha, people prayed for the victims of the Tsushima-Maru tragedy.

August 23, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

August 22 marked 69 years since the evacuation ship Tsushima-Maru carrying many schoolchildren was sunk by a U.S. submarine. At a memorial service was held at the Kozakura-no-To monument in Wakasa, Naha, about 350 people, including survivors, bereaved families, and people otherwise involved took part to pray for those who lost their lives. A children’s chorus group from the elementary schools that the victims belonged to at the time also sang.

Maria Miyagi, an 84-year-old survivor who lives in the United States participated in the memorial service. She lost her brother in the tragedy 69 years ago, “I remember it as though it happened yesterday. People were going down to the sea one after another. What happened that day is not something from a normal world,” she said. “I want to take part in the memorial service from now to pray for peace.”

Masakatsu Takara, president of the Tsushima-Maru Memorial Foundation said in his speech, “We can’t forget or forgive what happened in the Tsushima-Maru incident. From the Memorial Hall we want to strive to tell people about this tragedy to create peace and realize a society in which children can live better lives.”

A play depicting the Tsushima-Maru tragedy was performed after the memorial service to pass on its message to future generations. It conveyed the misery of the incident through song and dance.

Tokuhito Uza, a third grade student of Oroku High School and a member of the play group, said, “I want to work hard so that we can have a sense of peace in future in Okinawa.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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