Walking tour around scene of Koza riot to learn about nonviolence

Walking tour around scene of Koza riot to learn about nonviolence

Led by Soko Furugen (second from right), members of the tour guide group visited the site of the Koza Riot. On December 20, at Chuo Street, Okinawa City.

December 30, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

On December 20, the tour guide group that tells tourists about Okinawa City’s historical and cultural attractions walked around the Goya Crossroads where the Koza Riot occurred in 1970. Led by Soko Furugen, the leader of the group that keeps records on the Koza Riot, they visited sites such as Goya Crossroads and Gate Street along Route No. 330. They learned about the historical background to the riot and the turmoil in which the vehicles of U.S. military personnel were torched. Furugen was a witness to the turmoil. He said, “There was a strange order about things as they moved the vehicles into the middle of the road to set them alight. There was no looting or killing during the riot.”

“Okinawan people’s pent-up anger towards the U.S. forces flared up, but they did not use violence against U.S. personnel. The people of Koza, which had developed alongside the bases, saw American soldiers as fellow human beings. That they did not use violence towards human beings is a good example of how the Okinawan people have universal values,” Furugen stressed.

Naoko Kamura, 41, who took part in the tour, said, “It was the first time for me to hear about the riot from someone who was actually involved. It is difficult for my generation to understand what it was like in Okinawa under the control of the United States, but his story was easy to follow.”

Okinawa City Tourism Association is training tour guides as part of its tourism promotion project. A total of 35 tour guides have finished the training course.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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