Committee to hold memorial service for Okinawa-born war dead in Hawaii

Committee to hold memorial service for Okinawa-born war dead in Hawaii

On January 19 at the Okinawa Prefectural Government office, members of the Executive Committee called for participation in the memorial service for the Okinawan war dead at Hawaii POW camp.  

January 20, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

On January 19, a memorial service will be held for Okinawans who died in a Hawaii POW camp. The committee organizing the service held a press conference at the Okinawa Prefectural Government office and announced the plan to hold the memorial event for Okinawans who were transferred from Okinawa in 1945 to Hawaii as war prisoners. The committee invited people from the prefecture to participate in the memorial service, which is scheduled to be held on June 4 on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii.

A co-representative of the committee, Hikonobu Toguchi was held in the camp on Oahu from July 1945 to December 1946. He looked for the graves of Okinawans when he returned to Hawaii after the war; however, he could not find any. Toguchi has obtained a record of 12 Okinawans noted as dead and made an inquiry with the U.S. about the location of the remains.

According to a Ryukyu Shimpo article published on November 30, 1983, the dead were buried in the U.S. military Schofield Barracks, but the graves were removed in 1946 in accordance with the expansion work. There is no record of the remains of Okinawans being returned to Okinawa.

The Executive Committee will hold a memorial service at 3 p.m. on June 4 at the Jikoen Hongwanji in Honolulu. Toguchi said, “It is the role of the living to comfort the souls of those who must have been wandering in the sky of Hawaii. I hope many people come to know about this.” The committee called for participation and donations for the memorial service. For inquiries, call the Executive Committee at 098 (887) 0016.

The names of the unidentified Okinawans are as follows:

Shinso Akamine (Deceased on July 22, 1945); Ryokotoku Ishikawa (Civilian Military, Deceased on September 12, 1945); Anso Asato (Deceased on August 10, 1945); Seitei Ganaha (Civilian Military, Deceased on July 31, 1945); Noritaka Tanaka (Civilian Military, Deceased on December 2, 1945); Jiro Miyazato (Civilian Military, Deceased on August 10, 1945); Seikei Yamashiro (Civilian Military, July 22, 1945).

(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)

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