Shoko Ahagon’s legacy of the Ie Land Struggle and Solidarity Dojo passed on to Ie Elementary School students

Shoko Ahagon's legacy of the Ie Land Struggle and Solidarity Dojo passed on to Ie Elementary School students

Sixth-grade students of Ie Elementary School learn about Shoko Ahagon, who fought in the Ie Land Struggle.

May 31, 2021 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Mitsue Chinen


On May 25, the 6th graders of Ie Elementary School learned about peace at the Danketsu Dojo (solidarity training center) in Maja, Ie Village, and in their classrooms at Ie Elementary School. The 30-hour learning opportunity raised awareness of the tragic Invasion of Ie Shima during WWII and elevated the children’s desire for peace. Director of Education Tsunenobu Uchima served as the lecturer and shared with the children the historical background of Danketsu Dojo.


Uchima explained, “Danketsu Dojo was founded in 1970 in Maja by the late Shoko Ahagon and others who fought in the Land Struggle in Ie Village under U.S. rule. The dojo served as a base for resistance against land confiscation and U.S. military exercises, and as a place to train successors in the struggle to take back land rights.” Using photos and panels, Uchima further explained, “The ‘Ie Island Land Protection Association’ advanced the fight by petitioning the U.S. government and organizing protests.”


Ryo Kurashita said, “It’s scary to think what would have happened to Ie Island if Shoko Ahagon hadn’t fought back.” Hinami Tanahara added, “If Mr. Ahagon hadn’t acted, I don’t think Ie Island would be here today, so I’m grateful.”


Makoto Hirata, a 6th-grade teacher, said, “There is a lack of knowledge of who started the war and why. [The children] study history in the 6th grade, so I hope to teach them the preciousness of peace.”


Uchima said, “Wars don’t start overnight. I want [the students to] read history books and newspapers, be curious, and learn about their world.” To conclude their learning, the students are scheduled to put on a play about peace and their local heroes.


(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)


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