Okinawa 10/10 Air Raid banished from high school textbooks approved by government

Okinawa 10/10 Air Raid banished from high school textbooks approved by government

Naha City was bombed during the 10/10 Air Raid on Oct. 10, 1944 (photograph provided by Okinawa Prefectural Archives)

March 30, 2022 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Yo Kakazu and Yosuke Anri



On March 29, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) announced its approved list of high school textbooks for the 2023 academic year. The publisher Shimizu Shoin’s textbook for the newly established elective course Advanced Japanese History (which will replace Japanese History-B) banishes the October 10, 1944, air raid on Okinawa, also known as the 10/10 Air Raid, stating that “The first indiscriminate attack [during the Pacific War] was the bombing of Tokyo, carried out during the early morning of March 10, 1945.” None of the seven approved textbooks created by the five publishers mention the 10/10 Air Raid. Furthermore, none of the textbooks clearly mention the Japanese military orders of the mass suicides (compulsory mass-suicide) committed in the Battle of Okinawa.


MEXT did not issue any official comments on Shimizu Shoin’s textbook description of the air raids but maintained that the description is “not false,” citing numerous other history books.


In reality, during the 10/10 Air Raid, the U.S. military dropped bombs and incendiary devices on Okinawa’s main island and surrounding islands over the course of its fifth offensive. U.S. official records indicate that the Japanese government at the time protested to the U.S. that the attack was an “indiscriminate” one.


Shimizu Shoin declined to answer this paper’s questions about the erroneous information presented in its textbook.


Two of publisher Jikkyo Shuppan’s textbooks offers maps in which Okinawa is labeled with the text: “10/10/1944 Naha Air Raid.” Jikkyo Shuppan explained that the term “10/10 Air Raid” is narrowly used and does not appear in the textbook itself, therefore inappropriate for high school students to cram. Two previous textbooks approved in March 2021 for the required course Modern and Contemporary History include descriptions such as: “Naha was bombed and destroyed,” but no further details are provided.


Furthermore, Jikkyo Shuppan’s Advanced Japanese History textbook incorrectly states that the Mariana Islands were captured in 1945 (it fell in 1944). Meanwhile, Daiichi Gakushu-sha publishing describe the Himeyuri students as “student nurse corps” in its textbooks. Concerned parties have requested this description be corrected, noting it could be misread as if the students had joined the corps and participated in the war of their own volition.


(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)



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