Peace Memorial Museum presents special exhibition
The effects of the Battle of Okinawa 68 years ago are being analyzed now through an Okinawa Prefectural Museum special project focusing on “The Battle and what Okinawan Japanese Immigrants in Hawaii Experienced”
– Feelings of Hawaiian-Uchinanchu (Okinawan) toward Okinawa.
The exhibition began several weeks ago at the museum within the Peace Memorial Park complex in Itoman. The program runs at the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum through Wednesday, Dec. 11th, and then becomes a traveling road show, heading to Yaeyama Peace Memorial Museum Jan. 16th through Feb. 26th, 2014.
At the Okinawa Prefecture Peace Memorial Museum, the new exhibition is located on the first floor. At the Yaeyama Peace Memorial Museum, the program will be in Exhibition Hall 2.
Organizers explain how, in the year 1945, Okinawa lost 200,000 lives and countless cultural assets, during the Battle of Okinawa. They say “we need to continue to pass on and preserve the true history of this disastrous battle to the next generation to contribute to establishing ever-lasting peace. In this year’s event, we will be taking another look at the importance of peace through the eyes of the Hawaiian-Uchinanchu, the Okinawans, and how they experienced Okinawa before, during and after the war.”
The focus is also on the foolishness war brings, they say, noting that before the war, many Okinawans had immigrated to Hawaii and supported Okinawa when in crisis. The project leaders explain that what many do not know about the Hawaiian-Uchinanchu prejudice they experienced after Pearl Harbor, the grief of having to fight the country of their ancestors, and all the support they gave to Okinawa after the war.
Through the actual documents, photographs and film footage of the era, visitors will be able to see their efforts towards their homeland Okinawa, making people re-think what peace is from diverse standpoints, and to never let war occur again.
Exhibition Content is segregated into three time periods: Part I Hawaii-Okinawa before the war -being away from home- and the story of Hawaii Okinawa Immigrants, Pearl Harbor and impact on the Japanese immigrants, Identities, and the prejudice and the battle 2nd generation Japanese immigrants had to fight.
Part II focuses on The Battle of Okinawa from the eyes of 2nd generation Japanese immigrant soldiers, 2ndgeneration Japanese immigrants’ testimony, and the end of the battle of Okinawa. The third part of the exhibition rounds out the experience, explaining the support Hawaii-Uchinanchu gave for the
rebirth of Okinawa, Support from Hawaii to Okinawa, and the Salvation of the Okinawan spirit (culture, devotions).