: Classifieds : MyJU :
Stories: News
Browse News Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

Battle of Okinawa history book revision angers Okinawans

Date Posted: 2007-04-06

Japanese high school textbooks have eliminated statements that Okinawans were forced by Japanese soldiers to commit suicide during the Battle of Okinawa, rather than be captured.

The order to modify textbooks came from the Education Ministry, and is being called a gross modern day revision of history. More than 94,000 Okinawans died during the three-month closing battle of World War II, with an estimated 25% committing suicide. The battle, referred to as the “typhoon of steel”, claimed the lives of more than 200,000 including 12,520 Americans.

Screeners at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology asked the five textbook publishers to change the sections referring to suicides, eliminating any reference to Okinawans having been told to commit suicide. They said the old textbooks provided misunderstandings to students. The new approved verbage states “Mass suicides and killings took place among the residents using hand grenades given them.”, deleting reference to the Japanese Army.

Okinawans vehemently disagree. Local Zamami and other Kerama Archipelago natives insist “Our ancestors told us Japanese military told local people women would be raped by the American military soldiers, and men would be run over by tanks, and said it’s better to die than be taken prisoner by the Americans.” Okinawans recall family members recounting the battle telling them “the Japanese military gave grenades to everybody in Zamami Village, Tokashiki and others.” A former Japanese military commander says it didn’t happen that way, saying “grenades were very important, and Okinawans couldn’t take them without permission, and also village people didn’t know how to use them.” His comments were found in an American history document about the Battle of Okinawa.

Zamami Village leaders say “History shouldn’t be changed by current people. Facts are facts.” One leaders says “My house had grenades, and that means the military delivered them to every house for use in suicides.”

Okinawans do not want Japan to forget what happened here.

Masahide Ota was one who fought in the battle. He recalls “hand grenades, which were in extremely short supply, were distributed to residents. I heard people say they were told by the military to commit suicide using the grenades rather than becoming captives. Ota, now 82, surrendered four months after the battle ended, joined the ranks of Okinawa historians, and ultimately became Okinawa’s governor in the years 1990-1998. Historians note a Japanese wartime slogan pitched heavily on Okinawa was “soldiers and civilians must live and die together.”

Sumie Oshiro was a Battle of Okinawa survivor who was told directly by Japanese soldiers to kill themselves rather than be captured. “We tried to kill ourselves many times,” she says, “but the grenade we were given by the Japanese Army would not explode.”

Ota says “I saw civilians shot by Japanese soldiers when they came out of caves with their hands up to surrender. People were given two grenades. One was to throw at the Americans and one was to use on themselves.”

Browse News Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

weather currency health and beauty restaurants Yellowpages JU Blog

OkistyleJU FacebookOkistyle

Go to advertising PDF?||?|o?L?qAE?|?}?OA?N?ga`OkiStyle?A??q?qM?oeu^?I`??N?gX?<eth>?<ETH>?ni^?IWanted!!Golden Kings ScheduleOkiNightSeeker