Friday, October 31, 2008
I found this monument today while searching for a Geocache hidden there. It's a monument placed in honor of the local villagers that were killed by Japanese soldiers prior to, and during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945.
Many people fail to grasp the enormity of the horror that was the Empire of Japan in the early 1940s. There's a reason why most Okinawans don't, and won't, consider themselves Japanese. Many of them were forced to work as slaves, digging the caves, tunnels and bunkers that protected the Japanese soldiers from American bombardment. The Okinawans that refused to work were put to death. Many of the women were rounded up, and made to work in "comfort camps," as slaves to the soldiers.
Prior to the American invasion of Okinawa, the Japanese soldiers told the Okinawans that the Americans were barbarians, who would rape, torture, and eat the Okinawans. All they really had to do was tell the Okinawans that the Americans were, "worse than us." As a result of the misinformation, thousands of Okinawans ended up committing suicide, rather than face the Americans. This was one of the greatest tragedies of the war in the Pacific. Peace Prayer Park is located on the spot where entire families hurled themselves off of cliffs, ending their lives in the harsh surf and rocks below.
The Akano Monument is a small token, dedicated to those local Okinawans that did not survive the Japanse occupation. Local farmers will sit around the monument in the afternoons, enjoying the shade of the large banyan tree.
I'm honored to have come across this piece of history.
Scribbled by Just John at 1:25 PM