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The Battle of Okinawa March 23, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in History, Photos.
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The Battle of Okinawa began on April 1, 1945, when 170,000 U.S. troops invaded the island. After thousands of deaths, casualties and imprisonments, June 22 marked the official fall of Okinawa.

The Japanese army’s ultimate goal on Okinawa was to protect Shuri Castle, the hub of the Ryukyuan Kingdom. But U.S. forces were too strong, and the castle was destroyed. In 1992, the structure was rebuilt as a museum. (Unfortunately we visited on a Japanese holiday, and there were so many tourists that I only managed to take one photo.)

As destruction ensued, Okinawan civilians found shelter in tombs and caves. Families were separated, leaving many children to fend for themselves. This preserved cave in Futenma (Ginowan) saved countless lives during the battle.

You can still see where civilians carved their names in kanji into the limestone.

Japanese troops withdrew further and further until reaching the southernmost tip of the island. Here at this cliff, where the Peace Memorial Museum and Park now stand in their honor, many made the final retreat.

Even though the U.S. prevailed in the invasions of Okinawa and Iwo Jima island, authorities realized that invading mainland Japan would be too costly. Thus, in early August 1945, the United States dropped the atomic bombs.

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Comments»

1. Kathi Smith - March 24, 2010

As I was listening to NPR last week, the topic was the battle in Okinawa and subsequent bomb dropping. I listened intently, thinking of you being in that very place. Thanks for sharing the story from your first hand knowledge…-K

2. pxl - March 24, 2010

yeah, thanks for sharing, the photos are awesome, and the story of the okinawa instruments is awesome too.

3. Blog 592 - September 15, 2011

[…] best to recount the island’s devastation during and after the war in the context of music and photos. I tried to keep the writing simple and accessible while still being a historical resource. I knew […]

4. Okinawa on Wax « Adventures in Audio - October 14, 2011

[…] that the native Okinawans wholeheartedly welcome these groups that were there as a direct result of the island getting destroyed in World War II. I felt welcomed when I was there, when I would try to say in broken Japanese that […]


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