For the past quarter of a century, Japan’s high school textbooks had included the accepted historical fact that that Okinawans had been coerced into mass suicides by Imperial Army soldiers.
But six months ago, the Education Ministry said that next year’s government-endorsed textbooks would eliminate all references to Japan’s soldiers. According to the revised passages, the Okinawans simply committed mass suicide or felt compelled to do so. But by whom?
Okinawa, which suffered the only battle on Japanese soil involving civilians during World War II, was an independent kingdom with its own culture and language until it was officially annexed by Japan in the late 19th century. During the war, Japanese soldiers distrusted Okinawans and feared that they would act as spies for the Americans.
Only a few survived the war from both of my grandparent’s families. My mom once told me a story of how she walked for miles upon miles carrying her younger sister to get away from the devastating war.
If you feel strongly enough to make yourself heard about this, please show your support by adding your name to this online petition.
[Nifee to Keith Nakaganeku for the email.]