Introduction peace” (Spring, 2009). Also, the museum was

 

Introduction

 

 

To begin with, during the
World War II, a violent battle of Okinawa took place from April 1 until June
21, 1945. This battle was one of the biggest battles in the “The Pacific Ocean
Theater” between the the United States and the Japanese Imperial army. During
this “Typhoon of Steel” battle on the Okinawa island, the war lasted around
90days and resulted in a tragedy death of 200,000 of civilians and more than
12,000 American soldiers. Therefore, the battle of Okinawa was one of the
largest-scale war in the Asia-Pacific region.

One of the major effects
of the war was Japan ending up losing numerous civilian lives, some were killed
during the battle, some were trapped into a depressed situation and later on
forced to commit suicide, and others died from symptoms like malaria. Under the
influence of the war time period, Okinawans have suffered from the slaughters
and massacres which resulted in the establishment of what people called the Okinawan
Heart. To explain, Okinawans have experience the harsh aspects from the war and
also the difficulties when living under the control the United States military.

Therefore, Okinawan Heart has led to the creation of the Okinawa Peace Memorial
Museum with the purpose to “To
tell historical lessons of battle of Okinawa to the next generations and
contribute to the establishment of eternal peace” (Spring, 2009). Also, the
museum was built to commemorate those who passed away during the war and to pass on
the historical lessons of this battle to the younger generations.

In this way, Japanese elders could convey important messages to the modern
generations and also showing their individual war experiences to the citizens
of Okinawa. Nowadays, the word Okinawa is very well known globally as the last battle
of World War II where it led to the atomic bombing incident afterwards. However,
the loss of precious lives and the spirit of the war dead would still remain in
every Okinawan’s heart. This paper will focus on the characteristics of the
Okinawa Peace Memorial Museum (??????????)

and also explore the narrative content that the museum intends to convey
people. The following examples and cases in this paper will help emphasize the
meaning of this Peace Memorial Museum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okinawa Peace Memorial Museum

 

 

The Okinawa Peace Memorial Museum (??????????) was founded on June 11th, 1975, locating in
the Itoman city which is the southern part of Okinawa Prefecture. The design of
this museum is very interesting in a sense that it was built on with the
cornerstone of peace and also include a hidden meaning within the circular shape.

The Okinawan believe that the circular shaped comer stone of peace represents “the
fire of peace” which is in the center for the past local villages to watch over
the cornerstone of peace. In addition, the characteristics of the museum
buildings were built using a red brick which based on the image of the ancient
Okinawa village. In fact, the “Cornerstone of Peace” or “????” is used to as a model in order to develop a more conceptual
plan of the construction of a peace monument and moreover it is also used to
represent the theme of this prefecture, the unique culture, and regional characteristics
of Okinawa. Every room of the
museum each emphasizes on different aspects of the Battle of Okinawa. The first
room displays the road to the battle of Okinawa, showing the pre modern history
of the Ryukyu and how they ended up in a battle between U.S. and Japan. The reason
why the pre modern history is includes in this museum is that Japan desires to
education their citizens with information such as the history of the Ryukyu
before the abolishment of the kingdom. Therefore, this room does not only focus
on the history of the Typhoon Steel incident but it also shows the history of
the Sino-Japanese War and the Manchurian incident as an example Japan approaching
greatness by moving into the modernized Meiji period. The next room of the
museum shows the progress of the battle, giving the darker theme to the
Japanese history. The events of war are described by different individuals who
personally experienced the war. The progress of war is explained by showing
illustrations such as three dimensional maps, historical videos, and objects
from the wartime period. The third room displays the battleground of hell, the
places where the Okinawan people moved to when they suffered from the battle
and had to hide in caves and some of them ended up in the killing grounds. In fact,
these histories are physically told in a cave themed exhibition room where the Japanese
troops were outnumbered at the southern part of Okinawa which later on turned into
the area of many deaths. In fact, the civilians were forced to commit suicide or
killed by both American and Japanese soldiers in many caves. For this reason,
this room represents the brutal aspect of the wars occurred in Okinawa. The
fourth room indicated the personal testimonies of the Battle of Okinawa. This room’s
concept is presented in print and video recordings of personal testimonies of
the war as an evidence of how the innocence ended up as war victims. Therefore,
the evidence of the survivors’ personal experience provides a clearer
perspective of the truth how the civilians who had to die against their will. The last exhibition room shows the process
of Okinawa seeking peace during the 27 years if the U.S. occupation. Furthermore,
it also shows Okinawa’s post war history, when Okinawa was developed into a
military base complex during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the
United States. As a result, Okinawan people’s rights and their land were both
taken by the U.S in order to operate the island as a military base.

 

 

The museum does not only provide the significant of war history to the
visitors, but it also has a children’s exhibit for the younger generation to
learn the crucial aspects of life. Likewise, children could observe the modern
social problems like environmental issues, human rights, and poverty. Next to
the children’s exhibition is the museum library where visitors can find materials
like books, films, and other information regarding the war history. They also
provide war experience videos from modern technology which can be view on
computers or other digital archives.  

 

 

 

Okinawa Peace Memorial Park

 

 

According to
Gerald Figal, he mentions about the Okinawa Peace museum in his book “Beachheads: War, Peace, and
Tourism in Postwar Okinawa”,
stating that “As a distinctively Okinawan contribution to the World War II memorialization,
The Cornerstone of Peace monument that is adjacent to the museum in the Peace Memorial
Park at Mabuni, on the southern part of Okinawa” (Figal, 2012). The park is
located on the Mabuni Hill where the last battle of Okinawa occurred. Visitors can
experience the great sight seeing of the coastline view from the park. Originally
the Ryukyu government begun the construction of the park after the reversion of
Okinawa to Japan in 1972. The significance of this Memorial Park can be seen
from the materials of the wartime period that are displayed in the area, representing
the relationship of Okinawa and the war. For instance, there are several
photographs and names of the war heroes are being displayed to commemorate the
souls of Okinawan people who were slaughtered during the battle. Moreover, the
names of those who fought in the Battle of Okinawa are engraved on the
Cornerstone of Peace Monument, with the intention of mourning to those who sacrificed
themselves in order to bring peace to Okinawa. Therefore, this Memorial Park
plays a pivotal role of representing the National War Dead Peace Memorial in
the Southern area of Okinawa. Nowadays, many tourists from Japan and oversea go
to this Memorial Park to pay respect to those who lost their lives during the
war and also giving prayers to the victims of this incident. But most importantly,
to mourning of war dead and praying for peace among
humanity.

 

 

 

In the modern
time, Japan commemorate those who fought in the Pacific War on June 23, Okinawa’s
Memorial Day. This day has been recognized globally as as the day that general
Isamu Cho and general Mitsuru Ushijima of the Japanese army have committed suicide
in order to bring an end to this long lasting war in June 23, 1945. For this
reason, Japanese people participate in the commemorating ceremony at the Okinawa
Peace Memorial Park with regard to pay respect to the victims of the War. For
example, Okinawan people visit the park at 11:50am, giving a silent prayer
those who lost their lives in the war and pray for a lasting peace in mankind. In
fact, this is also a public holiday of Okinawa prefecture for local residents
to go mourn for the loss of precious lives. Another ceremony “Memorial Lantern
Floating” is also held on the same day, yet, it starts from 5:30pm. This
ceremony’s purpose is to float the lantern (toro nagashi) into the pond as a
traditional observance for the spirits of the deceased and remember those lost
in the war (Okinawa Island Guide, 2017).

 

 

The
characteristics of the Cornerstone of Peace

 

The cornerstone
of Peace was established on July 23, 1995 with the purpose to commemorate
the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa. Therefore, the
meaning behind this cornerstone of peace symbolizes the spirit of peace that
has been in Okinawa’s history and culture. Consequently,