Over 120,000 Gather in Protest


Okinawans gathered in Ginowan’s Convention Center area in overflowing numbers to show their strength and unity in wanting to keep their history and pass the war stories on to the next generation. In towns and cities, workers were given time off from work, and city buses were free to those going to the event. Each city and some towns also provided shuttle busses for free to their citizens. The most impressionable presentation was the Yomitan high school students who represented Okinawa’s thousands of other high schoolers. “We want to let Japan know that we will not tolerate this action. Is Japan telling us that our elders and grandpaents have been lying to us about the war? This kind of history cannot just be earased from paper. These things have been etched in the minds and hearts of our grandparents. We ourselves stand for the truth. As students we go to school to learn the truth. We also wish to be educators. How can educators not tell what happened in this part of history. How can we deprive our children of this importat part of history. It is part of Okinawa. This action that the Japanese government wants to put on us is unforgivable. Droves of people were still arriving as the event ended.

At the beginning of the event, a torch was lit with the fire from the Peace Memorial to represent the flame of those who suffered and died in the war in Okinawa. It was mentioned that it is mainly for those people and for the future generations that the Okinawans must unite as a people to fight this terrible thing from happening. What will be next? Will they want to say that the battle in Okinawa never happened? Satsuma never invaded Okinawa? This was a very emotional and awesome event. A very quiet and peaceful protest, but you could see in the eyes f the elders that they looked at the younger ones who will cary this fight. They themselves werwe there to show that they will not stand to see this part of history disappear. The Thousands of Young generations, high school students, and many other supporters hopefully marks a beginning to a stronger fight in the direction for recognition and identity, and justice that is long over due for LooChoo.