Virtual WWII Battle of Okinawa lecture slated for July 1

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Photo by Gary Kohatsu The Okinawa Association of America (OAA) hosted its third annual mini craft fair on Saturday, April 23 in the OAA Center’s parking lot at 16500 S. Western Ave, Gardena. At center is OAA Executive Director Yuko Yamauchi, who is flanked by volunteers Michel Toguchi, left, and Vicky Oshiro Nishiuchi. The small outdoor boutique included Okinawa-themed items such as art prints, greeting cards, tote bags, clothing, stickers, and more. The organization hopes that this will be a big draw, as Okinawan items are rarely available at local stores, festivals, and other craft fairs.This event was led by Melissa Oshiro Tran, one of the OAA’s youngest volunteers. On July 1, the OAA will host its annual Irei no Hi: Remembering the Battle of Okinawa in a live Zoom feed starting at 7 p.m. Pacific Time. A special guest lecturer from Okinawa, Harumi Miyagi, will speak about the forced mass civilian deaths on Zamami Island. Registration is required for this free event (Zoom link and phone number to be emailed): tinyurl.com/oaairei22

The Okinawa Association of America (OAA) in Gardena, will host its annual Irei no Hi: Remembering the Battle of Okinawa in a live Zoom feed on July 1 at 7 p.m. Pacifi c Time. A special guest lecturer from Okinawa, Harumi Miyagi, will speak about the forced mass civilian deaths on Zamami Island. The event will be in Japanese with English subtitles for the presentation and live English translation for the Q&A. Admission is free but donations are very much appreciated. Registration is required (Zoom link and phone number to be emailed): tinyurl.com/oaairei22

World War II’s Battle of Okinawa has been called one the bloodiest land battles in the Pacific, with historians calling it a “war of attrition” by the Imperial Japanese Army to prevent the U.S. military from reaching the Japanese mainland. The U.S. military landed in the Kerama Islands (made up of Tokashiki, Zamami, and Kerama) on March 26, 1945. Okinawan survivors stated that the mass civilian deaths that occurred during this time were coerced by the Imperial Japanese Army. In 2007, Japan’s Ministry of Education ordered the incidents to be removed from high school textbooks. Guest lecturer Miyagi will talk about these horrific incidents based on her research and interviews with survivors. Miyagi is a historian, lecturer, and writer who was born in Zamami. She is currently the vice chairperson of the New Okinawa Prefectural History Editorial Committee (Shin Okinawa-kenshi Henshu Iinkai) and chairperson of the Women’s History Subcommittee. As a lecturer, she has spoken at Okinawa International University, the University of the Ryukyus, and the Prefectural Government office about women’s history and gender studies, peace and human rights, and the inheritance of tootoomee (Okinawan mortuary tablets). Her books include “What My Mother Left Behind: New Testimonies of Mass Suicide in Zamami Island,” “Women’s History as a Minority” (co-authored), and “Listen to the Damage of Sexual Violence” (co-authored). This year marks the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa. In Okinawa, a memorial day known as Irei no Hi is observed annually on June 23, the date which was documented as the end of the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. The goal of the OAA’s annual Irei no Hi: Remembering the Battle of Okinawa event is to memorialize the nearly 150,000 lives that were lost during the war and post-war years and to inform the next generation about Okinawa’s history and current issues. The Okinawa Association of America, Inc. (OAA) is a public benefit, charitable organization that is dedicated to preserving and promoting Okinawan culture. Formed by first generation Okinawan immigrants (issei), the OAA has grown into a multigenerational organization that hosts numerous events throughout the year for the community (cultural lectures, performances, social gatherings), senior-focused activities, and opportunities for youth/young adult members of Okinawan descent. The year 2019 marked the organization’s 110th anniversary as well as the 20th anniversary of the OAA Center in Gardena. OAA officials: “Ippee nifee deebiru (thank you very much) to our community supporter Ichariba Choodee: An Okinawan Voices and Stories Podcast.” For additional information, call 310-532-1929, email at oaa. mensore@gmail.com, or go to the OAA Facebook page at https:// www.facebook.com/oaamensore.

Virtual WWII Battle of Okinawa lecture slated for July 1