Memorial Day in Okinawa

A panorama photo of Cornerstone of Peace at Peace Memorial Park

June 23rd is Okinawa’s memorial day (慰霊の日). It was the day Japanese Imperial Army was defeated by the U.S. Armed Forces in Battle of Okinawa 71 years ago.

People visit Cornerstone of Peace to find names of their family members'.

Many people who lost their families and relatives in the battle visit the Peace Memorial Park on Mabuni Hill in the city of Itoman where the final major combat took place. Here, all the names of those who were killed in the battle are inscribed on the Cornerstone of Peace regardless of their nationality.

People visit Konpaku Monument near Peace Memorial Park.

Many Okinawans also visit the monuments built around the islands to commemorate particular groups of those who perished in the war.

Konpaku Monument (on the pictures above and below) was built in Komesu area a few miles away from the Peace Memorial Park where the largest number of bodies in a single place were found after the battle. So many of those who cannot find bodies of their loved ones’ or don’t know where they died come to this place to pray for them.

People pray at Konpaku Monument.

At noon, the entire islands are filled with moment of silence.

Panoramic view of Mabuni Hill a.k.a. suicide cliffs.

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