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Interviewed by Okinawa police and NCIS agents, he denied any involvement and attempted to provide an alibi — but it did not check out. “When it comes to sexual crimes, this victim-blaming extends throughout the Japanese justice system. Relations over the rights of Okinawans, prosecutors decline cases where the accused is a U.S. service member,” said Takazato. Takazato asserts that some of the problem lies with the Japanese judicial system, which frequently blames the victims of sexual assaults.

  • While the Osprey protests flared, two American sailors allegedly assaulted and gang raped a local woman in October.
  • The students found a grenade and decided that they would pull the pin and die together.
  • Although Japan was at war, the smiling faces of the students express their hopes of a bright future.
  • This is where Japanese girls who like foreign men known as gaijin hunters go to try and hook up with soldiers.
  • The NCIS tried to locate the suspect in Okinawa, but they could not find him because he had quit his on-base job and checked out of the hotel earlier than scheduled.

Local students assisted in building encampments or raising food supplies, while schools reduced class hours. By this time World War II was well under way, resulting in a ground battle between the U.S. Forces and the Japanese Imperial Army on the islands of Okinawa, and forced local residents to become involved in the war. To delay the imminent battle from arriving on the mainland for as long as possible, the Japanese forces strategized to hold the progress of the American attack on the island of Okinawa. The Japanese soldiers hid in underground caves and fought an enemy who possessed far more fire power.

If they will let you in, and there are girls that will do you but most Okinawan women just see you as a oddity to get to know so they can feel a bit more worldly not as a potential sex mate or husband. It can happen true but after 60 years on island the girls that do are the acceptation and as said above usually have been around the block. Akemi Johnson researched this essay as a Fulbright scholar in Okinawa. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and Brown University, she is writing a book of creative nonfiction on these borderlands outside the island’s U.S. military bases.

Some products are likely to be in the process of restocking and may require more time to prepare. Okinawa has been one of the most popular subjects in the history of Japanese photography, having attracted many renowned Japanese photography masters such as Tomatsu Shomei, Daido Moriyama, Nobuyoshi Araki, and Keizo Kitajima. Born and raised in Okinawa, Ishikawa is still the only female photographer still vigorously making work in Okinawa in spite of whatever taboos or challenges she came across along the way. The April agreement between the U.S. and Japanese governments to consolidate the bases in Okinawa was played up as a good faith effort to wipe away some of what U.S. Ambassador Walter Mondale has called the U.S. military’s «footprints» in Okinawa. The media in the United States bought the U.S. and Japanese governments’ line.

They were cut loose to take their chances on a battlefield. American troops landed on Okinawa Apr. 1 and soon casualties began clogging the lightless tunnels. The nurses were worked to the bone taking care of patients’ unending needs and assisting the doctors as they patched up or hacked off battlefield injuries often without the aid of anesthesia.

Making a Life—Not Merely a Living

WHILE OKINAWANS PERSIST IN THEIR FIGHT against the U.S. and Japanese governments, so do the crimes against women and girls by U.S. military personnel. In January 1996, a 14-year-old American girl was allegedly raped at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa by a 24-year-old airman.

A much shorter version of her story is also recounted in the Himeyuri Museum Guidebook. If you’re hungry I recommend driving to a residential neighborhood five minutes away and having Okinawa soba at Makabe Chinaa (Café Makabechina). This café not only has good food at reasonable prices but is a house built in 1891 that has bullet holes from the battle.


As a consequence of the protests regarding jurisdiction, the U.S. made concessions and agreed to consider transferring suspects to the Japanese before an indictment if the severity of the alleged crime warranted it. This agreement was decided at an emergency meeting between U.S.

“We had to bury bodies at night and we had to work quickly,” Suetomi says, her hands motioned as if they never forgot how to move the dirt to bury soldiers. She continued, “There was no time to relax, we just focused on our work.” Even at night, there was still risk of going into the line of fire. The girls even stopped menstruating due to the unrelenting stress and lack of nutrition. The museum displays are almost all completely bilingual including survivor videos, which are worth watching. One is 16 minutes of 1-2 minute interviews about life during the battle, the other is in a sit-down theater with an hour of similar interviews about those last few days attempting to get away. For the most part it seems the surviving Himeyuri fled looking for safety wherever they could while evading shells, gunfire and air attacks.

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The Imperial soldiers managed the groups within the caves and instructed the girls on what to do. “We had to take care of the wounded soldiers and feed them. Once in a while, we were lucky and had vegetables, but very little,” explained Suetomi. At 11 years old, Suetomi dreamed of becoming an elementary school teacher. With encouragement from her teachers, Suetomi studied vigorously and became the only student from Taira Village to pass the entrance exam for the Okinawa First Girls’ High School. There were 400 hundred female applicants from all over Okinawa and only 40 were accepted. The schools motto, “Aim for the Development of Highly Intellectual and Well-Cultivated Women” inspired Suetomi to pursue her dream.