Okinawa-place where one can meet the blend of natural beauty, cultural diversity and historical richness. It is a place where you can visit the most beautiful beaches, learn about the oldest history and culture of the indigenous people and certainly taste the most delicious sea food. However, behind this beautiful picture, there is a very sad history through which the people of Okinawa went.
While visiting the War Memorials like the Peace Memorial Park and the Himeyuri Museum, I understood the devastating effects of the war on Okinawan people. The Himeyuri Museum is solely dedicated to the school girls and their teachers, describes the horror of war, the terrible condition under which the girls lived. The museum conveys a very significant message to further generations. Himeyuri Museum is a worth visiting place to understand the brutality of war and the price of peace.
A Short History of Himeyuri Students and Battle of Okinawa.
Himeyuri Students (in English called Lily Princess Student Corps) was a group of 222 students of High School and their teachers mobilized to form a nursing unit for the Imperial Japanese Army during the Battle of Okinawa. During the three months of the Battle, the high school girls were performing difficult surgeries and various other different tasks under horrible conditions. Unfortunately, by the end of the battle 80% of the high school students and their teachers died. According to the information provided in the museum, only 1 teacher and 7 students survived this brutal battle.
After the peace resettlement, Himeyuri Monument was built in April 6 1947, dedicated to the high school students and their teachers who perished in the battle. Across the territory where the cave is located, there is a museum and a beautiful garden of commemorate.
Entering the museum, I had both feeling of excitement and compassion at the same time. I was delighted that the Himeyuri alumni were able to build the museum allowing our generation to understand the brutality of war and the price of peace. While going through the exhibition chambers of the museum, I felt deep sorrow for the lives of the young girls and the horrible experience they met. I found every chamber of the museum very much informative. Especially, the original medical instruments, clothes of the young ladies, books and many other items presented in the museum create the atmosphere of liveliness allowing us, the visitors to understand the cruelty the Himeyuri students and their teachers experienced.
The museum is very much well-constructed, divided into six chambers, each having a lot of information and message to convey. The forth exhibition chamber especially grabbed my attention. The room is totally devoted to the students and teachers who died in the war. The portraits on the wall along with the information about them memorializes their lives and existence. Apart from the portraits of the victims, there are some quotations from those who survived and the last word of those who perished. Furthermore, the passage to peace exhibition chamber was very unique since it provides a space for the young generation to have their contribution into the promotion of peace.
Referring to Tajikistan, one can claim that my home country and older generation faced the brutality of war twice. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, over 1,250,000 residents of the Soviet Tajikistan fought for the defeat of Nazism. Unfortunately, after the independence from Soviet Union, Tajikistan faced a harsh civil war which had an adverse effect on the social, economic and political life of my country. Similar to Okinawa, older generation have experienced and witnessed the atrocitrocities of war and understand the significance of peace. Tajikistan annually celebrates the Victory Day on 9th of May. The victory day is celebrated with the slogan of “Nobody is forgotten, nothing is forgotten” conveying to the younger generation the important message of peace appreciation. National Museums across Tajikistan are holding exhibitions telling the deed of Tajik soldiers during the World War II to the younger generation. Also all of the national museums in Tajikistan keep the record of all of the soldiers memorializing their existence.
National Exhibition held in the memory of the soldiers fighting the Great Patriotic War. Dushanbe, May 2017
27 June, 1997, is one of the most memorable day in the history of the independent Tajikistan. The peace accord signed ending up the atrocities of war. Thus, peace is very much appreciated in my home country.
To sum up, the Himeyuri Museum in Okinawa is an excellent manifestation of brutality of war, devastation in the face of innocent people and the mass destruction. At the same time, it is a life lesson, even though very sorrowful, teaching us the younger generation to appreciate peace and take steps to make this world a safer and peaceful place.