Hello, this is GT. This article is Okinawa travel report part 2.
Please see below for previous contents.
【GT’s Okinawa Travel Report Part 1】Haneda Airport, where even those who don’t like airplanes can enjoy
The plane took off from Haneda Airport and arrived safely at Naha Airport. I borrowed a rental car from the airport and moved to the hotel. After a brief break and organizing my luggage, I headed to the Himeyuri Tower.
About Himeyuri Tower
Okinawa became the battlefield during the Pacific War. Female students and staff served as nurses at the Okinawa Army Hospital. And many people were sacrificed. This is where the monument is located.
There is a Himeyuri Peace Museum in the grounds where the Himeyuri tower is located. The museum has detailed explanations and materials on how the battle was at that time and how people were sacrificed. (English explanations are also there.)
Himeyuri Tower and Museum Basic Information
Himeyuri tower is located in Itoman city in the southern part of Okinawa. It is quite near from Naha Airport. It is approximately 12 km away from Naha Airport. If you drive 30 or 40 minutes, you can go to see.
I drove south from the side of Itoman City Hall by car and headed east along National Highway 331. Below is Street View, 50 meters before the Himeyuri Tower.
Go 50m and pass the intersection “Ihara” at the Himeyuri Tower. Probably about 30m after that, come to the pho2to below. Turn right into the free parking lot.
“無料” means free. ”駐車場” means parking lot.
The other one did not stop! The car on the right is the car I was on.
Because it was around 4pm on weekdays, it was empty. I think that some people will come on Sunday.
The parking lot in the sightseeing spot is free. Okinawa good place ♪
The basic information of Himeyuri Tower is as follows. In fact, there is a Himeyuri tower in the site of the Peace Memorial Museum.
【Peace Memorial Museum and Himeyuri Tower】
Address: 671-1 Ihara, Itoman-shi, Okinawa
Museum Opening hours: From 9:00 am to 5:30 pm (entry is open until 5:00 pm) * Open all year round
Admission: 310 yen for adults, 210 yen for high school students, 110 yen for elementary and junior high school students
Inquiry phone number: 098-997-2100
Peace Memorial Museum Website：http://www.himeyuri.or.jp/EN/info.html
I entered the site
There was a guide signboard immediately on the site. The Himeyuri Tower is just ahead, and if you go further to the left, you will find the Peace Memorial Museum.
When I walked a little, there was a memorial monument.
This Himeyuri tower was different from what I had imagined. Speaking of towers, it ’s a towering tower. But the Himeyuri tower is not like that high, but like a tombstone. There is a memorial monument like the picture now, and the Himeyuri tower is on the right side of this picture.
The memorial is engraved with the names of the victims.
And there is a hole under it. This is a hole like a shelter called “gama”. The Okinawa Army Hospital Third Surgery was placed in a hole to prevent mortars. Since there was a battle with Okinawa, wounded soldiers were carried and the female students who served were also nursed here. And many people were sacrificed.
Peace Memorial Museum and Impressions
Inside the museum, the flow of the Pacific War and the details of the Battle of Okinawa were explained. Here are two things that I deeply felt.
Impression 1: About not surrendering
Japan at that time could not prevent the March 1945 Tokyo air raid. Even in the mainland decisive battle, Japan was clearly going to lose.
If the Okinawan army surrendered without fighting, there were fewer victims.
But that’s what I can say now. People who want to give their lives for the country can’t make the decision to surrender easily. I can’t blame anyone who chose do-or-die resistance with giving their life for the country. I am sad to see many victims, and I am sorry for the death.
Impression 2: The soldier yells at the female students and drives them away from the hole
The following is the most memorable story.
There were female students and a soldier in a hole. They were supposed to give up their lives when American soldiers attacked and there was nothing to do. The soldier was saying that the soldier took the life of a female student, and then the soldier also dies.
When the last time approached, somehow the soldier wielded the Japanese sword and shouted at the female students to get out of the hole. Many American soldiers had guns outside the hole, but they went out of their hole. And they surrendered to American soldiers.
Then the explosion sounded inside. The soldier died using grenades.
In my imagination, the soldier lastly encouraged female students to surrender. But because he was saying that he would give his life for the country, he couldn’t have said to surrender. The soldier wielded Japanese swords and shouted, so students had to go out of the hole. Then they could save their lives.
“Living with shame”
For soldiers at that time, living with shame would have been more difficult than dying.
Getting out of the hole is also a suicide act. Driving a weak student out of a hole is a self-serving and selfish act. If he does that, he will be disgraced. Knowing that, he drove the students out of the hole. He was unable to surrender after being disgraced with shame.
Even if he died, he wanted to help only the lives of the students! That thought became a reality and the students did not die.
Leave the Himeyuri Tower
I carefully read the materials in the museum until 5:30 pm, the closing time. I think it was a good study.
I cried about the story of the soldiers expelling students from the hole. Soldier, your last decision has saved the students from dying. You are great. I ’m deeply respectful.
In this way, I had a meaningful time because I felt a lot and thought about peace. When you come to Okinawa, please stop by the Himeyuri Tower.
After that, I decided to board a rental car and see Shuri Castle at the end of the day. Shuri Castle is located around the center of Okinawa. I went to Shuri Castle.
Later in the evening, the road was jammed.
There may be many people using cars to commute in Okinawa. The road on the way to Himeyuri tower was empty, but it was very congested from around 6pm. When you drive in Okinawa, be sure to schedule a traffic jam at dusk.
As a result, I abandoned going to see Shuri Castle and headed to the hotel.
This is the end of this article. How was it? It will continue to the next. See you!
Continue to the following page
【Okinawa Travel Report Part 3】Shuri Castle