More than 100,000 people joined a protest at Okinawa’s Kaihin Park in Ginowan City on Sept. 29 to signal their opposition to the omission of Imperial Army-ordered suicides from history books.
Japan’s education ministry has generated protest in Okinawa by erasing one of the country’s worst moments from history textbooks. Okinawans who lost loved ones when the Japanese army ordered them to commit suicide during World War II are bitterly battling the historical omission.
Hunched over a garden bench, 81-year-old Mitsuoko Oshiro recalls how she was given a grenade by a soldier, who told her that if she failed to use it to kill herself and her family, she would be raped and tortured by the Americans.
“I wanted to die, but I couldn’t do it. We fled to the hills when the Americans invaded, but they didn’t harm us—they just let us go,” she says.
But 11 members of her extended family obeyed the orders—they all died by taking rat poison.