A few years ago whilst on a trip to Okinawa, I visited the island’s World War Two memorial, where the graves of the fallen overlook the tranquil clear blue of the Pacific Ocean.
Though mainland Japan was subject to heavy Allied aerial bombing campaigns during the war, Okinawa was the only geographic location in Japan, which saw ground warfare.
The Battle of Okinawa was a viciously fought conflict in which over 200 000 people were killed. 62% of these were civilian casualties.
The memorial is also home to haunting art and video installations, which unreservedly tell the bloody tale of that battle and its high human cost.
There was none of the triumphalism that one encounters in British and American accounts of WW2. I saw that war, truly, for the first time, from the perspective of the defeated. And all the sadness and shame that accompanied it. Read More…