Sporadic Happiness (in Japan!)

(formerly) updated every Wednesday

Omake #7: Himeyuri Student Nurses

on May 28, 2012

So today my JTE (Japanese Teach of English) wasn’t at school because she had to take her aging father to the doctor down in the prefecture capital of Matsuyama.

On my desk this morning there were two booklets labeled “Himeyuri Peace Museum” – one in English and one in Japanese. In one of the current English textbooks on the lesson we’re on, there was a mention of the Himeyuri Peace Museum as the ALT character had gone to Okinawa for her Golden Week Vacation.

Anyway, I started to read the English one, thinking it would be some stuffy piece about museums, but then my world was turned upside down.

I don’t think I ever really connected what “Peace Museum” means. It’s more than a museum – it’s a war memorial, really. A tribute to the terrible things that have happened, reminding us of them and hoping to keep the memories alive so that we may never have war again.

I was shocked at what I was reading; it didn’t feel real. There were many of the surviving nurses’ personal accounts written in that book, which were both grotesque and sad. I can hardly believe people, and young girls at that, have been through such trauma in their lives.

I won’t be able to properly explain it, so I will link you to a Japan Times article that gives all the proper statistics and background information.

Japan Times Article: Only teenagers, they were pressed into service. Student nurse recalls horror of Okinawa fighting

There also appears to be a documentary that was originally Japanese but also had an English version made. I’m not sure how to obtain it though.

I highly recommend reading some of the nurses’ testimonials if you can manage to find some on the internet.

Okinawa also apparently has a public holiday on June 23rd every year, called Irei no Hi honoring the people who died in the battle of Okinawa. It wasn’t just these nurses, or soldiers, but quite a large number of civilians as well. Please try and remember this day if you can, or even just think about this incident in history, and say a prayer for world peace.

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One response to “Omake #7: Himeyuri Student Nurses

  1. Horrific stuff….that article is extremely moving.

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