Oral Histories
Project launched Oct 12, 2018
Updated: October 5, 2022

There are times when I've read an account of one thing or the other and have wished that I could talk with the subject of what I'm reading. Being an inquisitive sort, there are invariably additional details that need to be addressed; questions answered.

Those are times for information "from the horse's mouth".

In this feature I'm going to assemble a collection of recollections as expressed by those who were there - witnesses to history.

There are many oral histories from survivors of the Battle of Okinawa. My preference is to not dwell on the war but instead to find first-person testimonials from Okinawans who talk about life on the island - pre-war interests me the most. If you know of such interviews or testimonials, please let me know about them.
You can e-mail me at Mick-Admin@ClickOkinawa.com

... wrote to my sister, "Call me back quick." The reason being, in those days, Japan used to send young people, healthy young people from age sixteen to nineteen, to Manchuria under Manchuria Development Youth Corps. I didn't want to get caught in there ...

... an Okinawan picture bride, then ninety-one years old, tells of her varied experiences as a plantation worker, cook, housemaid, cannery worker, tofu (bean curd) maker, and restaurant owner ...

However righteousness and justice will always overcome evil. It is just as said in a Japanese saying, Tabi wa michizure, yo wa nasake (In travelling, companionship; in life, kindness).

War Experiences in the South
Video Testimony of War Survivors
Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum

Alphawood Gallery
Video Testimony of Japanese Americans who were
rounded up and sent off to internment camps.

Higa Takejiro
Okinawan immigrant tells about growing up with an uncle on Okinawa while his parents were working the cane fields in Hawaii. Discusses what it was like in school, as a young adult, the war years, etc. Very interesting, educational and entertaining interview by the Center for Oral History - The Hawaii Nisei Project.

Tsuru Yamauchi
Mrs. Yamauchi describes life growing up on Okinawa, marrying then moving to Hawaii. Riveting details of the hardships she endured while working and raising a large family, the War, and how they survived and prospered despite everything.
from: UCHINANCHU - A History of Okinawans in Hawaii

Choki Oshiro
Born in Aza-Noha of Tomigusuku, Choki Oshiro emigrated to Hawaii to earn money to help support his family back on Okinawa.
Dr. Gibo wanted me to go to Tokyo and become a medical doctor. He said there would be no worry because he had many friends in Tokyo. After thinking about this offer again and again, I decided to decline the offer and go instead to Hawaii to work.
Tokushin Nakamoto
A ninety-eight-year-old man describes Okinawan family life; immigration; work on Hawi Plantation, Kohala; and his various jobs. farmer, goat and pig seller, sugar plantation worker
"... we left Okinawa and returned to Hawaii. But before leaving Okinawa, I arranged for the "purchase" of a young man and a young woman to work for my parents for a length of five years or so ..."
Kame Kaneshiro
A ninety-six-year-old issei (first-generation) man recalls his farming village in Okinawa and his immigration to Hawaii in 1907 aboard the China-go.
We grew sugarcane, sweet potatoes, and raised some pigs, cows, and horses which we sold to earn some money. Sweet potatoes didn't sell however, because everyone grew their own.
Higa Takejiro
Toward the end of his tour in Okinawa, Takejiro interrogates two enemy soldiers who for fear of being poisoned refuse to eat or drink. To Takejiro's surprise and the soldiers' relief, all three learn they were classmates. It is a tearful reunion.
Takejiro Higa's interview courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photographs courtesy of U.S. Army Signal Corps and Takejiro Higa.

Matsu Kina
An eighty-two-year-old former sugar plantation worker recalls and reflects on his life in Okinawa, 1910s; immigration to Hawaii, Maui and Big Island plantation camps; and World War II.
(Mother) made material using basho (Japanese banana plant). The plant, basho, is like a banana tree, but is short. You go and cut it, and you steam it in a big pot, then get the fibers ...
Aiko Tokunaga
Interview of a woman who survived infancy during the Battle for Okinawa
Interviewed for the website, Densho Digital Archives, Mrs. Tokunaga describes much of what it was like growing up prior to, during and following the war.
Himeyuri Survivor's Tale
As a young girl of 11, Suetomi dreamed of becoming an elementary school teacher. "After finishing elementary school, all my brothers and sisters went to work as housekeepers for other families and contributed to our family’s income,” explained Suetomi. Finally, at the urging of her teachers, her parents allowed her to continue school. The future looked bright for her . . . until the spring of 1945.
Siblings Talk About Being Born on Okinawa
They talk about being born in Okinawa, Japan to a Philippino father & Okinawan mother,
their childhood in Okinawa, and their family emigrating to the Unites States in 1971.

Frank Freer, Navy combat
Frank relates his experiences during his Navy/Expeditionary Marine service in the Pacific during World War II and Korea.

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