Thursday, June 26, 2008

English Picture Book about 1945 Okinawa Mass Suicides

Interesting visual methods are used to describe an important and controversial topic. Article from The Japan Times Online:

Twist in Okinawa mass suicides tale

Teacher based book about civilians ordered to kill themselves on own family tragedy


Chie Miyagi, an English teacher in Okinawa, has published an English-language picture book to teach her students about the mass suicides involving local civilians during the 1945 Battle of Okinawa.

"A Letter from Okinawa" depicts a girl whose parents kill themselves under orders from the Japanese military on Tokashiki, one of the Kerama Islands. The girl lives separately from them on Okinawa's main island, where she has been drafted into the nurse corps.

The girl, Sachiko, sends a letter to her parents after surviving the war but never receives a reply. She later finds out that her parents died in March 1945 in a mass suicide.

At the end of the story, it is revealed that Sachiko is Miyagi's mother and that the story is based on her mother's life.


"A Letter from Okinawa," published last November, has an accompanying Japanese translation and is available for ¥700, including tax. For further information, phone Okinawa Jiji Publishing Co. at (098) 854-1622.

Read the whole article (link).

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