Places worth visiting

Suicide Site, Takashiki Island

While most ferry travelers to Takashiki Island were wearing flip-flops and shorts and carrying snorkeling gear, I had trekking boots on and wind jackets. The weather on the Island was idyllic and summer-like, even though I visited it around Easter time. The purpose of my visit to this island varied from other holidayers. Being a WW2 history buff, and the Pacific War, I knew this island hid a shameful and tragic episode in failed Japanese resistance. The story is even sadder and when one realises the event was a result of WW2 indoctrination and propaganda. On this island, there is a place in the forests where a few hundred villagers committed a mass suicide to escape from the possible capture of the U.S. Army. Was it honour? Delusion? Tragic as it was, innocent lives lost could have been saved. There is a small hidden path leading down to the exact spot. 

What actually took place: The American forces landed on Tokashiki on March 27, 1945, as an early part of the Battle of Okinawa. On the following day, March 28, 1945, 394 inhabitants of Tokashiki, mostly from farming families, immolated themselves with grenades after the landing of US troops in a practice that became known as shūdan jikketsu, or group suicide. The group suicide on Tokashiki in late March was a precursor to large-scale group suicides on Okinawa Island in the following months.  On 28 March 1945, during WWII. 394 inhabitants, mostly from farmer families, immolated themselves with grenades after the landing of US troops.

Takashiki Island
Mass Suicide Site
20180331_123234
394 inhabitants, mostly from farmer families, immolated themselves with grenades after the landing of US troops.
Takashiki Island
Monument commemorating the victims/
Takashiki Island
This is a path leading down to the spot. Signposts warning about slippery ground and snakes.
20180331_122027
Eerie atmosphere of ghostly presence walking in the forest.
Takashiki Island
This is the apparent spot where the whole families gathered and committed suicide, by shooting, stabbing, poisoning. Parents were doing that to their own children in the misconceived thought that their death is better than the capture by U.S. Army.
20180331_122339
Looking down there was a small brook, once filled with baby corpses.
Takashiki Island
Those few who visited this place would leave a symbolic coin, as you do, visiting a fountain in Rome…
Takashiki Island
Multilingual description of events.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s