Thursday, April 16, 2015

Okinawa International Peace Research Institute: Ie Island, April 16, 1945

Photograph of the US invasion of Ie Island (Iejima) on April 16, 1945, via Okinawa International Peace Research Institute.

The US training bases on the island date back to airstrips built in April 1945 to firebomb Japanese cities during the last months of WWII. US soldiers burned down Ie islander houses, and relocated the Ie islanders, housing them in camps in the northern part of Okinawa's main island. The islanders were not allowed to return until  two years later, even though the Japanese government surrendered 4 months after the US invasion. When they returned many residents found their farms and homes transformed into a US military base, not for the invasion of Japan, of course, but for weapons testing and war training.

The Okinawan nonviolent struggle for return of seized lands, justice, and peace began at Ie Island, under Shoko Ahagon, founder of the Okinawan civil rights movement, after the US military invaded again in 1955 to violently seize even more farmland for a bomb testing range.

More on Iejima:

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