Okinawa Prefecture opened a website featuring testimonies from survivors of the Battle of Okinawa to help people around the world learn the realities of one of the bloodiest fights in World War II.
The “Peace Learning Archive” site was made accessible on June 23, the 67th anniversary of the end of the battle. June 23 is also known in Okinawa Prefecture as “the day to console the spirits.”
The archive displays texts, photos and videos from prefectural museums. Visitors to the site (http://peacelearning.jp) can move their cursors over a 1945 map to view the witness accounts.
“Users will deepen their understanding by learning about the Battle of Okinawa from various perspectives,” said Hidenori Watanabe, an associate professor of system design at Tokyo Metropolitan University who supervised the project. “This could lead users to speak about what happened in the battle.”
The 90-day Battle of Okinawa killed 94,136 Japanese military personnel, 12,520 U.S. troops and 94,000 Okinawa civilians.
The Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum has collected about 600 testimonies from survivors of the battle. The website offers 20 video testimonies, but the prefecture plans to increase the number to 72 by the end of March 2013.
Photo captions and the survivors’ testimonies have been translated into English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese.
In addition, the site shows 182 photos of the Battle of Okinawa from a collection of the Okinawa Prefecture Archives.
Through the Google Earth map, users can retrace the place where witnesses lived and the route they fled.
The map also shows the locations where each photo was taken.
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