The Daily Manila Shimbun


Young generations take over “Himeyuriˮ student corps storytelling

August 15, 2017

ITOMAN, OKINAWA PREF.- Young-generation workers at a peace museum in Okinawa Prefecture are telling the story of the "Himeyuri" wartime nursing corps of female students, more than two years after former members of the unit almost retired as storytellers due to old age.

On Sunday, two days before the 72nd anniversary of Japan's surrender in World War II, Hiromi Onabe, 36, a worker at Himeyuri Peace Museum in Itoman in the southernmost Japan prefecture where a savage ground battle, known as the Battle of Okinawa, took place in the final stage of the war, delivered a lecture on the story of former Himeyuri unit member Kikuko Miyagi, who died in 2014 at the age of 86.

The Himeyuri unit, mobilized in March 1945, comprised 240 members--222 students aged 15-19 and 18 teachers--from the Female Division of Okinawa Normal School and the Okinawa First Girls' High School.

Miyagi, who was 16 years old at the time, looked after injured troops without treatment equipment and worked to bury bodies. After an order to dissolve the unit was issued in June the same year, she had to evacuate while leaving a severely injured classmate at a shelter. Miyagi lost another classmate due to US bombings. Jiji Press