The Battle of Okinawa, one of the last major battles fought by Japan before its unconditional surrender, was a deadly battle where over 150,000 Japanese had lost their lives. During this short battle that had lasted from April 1st to June 22nd of 1945, male and female students aging from 13 to 19 were mobilized for the war. The Himeyuri Students that consisted of 222 students and 18 teachers, were trained as a nursing unit and the Iron and Blood Imperial Corps consisted of boys as young as middle school students to become combat personnels. 136 of the Himeyuri Students died in war and 890 of approximately 1,800 of the boys that fought in the Iron and Blood Imperial Corps died. This website explores this bloody, disastrous battle through the eyes of these children who have survived the war.
Click here to explore how the Himeyuri and Iron and Blood Imperial Corps are being remembered.
The goal of this project is to shine light on the children who fought in the Battle of Okinawa. Through the stories of the surviving children, based on and translated from interviews, we wanted to present the raw experience of these children.
What we learned
Through studying the Battle of Okinawa in the eyes people who experienced it as children, we not only learned how many children had died in this war, but how the people who fought in this deadly battle had died; whether it was by an American shell, a suicide attack, or killed by their own people. Furthermore, we learned how different each children's experience during the war was, making every survivor's story extremely valuable. Sadly, we have only 3 stories to share through the eyes of children on this website, but we would like to emphasize that were many, many more experiences, feelings, sensations, and deaths of these young boys and girls that were involved in this battle.