Friday, February 15, 2013

Map It! Okinawa: "The Old Higashionna Village Museum"

The aftermath of the 'Great Okinawan War' left many Okinawans distraught about the future of their homeland. It also left behind pieces of their heritage scattered throughout the rumble and carnage of the 82-Day campaign. Pages torn and wiped clean from the history books at an instant. Some lost forever. Putting it back together would be a major task. At the forefront in helping the Okinawans repair and preserve part of their history were two Naval Officers, Captain Willard A. Hannah and Lt. Cdr. James T. Watkins. On August 30th 1945, they opened a museum in a small house in Higashionna of Ishikawa, now Uruma City. It was first dubbed the Okinawa Exhibition Hall and was later changed to the 'Higashionna Village Museum' shortly after 24 April 1946 when ownership of the museum changed hands to the Okinawan Civil Government. The efforts of both men would lead to a bigger push to help the Okinawans preserve what was left of their culture and history, a process that would take decades.

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