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History of the Battle of Okinawa in the Kerama Islands

[ Reference ] Zamami Village History, Zamami Village Relative Chronology / Battle of Okinawa — Aka Island (written by Nakamura Jinyu)

1941 (Showa 16)

Apr. 1
Zamami Jinjo Higher Elementary school became Zamami Kokumin School.
Monument of the 2600th Anniversary Celebrations of the Japanese Empire is completed.
Oct. 6
Zamami Youth Center Completed.
With the outbreak of the Pacific War, each village prompts and promotes saving assets and frugality.

1942 (Showa 17)

Aka Branch School becomes independent as Aka Kokumin School. Geruma School Branch becomes part of the Aka Kokumin School.

1943 (Showa 18)

Air defense training, fire extinguishing drills, and air raid digging are conducted mainly by the youth groups and women’s associations.

1944 (Showa 19)

Feb. 17
An evacuation ship from the South Sea Truck Island, was bombed, killing many villagers.
Draft order for males between ages of 21 and 45 enforced for the defense of Okinawa.
Sept. 8
Zamami fishing boat Shinseimaru, Shinkomaru, Aka’s bonito fishing boat Morikomaru and crew are recruited by the Japanese military and head to the main island.
Sept. 10
1st Sea Raiding Base Battalion (Captain Ozawa = approx. 1,000) and 1st Sea Raiding Squadron (Captain Umezawa = approx. 120) stationed in Zamami.
2nd Sea Raiding Base Battalion (Captain Koga = about 900) stationed in Aka.
School building becomes headquarters and dorms for Japanese Soldiers, classes for students are held in temporary classrooms or outside.
Zamami Clinic, Zamami Sericulture Room, taken over by Japanese Army.
Sept. 20
Allocation of troops to private households. Soldiers built air raid shelters, residents produced food for soldiers.
Sept. 26
2nd Sea Raiding Squadron (Captain Noda = 104 troops)
Oct. 3
U.S. Forces decides to occupy Okinawa (Operation Iceberg / Jan. 6, 1945)
Oct. 10
10.10 Air Raid
The ships, Eizumaru was on the Zamami Port and the Morioki-Maru was bombed near Kamiyama Island, killing and injuring ten crew members.
Complete destruction of Kera Mining Works’ (Yaka) Ore Shipping Carrier.
A total of 7 Korean “Comfort Women” arrive to Zamami and Aka.
Boys of Aka between 17–19 years of age attend battle training.

1945 (Showa 20)

Jan. 3
Males between the ages of 16 through 45 in Zamami Island were regrouped as defense force.
Approximately 20 young women are also recruited as military personnel.
Jan. 21
U.S. military aircraft suddenly appears at around 8 a.m.
Ships anchored at Ikarimari in Zamami Aka Port and in the Kerama Strait.
More than 10 ships burned and sank due to air raids.
Removal of “Goshin’ei” (Imperial Portraits) at Zamami Kokumin School.
Feb. 18
Approximately 1,300 soldiers of Base Main Battalions in Zamami and Aka relocate to the main island of Okinawa.
Korean military “Comfort Women” in Aka relocated with the soldiers.
Approximately 650 Korean support troops are deployed (300 to Zamami, 350 to Aka).
Males between ages of 17 to 45 in Aka and Yakabi are gathered to join the defense force.
A group of 15 to 17 year old boys in Aka was organized, called the “Junior Military Volunteer”.
Mar. 23
The majority of Zamami/Aka Kokumin School and houses were burned down from the air strikes.
Various villages on the islands were devastated by air strikes, the forest were wrapped in a fierce fire.
Residents evacuate to self-built trenches or mountains.
Mar. 24
Captain Oomachi, Captain of a ship that was on island, patrols from Zamami to Aka.
Mar. 25
U.S. warships gather at Kerama Strait, firing air strikes on each island.
Mar. 26
U.S. 77th Infantry Division, landed on Aka, Geruma, Zamami Island, and started battle with Japanese army.
Lands at Aka Island at 08:04
Lands at Geruma Island at 08:25
Lands at Zamami Island at 09:00
Lands at Fukaji Island at 09:21
Lands at Yakabi Island at 13:41
“Group Determination” occurs among residents of Zamami and Geruma when the U.S. Forces land.
U.S. Forces set up a command head quarters in Zamami Village, pacifying residents.
Navy Proclaims Government Decree No.1 (Nimitz Decree) City Office hangs on to the stone wall of Ama.
A burned house left in the center of the Zamami Village became the treatment center for villagers (later, for Tokashiki Villagers as well).
The site of Zamami Kokumin School becomes a graveyard for war dead U.S. service members.
U.S. Forces appoint Miyazato Morinaga as mayor of Asa and Chinen Morinaga, the mayor of Ama.
Food problems of the refugees who evacuated to the mountains become serious in Aka Island.
May 7
450 Ie Villagers forced to relocated to Geruma Ward.
Late May
Lay bodies of “Group Self-Determinators” (victims of group suicide) of Zamami Village to rest.
June 1
U.S. Forces experimentally issue the “Type B Military Yen” in Zamami Island.
Late June
About 300 residents of Aka Ward and about 10 residents of Maejima Tokashiki Village, who worked in Yaka, move to Geruma Ward.
Kerama Archipelago autonomous system enforced by U.S. military decree (Archipelago Chief Chinen Shigenobu).
July 23
Geruma School Branch Opened. Student Body: Ie Village 56, Aka 60, Geruma 15 total 131 students.
Congressional Elections of the Archipelago.
Tokashiki Village is integrated into the Kerama Islands and two legislators of the Archipelago are appointed.
Aug. 15
Zamami Elementary School Opens in Ama.
Aug. 17
U.S. Forces officially inform the Aka Island Japanese Garrison about the surrender of the Japanese army, via military ambassadors.
Aug. 22
Instrument of Surrender Ceremony held on the front coats of Aka Island.
Aug. 23
Japanese Army in Aka Island demobilizes.
Aka Villagers who had been resisting until the end, surrendered and descended from the mountains for the first time in 5 months.
Sept. 9
Archipelago Chief Chinen, and U.S Forces Captain report to Tonaki Island to notify the end of war.
Late Sept.
In the election by legislators of the archipelago, Miyamura (Miyazato) Morinaga becomes the archipelago mayor.
Aka Elementary School opens.
Dec. 23
U.S. Forces garrison on Zamami relocate to the main island of Okinawa.

1946 (Showa 21)

Early Jan.
Memorial Service for victims of “Group Self-determination” held at the village office site.
Mar. 20
Iejima residents relocate from Geruma.