The Historical Battle Sites
Countless remnants of war are left in this beautiful nature filled village. “Peace” should not be taken for granted or be forgotten. The value of peace must be learned and appreciated to create a better future.
As one of the first places that the U.S. military landed during the battle of Okinawa, which started on March 26, 1945, Zamami Village saw many casualties. Natural caves used as air-raid shelters referred to as gama that residents at the time would evacuate to, Memorial Monuments to pay respect to spirits, and numerous other remnants of the war still remain. Zamami Village works to preserve and introduce these sites, to create a place for more people to learn, feel and think about what peace truly means.
About the Invasion of the Kerama Islands by U.S. Forces
At that time, the Japanese army had predicted an invasion on the Okinawa main island, so approximately 200 Marure (Special Attack Boats) were placed throughout the Kerama Islands for sneak attack on the U.S. Forces. Meanwhile, the U.S. Forces decided to secure the Kerama Islands as a supply base before their planned invasion of the main Okinawa Island. On March 23, 1945, with hundreds of overwhelming bombardments via fleet, the islands were occupied in just a matter of days due to the significant difference in fighting power.
Invasion of the Kerama Islands
- March 23
- Majority of Zamami/Aka Kokumin School and houses were burned down by air strikes
- March 25
- Air raids on each island
- March 26
- LANDING on Aka, Geruma and Zamami Islands. Ground battle between Japanese and U.S Forces begin
- March 27
- LANDING on Tokashiki Island
Precautions when visiting Battle Sites
- Please refrain from wandering alone, always stay in groups of 2 or more. Do not go behind the memorial monuments or into the mountains. It is extremely dangerous.
- Please be responsible for your safety by being aware of your surroundings.
- Please note that Zamami Village will not be liable for any accidents or injuries that occur at the historical battle sites.
- The war sites are a sacred place to the village and its residents. Please refrain from offensive acts.
Each number relates to the map above.
1 Heiwa-no-tou (Tower of Peace) Visitable
A memorial cenotaph behind the Zamami Village School. 10 minutes from the port by foot. In March 1945 (Showa 20), the Battle of Kerama, which prompted the plan of U.S. Force’s landing in the battle of Okinawa, saw as much as 1,200 casualties of both military and civilians. Those whose lives were lost are enshrined as guardian deities of peace. Every March, a memorial service is held to honor the 624 Zamami Village residents and 376 Japanese soldiers.
3 Tsutsuji-no-tou (Tsutsuji Monument) Visitable
Built on the site of a bunker where the principal and staff of the Kokumin School evacuated. The bunker no longer remain due to the construction of a storage dam. It is said that Group Self-Determination (group suicide) took place in this location via hand grenades on March 26, the day of the U.S Force's landing.
4 Monument of Group Self-Determination Visitable
It is said that the Zamami Village Chief, Assistants, Income Officers, Government Officials and 59 family members lost their lives by Group Self-Determination (group suicide) in the industrial union shelter in this location. The reasoning of what led to the Group Self-Determination is unknown as there were no survivors.
7 Flame of Peace Memorial Fire Monument Visitable
At the Peace Memorial Park in Itoman City, the “Flame of Peace”, is a carefully lit symbol wishing for permanent peace. Its fire was collected at Aka Island of Zamami Village, the first landing site in the Battle of Okinawa and combined with the Flame of Peace from the bombing site of Hiroshima and “Fire of Oath” in Nagasaki City. A fire was lit on June 20, 1991 in Aka Island to celebrate the memorial service for the Okinawan war dead. Since Aka Island was the island where the U.S. Forces first landed in the Battle of Okinawa at the end of World War II, it became the torching site for the Flame of Peace as a symbol of the Battle of Okinawa and a Memorial Flame Monument was put up.
10 Secret Bunkers for Marure (Suicide) Boats Visitable
Secret bunkers where special attack boats, Marure were hidden. The boats were stored in bunkers scattered around the island as secret weapons for attacking U.S. warships. The veneer boards used for these attack boats were known as Marure. The boats were a 1.8m wide, 5.6m long, semi-sliding boat weighing 1.2t, armed with two 120kg detonators.
11 Ie Village Prisoners-of-War Camp Memorial Visitable
U.S. Forces that occupied Ie Island forcibly took the residents of the island as prisoners and transferred them to various Islands of Zamami. This monument was erected at a former site where the people of Ie Island were held captive, to commemorate 50 years postwar.