Japanese media feature Okinawan memorial visit


The final memorial visit to the Marianas of Okinawans who used to live in the islands prior to World War II has gained the interest of several Japanese media outlets who are featuring the event.

The Repatriation Society of the South Ocean Islands has brought former residents of Saipan and Tinian, their family members, dignitaries, and other individuals to the islands for the 50th memorial visit last Aug. 28-29, 2019. In cooperation with the Marianas Visitors Authority, television outlets Ryukyu Broadcasting Corp., NHK, and Okinawa Television Broadcasting sent media crews to cover the event.

“The annual memorial of the Repatriation Society of the South Ocean Islands has been a part of our annual calendar here at the MVA for a long as I can remember, and they have also hosted many cultural exchange trips for students from Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and Palau through the years,” said MVA Community Projects specialist Martin Duenas, who has worked with the office for over 25years.“It shows their devotion to return year after year, and we are happy to support their visits and grateful for the ties they have built with the local community. Now that the few former residents are getting old to travel, it is sad to see them go. However, we hope that the Marianas will continue to have some form of relationship with Okinawa based on our historic ties, and we are pleased that the Japanese media also feel these historic ties are newsworthy and of continued interested to their people.”

Memorial services were held on Saipan and Tinian, commemorating the lives of Okinawans who lived in the Marianas, both those who were repatriated by the U.S. military to their homeland and those who lost their lives as a result of the Battles of Saipan and Tinian. The MVA supported the event with assisting in securing filming permits, site clearing and cleaning, and other logistics.

RBC featured the event on “The News” on Aug. 28 and 29, 2019, and will produced a program special “Sacrificed the South Sea Islands” to air in October. OTV featured the event on their program “Live News It!” on Sept. 4 and 5, 2019, reaching 175,000 viewers in Okinawa. NHK will feature the event in the documentary “Okinawa Friday Cruise KINKURU” on Sept. 20 and “Good Morning Japan,” reaching 1.1 million viewers nationwide and 140,000 viewers in Okinawa.

The groups lodged at Grandvrio Resort Saipan and Clear Water Hotel during their visit and also filmed at other important World War II sites on Saipan and Tinian.(PR)

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