Hawai‘i Uchinanchu Will Help Two World War II Prisoners of War from Okinawa Find Peace

Gregg K. Kakesako
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

Hawai‘i Uchinanchu (people of Okinawa ancestry) have always demonstrated their “brotherly love” in many ways, says Clara Goto . . . even by befriending prisoners of war from Okinawa who were incarcerated in Hawai‘i in the closing months of World War II.

They shared bentö lunches, fruits, snacks, even cigarettes, with them. One family even invited several of them into their Waipahu home for lunch. For most local Okinawans, it was a chance to, hopefully, learn the fate of relatives in Okinawa following the devastating Battle of Okinawa, or to connect with relatives or with people from their ancestral villages in the homeland. For the POWs, it was the opportunity to speak their native language with people who had ties to their homeland and, hopefully, to meet family members who had immigrated to Hawai‘i and/or their families.

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