The Little-Known Story of the Landmarks Left by World War II Italian Prisoners of War
Gregg K. Kakesako
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald
During World War II, some 3,000 Okinawan soldiers, conscripts and civilians were imprisoned in Hawai‘i as prisoners of war. Twelve of them died while in captivity here in Hawai‘i and were buried in the cemetery at Schofield Barracks 73 years ago.
Schofield Barracks Casualty Affairs Office spokeswoman Stefanie Gutierrez said the remains of 12 Okinawan prisoners of war were disinterred and returned to Japan in 1946. That was the Army’s conclusion after searching their records and contacting local mortuaries and cemeteries. The Army does not, however, have records listing the specific locations where the POWs’ remains were reinterred after being returned to Japan.
By Dec. 13, 1946, the last of the remaining 1,733 Japanese POWs imprisoned in Hawai‘i had been returned to Japan, according to a Honolulu Star-Bulletin report.