Special to The Hawai‘i Herald
It was noon on Sept. 27, 1948, when the USS John Owen made landfall at White Beach, the U.S. naval facility on the eastern coast of Okinawa island, near the tip of Katsuren peninsula. Onboard the ship was a precious cargo of 536 pigs that had survived the arduous 6,000-mile crossing from Portland, Ore. The pigs were a gift from Hawai‘i to help restart Okinawa’s pig farms, which had been decimated in the Battle of Okinawa in World War II.
More than five decades later, a musical — “Pigs from the Sea” (“Umi Kara Buta ga Yatte Kita”) — about the seven Hawai‘i men who made the journey to Okinawa with the pigs was staged at the Blaisdell Concert Hall.
This September marks the 70th anniversary of the voyage of the seafaring swine, so it’s a fitting time to delve into the entire Okinawa relief movement and share our findings to the following questions: