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Hawaii News

Okinawa delegation seeks closure for POWs

Timothy Hurley
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CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

Hawaii was home to more than 3,000 prisoners of war following one of the bloodiest clashes of World War II, the Battle of Okinawa. Next month a delegation from Okinawa will formally remember them in a visit here. The Hawaii United Okinawa Association made the announcement Monday at a former prison camp site on Sand Island. Attending were the association’s president, Vince Watabu, left, and executive director, Jane Serikaku. Watabu held a “kankara sanshin,” a type of string instrument, made from a food can and wood scraps. It’s a replica of one made by a prisoner. The photo at left is of two prisoners in Waipahu.

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Executive Director Jane Serikaku of the Hawaii United Okinawa Association stood in front of a photo of two prisoners of war Monday at a news conference. Next month a delegation of remaining Okinawan camp survivors and relatives are returning to try and get in touch with residents of Okinawan descent who were kind to the former POWs during their time in Hawaii between July 1945 and December 1946.