Workshop and Symposia

Okinawa Student Survey Shows Need for Awareness-raising Activities

A survey to gauge awareness of the Battle of Okinawa amongst students on the island was conducted by the Soka Gakkai Okinawa Student Peace Committee during June 2011. The Battle of Okinawa was fought in 1945 and was the only land battle in Japan during World War II. The survey received 774 responses and included responses from students attending Ryukyu University and Okinawa International University. The committee also conducted a similar survey in 2010.

One striking result was that 66 percent of respondents had not discussed the battle with family or friends during the last year. This figure was 10 percent higher than the previous year, indicating that awareness of the battle is decreasing. There was also a decline in the number of respondents who felt the decrease in opportunities to reflect back on the Battle of Okinawa and its implications for peace was a cause for concern. It was found that most respondents felt awareness of the battle could be raised through education.

Takuma Sunagawa, chair of the peace committee, stated that these results showed the necessity of activities to raise awareness in order to foster a greater understanding of peace issues. The survey’s findings will be shared in the annual Youth Peace Summit in Nagasaki at the end of July, where young people from Okinawa come together with their counterparts from Hiroshima and Nagasaki to promote peace activities.

[Adapted from an article in the June 29, 2011, issue of the Ryukyu Shimpo]

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