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    Tuesday, September 17, 2019-1:25:34P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Japanese media feature Okinawan memorial visit

(MVA) — The final memorial visit to the Marianas of Okinawans who used to live in the islands prior to World War II has gained the interest of several Japanese media outlets who are featuring the event.

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Japan’s NHK films Kensei Kamiunten, president of Repatriation Society of the South Ocean Islands, as he pays his respects at Kitamura Monument on Aug. 28, 2019, on Saipan. ;
Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Priscilla Iakopo, eighth from left, welcomes members of the Repatriation Society of the South Ocean Islands and Okinawan officials for a courtesy visit on Aug.29, 2019, at the MVA office in San Jose, Saipan.
Japan’s NHK films on Saipan in August 2019 for news coverage and an upcoming documentary on the final memorial service of the Repatriation Society of the South Ocean Islands on the island.  MVA photos

The Repatriation Society of the South Ocean Islands has brought former residents of Saipan and Tinian, their family members, dignitaries, and other individuals to the islands for 50 memorial visits, most recently on Aug. 28-29, 2019. In cooperation with the Marianas Visitors Authority, television outlets Ryukyu Broadcasting Corp., NHK, and Okinawa Television Broadcasting sent media crews to cover the event.

“The annual memorial of the Repatriation Society of the South Ocean Islands has been a part of our annual calendar here at MVA for a long as I can remember, and they have also hosted many cultural exchange trips for students from Saipan, Tinian, Rota, and Palau through the years,” said MVA community projects managing Martin Duenas, who has worked with the office for over 25 years. “It shows their devotion to return year after year, and we are happy to support their visits and grateful for the ties they have built with the local community. Now that the few former residents are getting old to travel, it is sad to see them go. However, we hope that the Marianas will continue to have some form of relationship with Okinawa based on our historic ties, and we are pleased that the Japanese media also feel these historic ties are newsworthy and of continued interested to their people.”

Memorial services were held on Saipan and Tinian, commemorating the lives of Okinawans who lived in the Marianas, both those who were repatriated by the U.S. military to their homeland and those who lost their lives as a result of the Battles of Saipan and Tinian. MVA supported the event with assisting in securing filming permits, site clearing and cleaning, and other logistics.

RBC featured the event on “The News” on Aug. 28 & 29, 2019, and will produced a program special “Sacrificed the South Sea Islands” to air in October. OTV featured the event on their program “Live News It!’ on Sept. 4 & 5, 2019, reaching 175,000 viewers in Okinawa. NHK will feature the event in the documentary “Okinawa Friday Cruise KINKURU” on Sept. 20 and “Good Morning Japan,” reaching 1.1 million viewers nationwide and 140,000 viewers in Okinawa.

The groups lodged at Grandvrio Resort Saipan and Clear Water Hotel during their visit and also filmed as other important World War II sites in Saipan and Tinian.