Postwar Okinawa / Keywords in Postwar Okinawa 1/4

Yaka Horyo Shuyou-jo (Yaka POW Camp)
Located in the Yaka district of Kin-cho village, the internment camp was a large-scale facility for Imperial Japanese Army prisoners after the war. There were 7,000 prisoners housed here, including 5,000 Japanese troops. The remaining were Koreans and Okinawan- born soldiers.

Okinawa Shijun-kai (Okinawa Advisory Council)
Established by the U.S. Military Government, the Advisory Council was an intermediate organization paving the way for the establishment of the central government. There were 15 members consisting mostly of educators and media people. Koshin Shikiya was chosen as council chair.

Okinawa Min Seifu (Okinawa Civil Government)
In 1946 the Okinawa Advisory Council became the Okinawa Civil Government at the same time as the establishment of the Okinawa Legislature. Koshin Shikiya was appointed the first governor.

Gunto Governments
The Okinawa Civil Government was composed of four districts; Amami, Okinawa, Miyako, and Yaeyama. In 1950 these were reorganized and called Gunto Governments, and governors and legislature members from each area were chosen by elections. The will of the people was not reflected into the policy areas of the military government.

Senka (Fruits of War)
In Okinawa under U.S. military rule, provisions were given by America but the people still suffered under chronic food shortages. For that reason there were many who stole stores from the depots of the U.S. military which they named the "Fruits of War."

B Yen Currency
The yen currency in circulation before the war was exchanged for equivalent B Yen currency issued by the U.S. Military Government. For a short time after the war this currency was used simultaneously with the new yen issued by the Japanese. From 1948 to 1958 the introduction and circulation of the new Japanese yen was prohibited and the B-yen was the only legal currency in use in Okinawa.

Mitsu Boueki (Smuggling)
Smuggling flourished under U.S. military occupation. Metal debris left over from the Battle of Okinawa such as used artillery shells was shipped to Taiwan or Hong Kong to be exchanged for everyday commodities. American medical supplies were transported to mainland Japan and exchanged for pots, pans, and tableware. Particularly in areas such as the Miyako and Yaeyama regions, where the aid from the American military was late in arriving,, the practice of smuggling is said to have flourished. Textbooks, notepads, and even copies of the Peace Constitution entered Okinawa in this way. Doing this to survive showed the wisdom of the people and their initiative.

Kankara Sanshin (Okinawan samisen made from tin cans)
Having lost all in the war and surrounded by the anxiety of postwar life, the people of Okinawa placed their spirit in singing and playing the Sanshin. Since there were no satisfactory instruments around, the empty cans from the provisions handed out, sticks, and the string from parachutes were assembled into instruments like the Karakan Sanshin.

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