For a man who once narrowly escaped a cold-blooded execution after being forced at gunpoint to dig his own grave, 102-year-old Okinawan Shoko Nagamine is doing remarkably well.

"I still have many years of life left in me," insists the twinkly-eyed Battle of Okinawa survivor at his home in Nago, only a kilometer away from where the darkest moment of his life gave way to a miracle.

"It happened just over there, toward that mountain," he says in a mix of Okinawan and Japanese, pointing through the window of the living room, where he and the two youngest of his six children, Atsuko and Masatomo, are hosting us.