Prince Akishino, the younger son of Emperor Akihito, attended a gathering with his family in Tokyo on Monday to commemorate the Battle of Okinawa 70 years ago and mourn its victims.
His wife, Princess Kiko, and two of their children, Princess Kako and Prince Hisahito, also attended the event. They heard Rieko Tamaki, who at 10 years old survived the battle, talk about how she gradually lost members of her family during the war.
“War must never happen again,” Tamaki said tearfully.
Elementary and junior high school students from Okinawa Prefecture performed a traditional “Eisa” and Ryukyu folk dance, and tenor Tsutomu Aragaki, an Okinawa native, led the audience in singing a well-known folk song.
Similar events have been held every year to pass down stories of the battle and remember its victims, and Prince Akishino and his family have attended some of them. Last year, Prince Hisahito, the 8-year-old grandson of the Emperor, took part for the first time.
The Battle of Okinawa was fought between Japanese and U.S. troops from around early April to late June 1945, and claimed the lives of some 200,000 Japanese and Americans, including roughly 94,000 civilians, or 1 in 4 of Okinawa’s population.
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