NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – To remember the story about Japanese immigrants in Hawaii sending a cargo of pigs to Okinawa to help alleviate a food crisis after World War II, a stone monument of porkers will be built in the city of Uruma in March.
As Okinawa and Hawaii marks the 30th anniversary of their sister-state partnership this year, the prefecture hopes that the statue will become an enduring symbol of their friendship.
Many Japanese from Okinawa emigrated to Hawaii, where they found work on sugar cane farms.
In September 1948, the immigrants shipped 550 White pigs back to Okinawa to help the island, which had been devastated a few years earlier by the Battle of Okinawa, deal with severe food shortages.
The pigs, which are easy to breed because of their high fertility rate, are believed to have helped ward off starvation for many Okinawans.
The Okinawa Prefectural Government started soliciting donations in July for the statue, raising more than ¥4 million so far.
It will seek additional contributions to the fund until the end of this month.