• SHARE

The smell of burning rubber and oil filled the air when Hiroaki Yamashiro walked through the streets of Koza, Okinawa, on the morning of Dec. 20, 1970. Dashing up the stairs of a pedestrian crossing over Highway 24, he could see through the smoke around 70 charred vehicles, many overturned. He began recording the destruction with his camera.

This was the aftermath of what would be known as the Koza riot, in which roughly 5,000 Okinawans clashed with around 700 American military police in a violent display of anger toward 25 years of U.S. military occupation in Japan’s southernmost archipelago.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

PHOTO GALLERY (CLICK TO ENLARGE)