Building 640 at the Presidio in San Francisco

Building 640 at the Presidio in San Francisco
Information Source for the Military Intelligence Service Historic Learning Center

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nuchi du Takara lecture and tour

Dr. Wesley Ueunten, gave us a very informative and interesting tour of the Nuchi du Takara exhibit for which he was a curator.   
The exhibit flows covers the Battle of Okinawa in World War II. It starts from the time before the battle, to the life of the Okinawan people during the battle, to the period after the Battle of Okinawa, to today.   The time before the war identified by Okinawans by To (referring to the Tang Dynasty of China,Chinese World), to Yamato Yu (Japanese World ) during World War II,America Yu (America World) after the war, to today's Yamato Yu (Japanese World). The period before Okinawa was a strategic point in the Pacific to control the seas around Asia and the Pacific Rim.  The battle was to gain control of this strategic point between the United States and Japan.

Okinawa was originally a matriarchal society. Women were the center in Okinawan society. The women did not think hierarchically.  
Till the 1980's Okinawan music and culture were discouraged in the overall Japanese society. It was the delinquents that resisted and kept the music and culture alive. In the exhibit there is a replica of a sign children at school had to wear as a humiliation punishment if they spoke in the native Okinawan language. Along side of the wooden signs is a ready made shanshin (3 stringed Okinawan traditional instrument). 
Dr. Ueunten went over the sad mass suicides that occurred during the war.  There is a drawing of the horrific memory of what happened.  
An art piece of a replica of a cave dwelling in Okinawa shows how some survivors lived to escape the destruction of war.  
Metal bowls and vessels, and a glass vase are shown in an installation. The pieces are made from remnants of war planes and other debris.   The pieces show how the Okinawans are trying to move past the battle and war.   There is a child's kimono made out of a U.S. army blanket, and a paper mache doll. 
There is a sweet picture of an American soldier carrying a young Japanese child.  The picture shows the humanitarian heart of some of the American soldiers. 
A facebook project is being initiated inviting children to take pictures of themselves with a message of peace to be included in a digital mural that will be sent to Haebaru Town Museum in Okinawa.    
This is an important exhibit that tells a story that needs to be heard.  
Dr.Wesley Ueunten was an excellent guide.

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