Okinawa Since 1945: A Photo RetrospectiveSociety Politics Economy
April 1: US forces land on Okinawa.
August 15: Japan surrenders, bringing an end to World War II.
April 28: The San Francisco Peace Treaty comes into effect. The US military maintains control over Okinawa, the Amami Islands, and the Ogasawara Islands.
June 30: A US fighter crashes into Miyamori Elementary School in Uruma, killing 17 people, including children, and injuring 200.
November 21: Prime Minister Satō Eisaku and US President Richard Nixon agree at a summit meeting on the reversion of Okinawa to Japanese sovereignty.
December 20: Sparked by a car accident involving US servicemen, residents of Koza riot and burn many US vehicles.
May 15: Okinawa reverts to Japanese sovereignty. The currency changes from the dollar to the yen.
July 20: Expo ’75 opens in Okinawa.
October 10: Okinawan boxer Gushiken Yōkō defeats Juan Guzman by knockout in the seventh round to win the WBA light-flyweight title at his first attempt.
July 30: Okinawa switches from driving on the right to driving on the left.
November 13: A new kind of bird discovered by the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology in Kunigami is named the Yanbaru kuina (Okinawa rail).
April 13: Potter Kinjō Jirō becomes Okinawa’s first living national treasure.
June 23: The Himeyuri Peace Museum opens to tell the story of the Himeyuri student corps—Okinawan women and girls, many of whom died after being mobilized to care for wounded Japanese soldiers toward the end of World War II.
The main hall of Shuri Castle is reconstructed.
June 23: The Cornerstone of Peace memorial is completed, inscribed with the names of those who lost their lives in the Battle of Okinawa.
September 4: Three US servicemen rape an Okinawan elementary schoolgirl.
April 12: The Japanese and US governments agree on the reversion of US Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to Japan.
April 4: Okinawa Shōgaku High School becomes the first team from Okinawa to win the National High School Baseball Championship.
November 22: Governor Inamine Keiichi announces that the Futenma facility will be relocated to the Henoko coastal district in Nago.
July 21: The Group of Eight Kyūshū-Okinawa Summit begins.
December 2: Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryūkyū are registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
August 13: A US military helicopter crashes in the campus of Okinawa International University.
July 19: Prime Minister Hatoyama Yukio of the Democratic Party of Japan says that the Futenma replacement site should be “outside of the prefecture at least.”
May 10: Prime Minister Hatoyama abandons the idea of relocating the Futenma facility outside the prefecture.
October 1: The first Osprey aircraft are deployed to Futenma. Accidents earlier in the year in Morocco and Florida contribute to stoking major local opposition.
September 30: Tamaki Denny is elected governor of Okinawa Prefecture on a platform of opposition to the relocation of the Futenma facility to Henoko.
December 14: The government begins placement of soil in landfill work for the planned replacement facility in Henoko.
February 24: In an Okinawan prefectural referendum, 72% of voters state their opposition to the relocation of the Futenma facility to Henoko.
October 31: A fire destroys the main hall and other buildings at Shuri Castle.
July 26: Amami-Ōshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, Northern Part of Okinawa Island, and Iriomote Island are registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Okinawa now has one cultural and one natural site.
(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: The Monument in Commemoration of the Reversion of Okinawa to Japan at Cape Hedo on the northern tip of Okinawa Island. The island of Yoronjima in Kagoshima Prefecture is visible in the distance. Before reversion, signal fires used to be lit on both sides, expressing the wish it would happen one day.)