US, Okinawa officials attend annual Ie Shima Lighthouse Memorial Service

Yonekichi Shinzato, chairman for the Okinawa prefecture, and Gov. Denny Tamaki, governor of Okinawa prefecture, lay flowers on a monument during a memorial service, April 21, 2019 on Ie Shima, Okinawa, Japan. The memorial service was held to commemorate the casualties of World War II, Ie Shima lighthouse keeper and his family. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Brennan Beauton)
April 21, 2019

IE SHIMA, OKINAWA, Japan – U.S. and Okinawa officials attend the annual Ie Shima Lighthouse Memorial Service April 21, 2019 at Ie Shima on Okinawa, Japan.

The memorial services were held to commemorate the casualties of World War II and specifically the light house keeper and his family.

“We came out to represent the U.S. forces and to show that we care about the family,” said 1st Lt. Timothy Steinberg, the Ie Shima Training Facilty officer in charge. “We came to pay our respects in hope to build our relationship with the local community.”

The Gov. Denny Tamaki, the governor of the Okinawa prefecture, Mayor Hideki Shimabukuro, the mayor of Ie Shima Village, Commander Masaki Kasai, the commander of the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters Japan Coast Guard, and Col. Darin J. Clarke, the G-7 assistant chief of staff for Marine Corps Installations Pacific-Marine Corps Base Smedley D. Butler were in attendance for the Ie Shima Lighthouse Memorial Ceremony.

74 years ago, during the battle of Okinawa, a lighthouse keeper and eight of his family members were killed by an air raid. Wreaths were laid by U.S., Okinawa officials, and the family of the lighthouse keeper. After the ceremony, incense were burned for ceremonial purposes.

“The ceremony was for the light house keeper and his family,” said Kasai. “The light house keeper was killed during the war. We want to maintain his spirit for the future safety of boats traveling in the area.”