The battle of Okinawa of 1945 was one of the bloodiest battles of the Asia Pacific War, with nearly a quarter of the Okinawan population perishing. This paper examines paintings, woodblock prints and manga that depict this battle, and through analysis of these works I show how deeply they reflect significant issues relating to Okinawan history, culture, and society, notably the struggles of its citizens and Okinawa’s social and political complexities. This paper explores several artists’ visual descriptions of the brutal and catastrophic Battle of Okinawa, particularly in terms of how their works disseminated the artists’ views on the battle, as well as war in general, to an audience beyond Okinawa prefecture. Art that concentrates on the Battle of Okinawa, either as a focal point or a cultural influence, has been little studied so far, most probably because it has been treated as a sensitive and controversial issue, culturally and especially politically. Artists are grouped and discussed according to regional identities (Okinawa or non-Okinawa), generation (pre-war or post-war), and gender. I also analyse the complexities of the objectives and challenges of each artist who was trying to create works that exposed the social reality, though my main focus is on the woodblock print artist, Gima Hiroshi, who was an Okinawan diaspora artist with a more transmedia approach than 2 contemporary painters such as Maruki Toshi (1901-1995), Maruki Iri (1912- 2000), and war-theme (sens?) manga artist, Ky? Machiko (b. 1978).
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Copyright (c) 2018 Eriko Tomizawa-Kay