Welcome to Banzai Cliffs

 

When I first saw this video – I thought it had been archived incorrectly. At the final stages of the Battle of Okinawa; many Okinawans and Japanese soldiers had jumped off the cliffs at the Southern Point of Okinawa to avoid being captured by US soldiers. I had been searching for the footage. However, I could only find tributes by tourists and divers to Giza Banda- the local name for the suicide cliffs in Okinawa. When I saw this clip, I saw familiar cliffs and women’s dress… However, I have since learned that Japanese civilians and soldiers had the same fears of being captured during the Battle of Saipan in July 1944. Some 5,000 people committed suicide by jumping off Saipan’s Banzai Cliff. Banzai is the celebratory cry for “may you live 10,000 years” to honour the Japanese Emperor.

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