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The Himeyuri students (ひめゆり学徒隊? Himeyuri Gakutotai), sometimes called "Lily Corps" in English, was a group of 222 students and 18 teachers of the Okinawa Daiichi Women's High School and Okinawa Shihan Women's School formed into a nursing unit for the Imperial Japanese Army during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. They were mobilized by the Japanese army on March 23, 1945. Many of the Himeyuri students thought that the Japanese army would defeat the Americans in a matter of days and accordingly brought school supplies to study and get ready to get right back into the classroom.
During the nearly 3-month-long battle, the Himeyuri students were on the front lines performing surgery and other difficult duties. Near the end of the battle of Okinawa, many were living in dark caves filled with countless gravely injured and dead soldiers.
On June 18, 1945, an order of dissolution was given to the unit. Up until the dissolution order was given, only 19 of the students had been killed, but in the early morning of June 19, many of them were killed during an attack by US forces on the Ihara third surgery shelter. In the week following the dissolution order, approximately 80% of the girls and their teachers perished. Eventually, the death toll amounted to 237 out of 240. Survivors committed suicide in various ways because of fears of systematic rape by US soldiers. Some threw themselves off cliffs while others killed themselves with hand grenades given to them by the Japanese soldiers.
The Himeyuri Monument was built on April 7, 1946 in memory of those who died. Many of those who survived helped build and continue to maintain the facilities. As of 2008, there are still Himeyuri students alive.
Himeyuri Peace Museum
The Himeyuri Peace Museum was modeled after the main school building in which the girls had once studied. The museum has five display chambers displaying photos from the eve of the Battle of Okinawa, the Haebaru Army Field Hospital, portraits of all the young victims who died after the military's retreat to the southernmost tip of the Kyan Peninsula, panels explaining the circumstances under which they died, twenty-eight volumes of testimonials and memoirs by 90 survivors, and a life-sized diorama of Himeyuri Cave. The testimonials bring to life each phase of the battle, as witnessed by the student nurses. Some of the former nurses serve as tour guides at the museum.
- Himeyuri no Tô (1953) (Tower of the Lilies) Drama | War - (Japan)
- Â Himeyuri no Tô (1968) (Ah, The Tower of Lillies) - Drama | War - (Japan)
- Himeyuri no Tô (1982) (Tower of the Lilies) Drama | War - (Japan)
- HIMEYURI Documentary - 2007 (Japan)
- Himeyuri Peace Museum
- Himeyuri Gakutotai
- Himeyuri Monument and the third army field hospital in cave
- "Project MUSE - Testimonials--Himeyuri Student Nurses,". Retrieved June 7, 2014.
- "Himeyuri No To Monument". Retrieved June 7, 2014.