Okinawa is a prefecture in Japan that is made up of an island group in the southwest tip of the Japanese archipelago. Here on July 6, Shinnyo-en held its second Lantern Floating Okinawa.
This event cannot be shared without mention of Okinawa’s tumultuous history. Okinawa makes up part of a more extended chain of islands referred to as the Ryuku Islands, many of which maintained its sovereignty under the Ryuku Kingdom. It then became a vassal state of the Japanese feudal domain of Satsuma in 1609 until it was officially annexed and became a prefecture in 1879.
During the Second World War, Okinawa became Japan’s last southern front, resulting in the deaths of a third of its civilian population. The prefecture has observed its own day of remembrance and prayer for all who lost their lives in conflict, annually designated to fall on June 23. To this, Shinnyo practitioners have joined in offering prayers to transfer merit, equally and without distinction of friend or foe.
The lantern floating ceremony in Okinawa is an expression of the hope we all share to come together in building a world of friendship and peace.