Civilians in the Crossfire: The Battle of Okinawa (2020)


The Battle of Okinawa was one of the bloodiest and costliest of World War II in the Pacific. The United States needed a base to stage an invasion of mainland Japan. The island of Okinawa was the crucial final stepping stone for the Americans. For the Japanese, it would be the first time they met the enemy on home soil.


75 years ago, near the end of World War II, Japan and the US engaged in a desperate battle in Okinawa. The Americans used weapons of unprecedented lethality, targeting civilians as well as the Japanese military. Civilians sought shelter in caves alongside the Japanese troops they thought would defend them, only to face hunger and threats of execution if they surrendered. Many civilians caught in the conflict chose suicide during the battle’s final month. This is the story of ordinary people who were caught in the conflict and perished during the battle’s final month.


  • The battle lasted 82 days.
  • More than 12,000 Americans were killed or missing in action.
    • The highest number lost in a single battle in the Pacific war.
  • More than 70,000 Japanese soldiers and Okinawan conscripts were killed defending the island.
  • Civilians, caught in the crossfire, bore the highest toll.
    • Perhaps as many as 100,000 to 150,000 Okinawan men, woman, and children lost their lives during the nearly three months of fighting.
  • After the war, Americans occupied and administered Okinawa.
  • In 1972, administration of the island reverted back to Japan, but American military bases remain to this day.

Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s):
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  • Music:
  • Cinematography:
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  • Distributor(s): NHK.
  • Release Date: 26 September 2020.
  • Running Time:
  • Rating: PG.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

YouTube Link

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