Cherry blossom blooms first in Okinawa, a small Japanese island which holds 96 % of America’s military presence in Japan since World War 2. US Okinawa bases played a key role in the war in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, causing much political controversy. Many people in Okinawa are angry at the presence of around 26,000 military personnel and feel they are America’s launch pad for war or an ‘island of evil’.
The military presence in Okinawa is painful for the population, as around a quarter was killed during the war. Many where told by the Japanese Imperial army to commit suicide, with the propaganda that falling in the hands of the Americans was worse than death. Many Okinawans killed their own family members or jumped off suicide cliffs.