Editor’s Note: Kyoko Nakayama is a professor at Teikyo University in Tokyo and formed the dance group CHamoru Guma’ Famagu’on Tano’ yan i Tasi in 2009. The dance troupe has performed in Guam and Japan over the years, and in this feature she shares the group’s plans to commemorate Guam’s Liberation Day.
On July 10, Guma’ Famagu’on Tano’ yan i Tasi spent two hours giving a presentation and discussion on Liberation Day in Guam at Teikyo University, where our group is based.
A CHamoru living in Japan, Dianna Guerrero Kubo, also participated. Every summer, we report and discuss Guam’s Liberation Day in July and Japan’s War End Day in August.
Our guma, which is a basic international exchange between Guam and Japan through CHamoru dance, spends some time learning history and culture to showcase CHamoru culture.
Our guma members read a lot of books. When we visit Guam, we hear from war witnesses, survivors, and the elderly talking about their memories.
Hearing their stories about their memories of war is sometimes painful and sad. Seeing the tears of the elderly, expressing our sincere hearts and confiding in them allows us to “own the story”.
In Guam, we celebrate Liberation Day. As modern Japanese, we don’t “celebrate” past wars won or lost, we commemorate them.
“When I was a student, when I thought about Liberation Day, I understood what the Japanese military did in the Pacific War and felt sorry for the people of Guam,” Kyoko said. Yoshizumi, who was among those who gave a presentation on July 10.
“However, when I heard about this aspect of Liberation Day, which means ‘to commemorate’, I also learned that it had become a unifying force on the island and a catalyst for the cultural revival movement. I learned that sometimes collective and individual memories are different.
“It’s because there are Guamians who have continued to tell us the story of Guam without hiding it. Not because we are Japanese, but because we are people who understand and trust our seriousness about Guam’s history. So for me, release day is a day to reflect on what I should be.
Invited to Guam Parade
We were invited by the Guam Visitors Bureau to participate in the 2022 Guam Liberation Day Parade. Participation in the parade will be interesting and fun.
On the other hand, it takes courage to participate in a parade celebrating our liberation from Japanese occupation.
What will the people of Guam think of our participation in the parade? Some may not feel comfortable. Anticipating this, however, we want to participate in the parade to share and own the story.
We love CHamoru culture and want to share peace, friendship and CHamoru dance with Japanese people.
“As one of the members participating in Liberation Day, I attended the session after reading a book during my workday because I knew I had to relearn through today’s presentation. Learning about war is always sobering, even though I learned it as a student,” said Ryo Hoshino, one of our guma members who will be traveling to Guam for Liberation Day.
“It reminded me of the importance of remembering and sharing about war. I would like to ask what the local people expect from the Japanese people participating in Liberation Day to learn more about Guam, and what they expect from us in the future,” Hoshino said.
“As a CHamoru dancer, I think this will be one of the guiding principles for the future. I hope to learn a lot about Guam and spend my time there so I can share what I’ve learned with others. members.