Images of Okinawa after World War II
The Images of Okinawa collection is composed of 195 color slides donated in July 2010 by Ms. Madeleine K. Van Epps, plus 53 black & white photos taken by the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands (USCAR).
Kupfer Slide Collection
154 of 195 color slides were taken between 1945 and 1946 by Dr. Donald H. Kupfer, the donor's father (see the featured slide photo). Dr. Kupfer was a Navy officer at the time he was stationed in Okinawa. He was born in 1918 and graduated from Yale. In 1955, Dr. Kupfer joined the faculty at the Department of Geology & Geophysics of Louisiana State University until he retired in the 1980s. Dr. Kupfer passed away in November 2010. He was 92 years old. His slide collections also include 27 color slides taken by Irene Betan in 1956.
No color adjustments or image enhancements were made to the scanned images. Therefore, some slides show color deterioration, out-of-focus images, or over-exposed images. His personal notes on each slide were transcribed and Japanese translations were made by the UHM Japan Collection. These notes were transcribed as exactly as possible as were written on the slides. Some place names may be misspelled or mistaken from spoken sounds. The names that we could not verify in Japanese are indicated in brackets. We greatly appreciate site visitors' suggestions if correct place names are identified. Some images and descriptions could be disturbing so viewer discretion is advised.
After WWII, Okinawa was occupied by the US military. After Japan signed the San Francisco Treaty in 1951, the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands (USCAR) officially took over and governed Okinawa from 1952 until Okinawa reverted to Japan in 1972. Dr. Douglas G. Haring (1894-1970) was a notable Ryukyu Scholar at Syracuse University. The photos were found among materials he left at the UHM Asia Collection Department. An accompanying note indicates that the photos were taken in 1968 and sent to Dr. Haring upon his request. The descriptions accompanying each photo were exactly transcribed and Japanese translations were made by the UHM Japan Collection.
For more USCAR photos, visit the Okinawa Prefectural Archives' USCAR Photo site and Naha City Museum Photo Search site (both in Japanese) at
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