Photo/IllutrationPeople pray for those who died on the Tsushima Maru evacuation ship sunk 75 years ago by a U.S. submarine at a memorial service in Naha on Aug. 22. (Shohei Okada)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

NAHA--Survivors and bereaved family members offered prayers here on Aug. 22 to mark the 75th anniversary of the sinking of the Tsushima Maru ship, which killed about 1,500 evacuees including 784 children during the Pacific War.

On the night of Aug. 22, 1944, the cargo ship was evacuating about 1,800 people, mostly schoolchildren and other civilians, from Naha to Nagasaki on the main southern island of Kyushu.

A U.S. submarine torpedoed the vessel en route, sinking it in waters off the Tokara islands in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Speaking at the memorial service, survivor Masakatsu Takara, director of the Tsushima-maru Memorial Museum in Naha, pledged to continue its work to “pursue a world without conflicts and wars.”

During the ceremony held in front of the Kozakura no To memorial near the museum, a chorus of local children sang a song praying for peace.

The exact death toll was never confirmed. However, the names of 1,484 who were killed have been identified, including 784 schoolchildren, according to the museum.