Yumiko-chan incident

The Yumiko-chan incident was the rape and murder of six-year-old Japanese girl Yumiko Nagayama (sometimes reported as Yumiko Arakaki) by American soldier Sergeant Isaac J. Hurt in Kadena, Okinawa on September 3, 1955. Nagayama's body was found near Kadena Air Base during the U.S. occupation of Okinawa, and an investigation led to the conviction of 31-year-old Sergeant Hurt on charges of murder, rape, and kidnapping.[1] The Yumiko-chan Incident caused anti-American outrage in Okinawa and contributed to the first major Okinawan protests against the U.S. occupation and military presence.

The WW2 draft card of Isaac J Hurt, the US soldier found guilty for the rape and murder of 6-year old Yumiko Nagahama on Okinawa, 1955.

Preceding incidentEdit

Isaac Hurt had previously served 11 months in jail for assault and attempted rape in Michigan.[2]

Isaac Jackson Hurt
Born(1924-02-18)February 18, 1924
DiedAugust 6, 1984(1984-08-06) (aged 60)
Criminal statusDeceased
Conviction(s)United States Military
Felony murder
Rape
Michigan
Attempted rape
Assault
Criminal penaltyUnited States Military
Death; commuted to 45 years imprisonment without parole; later commuted to allow for parole eligibility
Michigan
11 months imprisonment

IncidentEdit

On September 4, 1955, the mutilated body of a young girl was discovered in a landfill belonging to the Kadena Air Base, an installation of the Far East Command in Kadena, Okinawa, at the time governed by the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands. The girl was found to have been raped and her body was described as if it had been cut up with a sharp knife from the abdominal region to the bowel.[3] The girl was identified as Yumiko Nagayama (sometimes reported as Yumiko Arakaki), a six year-old kindergarten student from Ishikawa (now part of the city of Uruma) who had been reported missing at about 8 p.m when she did not come home from playing outdoors. When a brown hair was discovered on Nagayama's body, investigators suspected that the perpetrator was foreign, prompting a joint investigation by the U.S. military and the Ryukyu Police, the civilian police agency in Okinawa at the time. The investigation suggested that Nagayama was abducted at an Eisa performance where eyewitnesses claimed to have seen her leave with a white man, indicating that the perpetrator was a U.S. serviceman. An indictment was submitted against Sergeant Isaac J. Hurt (sometimes incorrectly reported as Isaac J. Hart) of B Battalion, 32nd Artillery Division, on charges of murder, rape and kidnapping.[1][4]

ReactionEdit

News of Nagayama's violent rape and murder by a U.S. serviceman provoked outrage among Okinawans, who were further angered by the fact that due to extraterritoriality laws, Nagayama's alleged rapist and murderer would not undergo an Okinawan trial, but rather a U.S. military court-martial. A Rally for Protection of Children was held in Okinawa and the Association for Protection of Children was formed with this incident, and many Okinawans rallied in support of the cause.[1] Okinawans demanded that the U.S. military "Punish offenders of this kind of case with the death penalty without leniency regardless of nationality or ethnicity." Okinawans demanded that he be tried in a civilian court and that the trial be broadcast, but these requests were declined.

TrialEdit

Sergeant Isaac J. Hurt was brought to trial on charges of rape and murder by a U.S. court-martial in Okinawa. He was tried just 14 days after U.S. marine Raymond Parker was sentenced to life in prison for raping and murdering a 9-year-old Okinawa girl.[5] Hurt insisted upon his innocence, but his court martial lasted 13 days and he was convicted after a deliberation of less than an hour, and sentenced to death. At the time, Hurt was the second conviction of a U.S. serviceman on Okinawa for rape in less than a month.[6] Though he was initially sentenced to death by a US court martial, Hurt was returned to the US without the Okinawan public being informed, and his sentence was reduced to 45 years - without the possibility of parole - by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1960.[7]

Release from prisonEdit

Following the commutation of his death sentence, Hurt was transferred to USP Leavenworth where he suffered a stroke in 1969. He wrote letters to Senators and members of the US government requesting to be granted parole or his case to be dismissed. In one letter, he alleged, “I was sacrificed to appease the dissident political elements who were demanding an end to American mil. [military] Occupation.”[7]

In January 1977, President Gerald Ford granted Hurt’s requests to be made eligible for parole and, that year, he was released from prison. Following his release, Hurt found work as a night watchman and, in 1981, he got married. On August 6, 1984, he died at a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Ohio State;[7] his grave in Reading Cemetery, Hamilton County, Ohio State, is marked with a headstone, provided by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, noting his service in WW2.[8]

AftermathEdit

The Yumiko-chan Incident caused an increase in Okinawan opposition against the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands and ten years of U.S. military occupation in Okinawa, and led to further debate over the continued presence of U.S. forces in Japan. It was the springboard for the first serious, coordinated anti-U.S. military protests in Okinawa following the beginning of the occupation in 1945.

On September 23, 2021, Okinawa Times reported about the release of Hurt and the Department of Veterans' Affairs' provision of his grave marker, despite his conviction for rape and murder of a minor. Okinawan peace activists, including Suzuyo Takazato, expressed anger at the release and the US government's decision to supply such a headstone.[9]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c The Okinawa Times, Sept 10, 1955.[full citation needed]
  2. ^ "Clipped From Kingsport Times". Kingsport Times. 1955-12-06. p. 1. Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  3. ^ 佐木隆三 (1982-04-15). "II 石川市の幼女誘拐殺害". 証言記録 沖縄住民虐殺:日兵逆殺と米軍犯罪. 徳間文庫. 徳間書店. pp. 173–196. doi:10.11501/9773963. ISBN 978-4195972984. NCID BN06761322. ndljp:9773963/88. - 原著『証言記録 沖縄住民虐殺:日兵逆殺と米軍犯罪』(新人物往来社ISBN 978-4404007209NCID BN01189622ndljp:9769394)は、1976年2月15日第1刷発行。
  4. ^ "United States v. Hurt, 9 C.M.A. 735, 27 C.M.R. 3, 9 U.S.C.M.A. 735 (1958)". cite.case.law. Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  5. ^ "Hurt". Pasadena Independent. 1955-11-23. p. 10. Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  6. ^ St. Petersburg Times, December 6, 1955.[full citation needed]
  7. ^ a b c Serrano, Richard A. (2019). Summoned at Midnight: A Story of Race and the Last Military Executions at Fort Leavenworth. Boston, MA: Beacon Press. pp. 98–99. ISBN 978-080706096-4.
  8. ^ "死刑の米兵22年で仮釈放されていた 沖縄の幼女殺害 「政治の犠牲」と主張 米政府は墓石を提供 | 沖縄タイムス+プラス ニュース". 沖縄タイムス+プラス (in Japanese). Retrieved 2021-09-24.
  9. ^ "刑期の半分以下「異常だ」 仮釈放されていた幼女殺害の米兵 「沖縄で起きたことだからか」怒りの声 | 沖縄タイムス+プラス プレミアム". 沖縄タイムス+プラス (in Japanese). Retrieved 2021-09-24.