Thanks Richard for the photo and link. I have read the book, Descent into Hell
which is mentioned in the article from your link. It is a reasonably priced book still available on Amazons website.
An excerpt from the book:
That our interviews encouraged so many Okinawans who had previously been reluctant to discuss their wartime experiences to finally talk about them was a major achievement in itself. In addition, that a project initiated by a newspaper [Ryukyu Shimpo] could create opportunities for so many displaced victims of the war to find each other again, was particularly pleasing.
The most dominating reason why so many civilians died during the battle was because they stayed in the caves with the Japanese soldiers during the daylight and were killed along with them by satchel charges, gasoline, flame throwers, and hand grenades. They looked toward the Japanese soldiers to protect them from the "American Barbarians", which, through propaganda, the Japanese instilled in them that if captured they would be tortured, mutilated, raped, and ultimately die a painful death. Of course the truth was the exact opposite.
At night the civilians would venture out of the caves in search of food and water. Many groups of them could be heard whispering and see their vague Silhouette's which to the Marines and G.I.'s in their forward foxhole positions, in the dark, could not make out whether they were civilians or enemy soldiers. Since every night was a living hell on Okinawa where no one could sleep because the Japanese made night assaults by stealth and silence into and behind the American forward lines, these civilians were often massacred in a hail of rifle and machine gun fire and in the morning the Americans would see the gruesome mess they made. Sometimes groups of almost 40 civilians of all ages from toddlers to 90 years old were mowed down and lay in twisted bloodied piles out front of the American lines.