The Cornerstone of Peace: A Monument of Remembrance and Reconciliation

The Cornerstone of Peace: A Monument of Remembrance and Reconciliation

The Cornerstone of Peace is a monument in Itoman in Okinawa in Japan commemorating the Battle of Okinawa and the role of Okinawa during World War II. The names of over two hundred and forty thousand (240,000) people who lost their lives are inscribed on the memorial. Dedicated to the memory of the lives lost during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II, this monument embodies the enduring spirit of remembrance and reconciliation. It serves as a solemn testament to the tragedies of war, urging us to reflect on the past and strive for a peaceful future. Through its poignant design and poignant location, it stands as a beacon of hope in a world marked by conflict and division.



The origins of the Cornerstone of Peace lie in the aftermath of World War II, particularly the devastating Battle of Okinawa, which claimed the lives of over 240,000 people. In 1995, on the 50th anniversary of the war’s end, plans were set in motion to create a lasting memorial to honor the fallen. The monument was envisioned as a place of remembrance for both military personnel and civilians from all nations involved in the conflict. It was designed to provide a space for reflection and contemplation, fostering a deeper understanding of the human cost of war. Construction of the monument began in the early 2000s, with meticulous attention to detail paid to every aspect of its design and layout.


Design, Construction, Opening

The design of the Cornerstone of Peace was the result of a collaborative effort involving architects, artists, and community members. Renowned Japanese architect Yohei Miyazawa led the design team, aiming to create a structure that would evoke a sense of solemnity and reverence. The monument consists of towering walls engraved with the names of the fallen, arranged in concentric arcs to symbolize the waves of conflict that swept over Okinawa. Construction of the monument required careful planning and execution, with materials sourced locally to ensure authenticity and durability. The opening ceremony in 2003 was attended by dignitaries, veterans, and descendants of those who perished, marking a significant moment in Okinawa’s journey towards healing and reconciliation.


The Cornerstone of Peace (平和の礎, Heiwa no Ishiji) was unveiled on 23 June 1995 in memory of the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Okinawa and the end of World War II. It was erected to: (1) Remember those lost in the war, and pray for perpetual peace; (2) Pass on the lessons of war; and (3) Serve as a place for meditation and learning.



The Cornerstone of Peace holds profound importance as a symbol of remembrance, reconciliation, and peace. It serves as a tangible reminder of the sacrifices made during the Battle of Okinawa and World War II, honoring the memory of those who perished. By listing the names of all those who lost their lives, the monument humanizes the tragedy of war and emphasizes the universal toll of conflict. Its location in the Peace Memorial Park provides a space for reflection and contemplation, inviting visitors to pay their respects and contemplate the consequences of violence. The monument’s message of peace resonates far beyond Okinawa, serving as a beacon of hope in a world marked by division and strife. It reminds us of the imperative to learn from history and strive for a future where conflicts are resolved through dialogue and understanding.


10 Learnings from the Cornerstone of Peace

  1. War exacts a heavy toll on all involved, regardless of nationality or allegiance.

  2. Remembrance is a powerful tool for honoring the sacrifices of those who came before us.

  3. Reconciliation requires acknowledging the pain and suffering of all parties involved.

  4. Peace is not merely the absence of conflict but the presence of understanding and empathy.

  5. Monuments like the Cornerstone of Peace serve as tangible reminders of the consequences of war.

  6. Every name engraved on the monument represents a life cut short and a story left untold.

  7. Building a better future requires learning from the mistakes of the past.

  8. Healing from the wounds of war takes time, compassion, and dedication.

  9. The act of remembrance is an act of resilience, defiance, and hope.

  10. We must strive to honor the memory of the fallen by working tirelessly for a world free from violence and injustice.



In a world fraught with conflict and division, the Cornerstone of Peace stands as a beacon of hope and a testament to the enduring human spirit. Through its solemn design and poignant message, it reminds us of the importance of remembrance, reconciliation, and peace. As we reflect on the tragedies of the past, let us also look towards a future where the lessons learned from monuments like this guide us towards a more peaceful world for generations to come.

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