18-year-old Okinawan rescues Korean university student

18-year-old Daito Sakihama from Yomitan received a certificate of appreciation from the Kunigami Fire Department on Aug. 29. Sakihama was cited for rescuing a Korean university student who was drowning at the Tanaga-gumui waterfall in Aha, Kunigami Village, on Aug. 3.

According to a fire department spokesman, Sakihama had been on a picnic on the shore of the waterfall pond, when he heard someone shouting for help, and saw a man in distress and obviously about to drown in the middle of the pond under the waterfall. Sakihama then jumped into the pond and swam some 20 meters to reach the drowning man. Ha managed to grab his arm, although the man had already sunk underwater and pulled to man to the shore. Once on the shore the man quickly recovered and was not in need of hospitalization.

The drowning man is a Korean student at the University of the Ryukyus, who explained that he had came to the waterfall for leisure with his friends, but had suffered a cramp on his leg while swimming.

The center spot of the Tanaga-gumui pond is very deep, and the place is also remote, and difficult for a rescue team to reach. The Kunigami Fire Department spokesman said that the Korean student was really lucky, because the site is remote and very difficult for a rescue team to reach. He added that this was the first time someone has been rescued from drowning at the waterfall.

Morihiro Oyakawa, the chief of the Kunigami Fire Department said that “It’s not easy to save an adult man who is about to drown. That’s why the way Sakihama was able to rescue the man, and his courage are so great.”

  • Faller

    Why do you guys publish stories like this but you never publish stories about the military members doing community service? I recently heard about a Marine who saved an elderly woman from being hit by a car. Why isn’t that on this site? OH i forgot, it doesn’t jive with Japanupdate and the Ryukyu Shinpo’s communist views.

  • Faller
  • slam

    It’s obvious that anybody who’s a consumer of the Japan Update site needs to know they have an agenda against the US Military here, which is pretty insane since they put up a front as a service to SOFA status personnel. All readers of this site should look at the habits of the staff at this site and understand that their history indicates that they will never post anything positive unless it’s neutral in nature… never weighing in the side of a military person out here.

    • japanupdate

      Um, yeah, no. Sorry.

      • slam

        I’ve been reading your stories for over 6 years now and they are NEVER positive in nature.

      • slam

        You can say that all you want, but thats like telling the customer they are wrong.

      • slam

        As if we haven’t seen Bill Charles’ anti-US articles and opinions on this site time and time again.

  • slam


    This story was NEVER published by the RyuKyu Shinpo or Japan Update. Search for yourself but why did a handful of other sources publish it?

05:40 26 May , 2020