Norma Field provides some excellent examples of circumstances in which Japanese soldiers directly killed Okinawan civilians. The first account is from Nakaj˘ Mitsutoshi, a sixteen-year-old lad at the time of the battle:
By then we only had a few half-rotten, sticky rice balls made from rice boiled a few days before. Only the children had them, we adults didn't eat anything. We just sat there, looking at what the soldiers were doing. Perhaps they through we knew nothing. They said they were going on a surprise attack mission and took away our food, threatening us with their pistols, but we knew they just wanted to stay alive and get back to the mainland.
The next day, they told us they were going to "dispose" of all children under three years of age because they said children would attract enemy attention and Americans would throw explosives into our cave. There were five children under three, including my brother and my niece. . . .
When they said they were going to kill the five children, we asked the commander to let us go out of the cave with the children. But he said no. He said we would become spies. he posted guards at the entrance to the cave and would not let us go out. Then four or five soldiers came to us and took away the children from us one by one, including my brother, and gave them the injection. . . .
Then, the next morning, they said we were the only civilians alive in the area, so they were also going to "dispose" of us before the Americans captured us and crushed us under their tanks. We knew they were going to kill us all just to take our food. (Quoted in Norma Field, In the Realm of a Dying Emperor: Japan at Century's End [New York: Vintage Books, 1993], p. 64.)
The next account is from Maeda Haru, a woman of nineteen at the time:
There was no bombardment in the morning and everybody went out of the cave to get water. Then I found my younger brother and sister crying and calling me from a pile of sugar cane bagasse at Miisumo. They said they got hurt in front of Mearakagua [household name] and had come crawling on their hands and knees.
I brought them one by one to the came and laid them down. I asked them if anything'd happened to Mother, and they said Mother was dead. Maybe Seiyu was also dead, they said. I asked them why Mother was killed. What they told me was that a Japanese soldier came and asked Mother how many people were in there, but as my mother couldn't speak Japanese well, she answered, "Hui, hui?" Of course, what she meant was "Yes? What is it?" but the soldier instantly cut her head off. The head landed in my sister-in-law Yuki's lap. Everybody panicked. My younger sister got away, carrying our younger brother on her back. but when she got as far as Mearakagua, the soldiers caught up with her, took her inside the gate of a house, and stabbed her, so she let go of our little brother. She was stabbed three times in the abdomen and her intestines came out here and there. My brother'd been stabbed deep and cut wide in the stomach, and all his tangled intestines came out. He died soon. (Quoted in Field, Realm of a Dying Emperor, pp. 64-65.)