Photographed the headquarters of Shuri Castle underground, the memory of the Pacific War, August 2, 20:43
In the Battle of Okinawa at the end of the Pacific War, the former Japanese army photographed the interior of the headquarters built in the basement of Shuri Castle with special permission. It has left a strong memory of the war, such as confirming the traces of the former Japanese army that allegedly blew up the interior when it left, and experts are seeking preservation and publication as “the most valuable place to know the Battle of Okinawa.”
Photography was permitted at the “32nd Military Command Trench” of the former Japanese army, which remains in the basement of Shuri Castle in Naha City.
In the Battle of Okinawa 75 years ago, when more than 200,000 people died, the former Japanese army built about 1 kilometer in the basement about 30 meters deep and led the battle until it withdrew to the southern part of the main island of Okinawa due to deteriorating war conditions.
Due to the high risk of collapse, access has been severely restricted, but this time, we took a picture deep inside for the first time with special permission from Okinawa Prefecture, which manages it.
In the trench, a room is set up along the passage, equipment such as guns and helmets are still left, and the mark which seems to have been dug by the pickaxe is engraved on the wall.
When it entered 150 meters from the entrance, the wall collapsed greatly and it was not possible to proceed, and it is said that it was a mark that it blew up when the former Japanese army withdrew.
The withdrawal of the former Japanese army to the southern part of the main island of Okinawa has led residents to be caught up in the battlefield, and according to Okinawa Prefecture’s records, about half of the victims of the victims of the residents excluding military and military personnel, are said to have lost their lives in the month after the withdrawal.
Shinobu Yoshihama, a former professor at Okinawa International University who is familiar with the war site, said, “The tragedy of the Battle of Okinawa has occurred intensively in the month after withdrawing to the south. It is the most valuable place to know about the Battle of Okinawa, and if you don’t look at both sides of Shuri Castle on the ground and the headquarters in the basement, you won’t be able to understand the correct history.”
Conspicuous aging guns and helmets are also left…
The entrance and exit of the command shelter is usually locked to the iron door and strictly controlled, and this time, I started photographing under the circumstances of Okinawa Prefecture.
The inside is kept at about 23 degrees even in hot Okinawa, but depending on the location, there is only a height that the head collides if it does not squat.
What you see is the aging of the interior, and the mass of rocks that collapsed in some places has fallen.
In the room, which is considered to be a kitchen in the records of the former Japanese army, a large rock about 2 meters in diameter collapsed, and cracks were in the ceiling.
In the room of about six tatami mats ahead, a machine like a gun, a helmet, and a radio was left.
In order to prevent the collapse, iron pillars were installed in 189 internal locations, so there was a firing styrene between the wire and the ceiling.
Further down about 100 meters from the entrance, my feet were so muddy that they were buried in mud to the ankle because of groundwater.
If you look closely at the ground that became like mud, you can see a tree about 60 centimeters long that seems to have been used as a sleeper of the truck.
Then, as we went 150 meters from the entrance, we were blocked from going by the earth and sand that filled the passage.
It is said to have been a site that blew up the interior when the former Japanese army withdrew.
It is not possible to enter the center such as the staff room and the strategy room which is said to have existed ahead, and the whole picture of the command center trench is not clear even after 75 years after the war.
Command center of the Battle of Okinawa “32nd Army Command Trench”
The 32nd Army Command Bunker was built to cross the basement of Shuri Castle from north to south.
It is said that this place was chosen because there was underground ground to withstand U.S. military gunfire, and because it was on a hill.
At that time, it was the center of the battle command of the Battle of Okinawa, which is said to have had about 1,000 people, and there was a fierce battle with the U.S. army in the surrounding area.
Of the five confirmed doorways, the northern entrances near Moriremon gate are blocked due to collapse, and the entrance and exit about 300 meters southwest of Shuri Castle Shoden are the only ones left at that time.
The desire to save and publish
In Okinawa, the historical value of the 32nd Military Command Bunker is attracting attention.
In May 1945, as the U.S. army sought the siege of Shuri, the 32nd army decided to withdraw its headquarters to Mabunin in Itoman City and engage in endurance battles in the southern part of the main island.
As a result, since residents who had been evacuated to the south became a form of being wound up in the battlefield, there are calls for the preservation and publication of the headquarters as an important site of the war in knowing the actual state of the Battle of Okinawa.
Those who have experienced the Battle of Okinawa formed a citizen group in March this year, and in the future, we will conduct activities to seek public disclosure through social media and other media.
In June, Governor Tamaki of Okinawa Prefecture established a review committee consisting of experts to examine how to preserve and disclose the information.
On the other hand, according to Okinawa Prefecture, the inside is at high risk of falling due to weathering, and when opening to the public, there are many technical issues such as how to ensure safety while leaving the appearance of the time.
Asamitsu Takayama, vice president of the citizens’ group, said, “We would like to establish and open the shelter of the headquarters, which is a negative history, along with the reconstruction of Shuri Castle, the symbol of Okinawa. This allows visitors to Shuri Castle to learn more about the history of Okinawa.”