Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Japanese Underground Naval Command

by Pa Rock
Cultural Explorer

I spent an interesting day with my friends Murphy and Nefredia, but unfortunately the small Nikkon camera that I purchased back in the states is not working - yet again - so there will be no pictures with this post.

We headed south from our offices at Kadena just before noon with a vague notion of going to the tunnels that the Japanese dug for defensive purposes during World War II.  Enroute we took a detour and visited two flea markets, both of which had lots of things of interest but were overpriced.   Murphy did buy an Andy Warhol toy that was still in the original box with shrink wrap - and some used ties from another era which he will have cleaned and wear to work.

It took awhile to find the park where the tunnels were located.  They are in a section of Naha not too far from where I lived all those many years ago.  The tunnels were dug into the mountainside with picks and hoes, and then reinforced with cement and plaster.  They served as the headquarters of the Japanese Navy during the American siege of Okinawa in April of 1945.  One small room in the tunnel system has many pockmarks in the walls, and a sign said that they were from the shrapnel when Japanese officers committed suicide with hand grenades.  There were also photo displays, lots of explanatory signs - some of which were in English, and several makeshift shrines honoring the war dead.

Coming back we pulled in at a furniture store - at Nefredia's request.  She, of course, didn't buy anything, but I wound up with a very nice wooden stool that will some day have a place of honor in my little farm house back in the Ozarks.

It is a beautiful day on Okinawa!

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