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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Remnants of the Past...

Entrance of Nishihara's Underground Shelter

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The Nishihara Village Office Underground Shelter

     N 26 13.753E 127 45.048

The Nishihara Village Office Underground Shelter

Shelters like the one above serve as a reminder of the past. It was before the Great Okinawan War had come to fruition, that the local people had dug out this shelter off a hillside in Nishihara Village some time after June 1944. This shelter served as an air raid shelter, but also to keep safe important documents for the Nishihara Village Office. A sign (translated in English) sits next to the shelter states that there was a safe inside and in it “contain[ed] important documents such as family and land registers, public funds, office seals, account books, and wartime credits.” Village office workers would retrieve documents from the safe daily and return them before close of business.(1)

The safe was said to weigh about 1 ton.(1) Where that safe is today is not certain by the author. But could quite possibly be preserved in a museum or at the town office. The search continues.

The shelter entrance has gone through some cosmetic changes due to damages that occurred decades after the war and is barred from entry. A building contractor around 1980, was working near this area where damage was inadvertently done to the shelter.(1) Man-made shelters like the one in Nishihara are not uncommon to see on Okinawa. This one pictured here is on the Motobu Peninsula. Its history is not really clear at the moment.

Directions. The shelter is in Nishihara Town. Take Highway 329 south into Nishihara and then take Highway 38 (right before the big San-A Shopping Center). You will pass as Lawson convenience store (left-hand side). You will then pass a Family Mart convenience store (also left-hand side). The next traffic light make a left. About 300 meters you will see the underground shelter on the right.

Source of Information. 1. Sign (translated in English)  

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