On December 2nd 1941, just 6 days before the Japanese opened hostilities in the Pacific War against the Allies by bombing Pearl Harbour, a coded signal went out from the Kemigawa Transmission Station in Tochigi to all the Empire of Japan’s military forces: 1208, or CLIMB MT. NIITAKA 1208; the order to join the war. CLIMB MT. NIITAKA referred to Niitaka mountain, the tallest in all of the then-Japanese Empire (now Taiwan). 1208 referred to the date of commencement- the 8th of December Japan time, the day the Japanese surprise-attacked Hawaii. Kemigawa front face.
Matsumoto Castle in Nagano is one of the few remaining original castles in Japan. A fort was first built at the site in 1504, then in 1550 the Takeda clan under big boss Tokugawa Ieyasu built it up further, with the Norimasa clan taking over stewardship from 1590, extensively reinforcing and adding to the structure. That makes it around 500 years old, no doubt one of the oldest buildings in Japan. It’s a traditional wooden structure of several levels, with the pagoda-like structure common in traditional Japanese buildings. It is nick-named “Crow Castle” for it’s black walls and spreading wings. …
The abandoned US Air Force (USAF) base in Fuchu is a vine-slathered memento from the early days of Japanese/American war and peace, built shortly after World War II and abandoned in the 1980’s. Part of it was cut off and made into a public park, part cut out and transformed into the the still-active nearby Japan Self-Defence Force (SDF) Base, and part left behind, slowly falling into ruin, for nature to claim as her own. New antenna, old antenna in Fuchu Air Base. Fuchu was an Air Base vital for re-supply and communications during the Vietnam and Korean Wars. Two …
Deep within the solid rock of the Negishi Plateau in Yokohama, spreading beneath the old race-course Grandstand and Yokosuka Naval Base, lies a twisting warren of hidden World War 2-era caverns. Once filled with ancient munitions, bustling troops, and rooms full of military dossiers, they now rest in lonely silence, unexplored for up to 20 years, their secrets stopped up behind entrances back-filled with avalanche scree and trash, overgrown by thick vines in loamy earth, and walled off with sheets of blast-concrete.
The Negishi Racecourse Grandstand in Yokohama looms like an ancient 3-headed Titan over the Negishi Plateau. It once drew crowds of thousands to cheer the racing horses from its elaborate bleachers, to wander its long hallways and admire its extravagant architecture, but that was over 80 years ago, before it was surrendered to the US military after World War Two. Now its racecourse is a floodlit naval base, its bleachers are fenced off and overgrown with ivy, its innards rest silent and dark but for the steady drip of rain-water leaking through its rotting concrete skin.
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