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B-29 International Research Seminar
Fieldtrip to the site of Ofuna POW Camp

ProgramSummary of the Speeches|Fieldtrip to the site of Ofuna POW Camp|

On the afternoon of May 19, the previous day of the seminar, we visited the site of Ofuna POW Camp, which was once located near Eiko Gakuen. Mr. Oshima Hironao, a member of our group POW-RNJ and teacher at Eiko Gakuen, and Mr. Hiramatsu Koichi, also a member and the alumnus of the Gakuen, kindly played roles of guides. Twenty people participated in the trip.

Mr. Tadokoro, who was a schoolboy and lived near the Camp in those days, showed us around the site of the Camp and POWs' graveyard, and talked about his reminiscences - what he saw inside of the Camp through a gap of wooden fence, the POWs who walked or brought on a two-wheeled cart from Ofuna railway station to the Camp, immediately after the war was over, the people who lived near the Camp picked up relief dropped from airplanes and brought them to the Camp, or used for barter, learned English from POWs, etc., etc. The people who lived near the Camp had no animosity whatsoever against the POWs. Towards the end of the war, to those POWs who were detailed to dig a tunnel, they even treated them to tea and snacks.

One of the foundation stones of the Camp's watchtower still remains in the yard of Mrs. Tsubakihara (94 years old), who built a house in the site after the war. She said, "My late husband always told me, ‘keep it, since it is a historically valuable item.' So, I have kept it, and I am very happy I can show it to you."

Six POWs who died while interned in the Camp were buried in the slope near the Camp. After the war, the party sent by the GHQ dug them out and brought them away. Since then, the priest of Ryuho-ji temple set up sotoba (a wooden tablet with a holly text) in the graveyard of the temple, and performs a service every year. The names of six POWs used to be written on sotoba. Today, the writing on it reads "for a religious service to the repose of the six POWs' souls who died in the POW Camp in front of this temple."

The Site of Ofuna POW Camp

The Substructure of Watchtower at Ms.Tsubakihara's house.

Ryuhou-ji Temple near the Camp

Sotoba in the graveyard of the temple

Report by SASAMOTO Taeko

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