Sightseeing Stumbling around Naha and Kokusai Street to find Asahigaoka Park

David

Founder
Okinawa.Org Staff
Yesterday, I took my dog for a walk near the Ryubo-end of Kokusai-dori in Naha towards Naminoue Beach, crossing Route 58 to get there. I stumbled across Asahigaoka Park on my way back from the beach. It wasn't very well lit, besides the awesome night sky illuminating the stone pathways, lined with up and down stairs, through the shrubbery. There were many steps, and poor lighting, so I didn't want to get lost too much.

http://instagr.am/p/BtvnTKbFXSJ/ (follow our IG if you don't already)

I did, however, come across a memorial. I wasn't able to see the memorial itself as it was dark out and time to get going back home but found the plate for it. I never read these things while coming across them before. But, something stopped me and I looked down and read.

Kozakura monument

It reads:
August 21, 1944. A year before the battle [sic] of Okinawa, Tsushima-maru evacuation ship boarded 1661 people, of which 834 were school children, took off Naha port with two consort ships and two escort vessels to Nagasaki. Although the command of the air was secured, the sea area at the time was dangerous due to frequent appearance of opponent submarine ships.

On the next day, August 22, a little past 2200, two consort ships, two escort vessels and Tsushima-maru were attacked by USS Bowfin and Tsushima-maru was torpedoed down under the sea. Including 780 school children, 1500 teachers, evacuees and soldiers have fallen victims by the attack. However due to strict gag order the details of what had happened were kept unknown until years after the end of the war.

Kozakura monument is a memorial cenotaph for the Tsushima-maru victims. In 1954, Kei Kawai, a chairperson at the time of Suzushiro Children's Organization in Aichi prefecture, started 1 yen donation for memorial cenotaph dedicated for the children who perished their lives during the war in Okinawa. With the support from the governor and the people of Aichi prefecture, the donation was made and the first memorial cenotaph was founded for children in Okinawa.

The monument relief the head of the ship facing Naha port with names of fallen victims engraved on the side. (Kozakura monument/bronze dove designed by Seikichi Tamanaha)
After reading that, I do plan to go back another day to see the monument itself as it's not a far trek from my house.

Perhaps, I'll make a day of it tomorrow with @Marron and see more of the park as it did seem dog-friendly, at night at least, as she loved sniffing around for stray cat friends.

Below you can see a pin to the Kozakura monument / Asahigaoka Park area to explore for yourselves:
 
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OP
David

David

Founder
Okinawa.Org Staff
I wanted to get up close with the Ryuchu, a pair of 15 meter tall and 3 meter in diameter granite stone statues, as I always pass them coming out of the tunnel to bypass airport traffic on my way to Camp Kinser.

And, as I had @Marron then, I remembered about how much fun that she had at Asahigaoka Park and Naminoue Beach. After walking around the beach-side and getting lost in the park for about an hour to tire her out, I went to see monument today.

Kozakura memorial for the 834 children aboard the Tsushima-maru evacuation ship
 
OP
David

David

Founder
Okinawa.Org Staff
On this day in 1944, the Tsushima-maru was sunk by the USS Bowfin.

You can visit the memorial seen above as well as learn more about the incident at the Tsushima-maru Memorial Museum pinned below:
 

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