Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hangers or Hangars?

I freed myself from school early and fled from the hills as quickly as possible on Friday. It was all for the cause of finding new hiking/walking shoes. What a let down, right? Yes, if you consider the fact I didn't make much progress in finding some new footwear. That's not such a necessity right now anyway. While I was in the vicinity of the local airport I went to check out some old hangars. A random acquaintance told me about them back in September and I had been interested to check them out for myself. I couldn't find the Japanese word for hangar because I was typing the English in as hanger. That was a good spelling lesson for myself, albeit a shameful one.

IMG_4395_11-2 Airplane Hangers

In 1944 nine covered hangars and 32 uncovered plane storage areas were constructed for use by the air force. After the war the airport became the prefectural airport and the surrounding land returned to farming.  Today 7 of the 9 hangars still remain in rather good condition. 

The flight unit was named the White Chrysanthemum and originally did pilot training. But the planes were also used for suicide attacks, better known in English as kamikaze which means God Wind or sometimes Divine Wind. 26 planes were sent to southern Japan to a base in Kagoshima and subsequently fought in the battle of Okinawa. 56 individuals lost their lives.

IMG_4399_11-2 Airplane Hangers

This is the biggest hangar of the lot. According to the Japanese on the webpage I used to find the history of the hangars, there are about 60 bullet holes from being strafed by American machine gun fire. I didn't think they had been attacked so I didn't look very close. I might have to give it another look when I'm in the area sometime.

IMG_4405_11-2 Airplane Hangers

IMG_4417_11-2 Airplane Hangers

Almost every hangar has some form of agriculture equipment or garbage inside of it now. They are quasi storage sheds for the local farmers.

IMG_4430_11-2 Airplane Hangers

The other hangars are much smaller. The interesting thing is that their positions seem to be placed very randomly. I think they all face varying directions. I apparently missed the sign that explains the hangars. One exists somewhere in the area. I'll have to track that down.

IMG_4438_11-2 Airplane Hangers

The sun was beginning to sink in the sky and it cast heavy shadows on the hangars.

IMG_4442_11-2 Airplane Hangers

IMG_4444_11-2 Airplane Hangers

I'll follow up with some more information after I have read through the Japanese on the history a little more.

IMG_4449_11-2 Airplane Hangers

IMG_4461_11-2 Airplane Hangers

There was one more hangar I didn't make it over to. It has a road going through it. I guess a second trip will be worthwhile after all.

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