【Series】 World War II 70th Anniversary – Second World War bunkers now protecting cows in pastures (July 23, 2015)

Bunker quietly sits in Kusuhara’s farmland (in Nemuro-shi, Hokkaido)

Bunker quietly sits in Kusuhara’s farmland (in Nemuro-shi, Hokkaido)

Tetsuya Onda

Some bunkers from Pacific War still remain in the pastures in Makinouchi, Nemuro-shi in Hokkaido, the region with successful dairy industry.

The bunkers were built during the Pacific War in order to protect military airplanes in one of the Imperial Japanese Navy airfields in Nemuro, which was a defense base in the Northern part of Japan. They were domes entirely covered with earth to camouflage.

There are five bunkers in the region and four out of them sit still in the farmland of Akio Kusuhara, 40, who came to Hokkaido from Aichi Prefecture as a new farmer six years ago. According to his wife, Wakana, 27, “Cows like to get inside to keep the sun out.” There are also old passages that run from the old bunkers to runways and Kusuhara uses them as pathways to carry their feeding stuff.

The airfield completed in June 1945 had never been in actual use.

Yoshiaki Soma, 88, also has one bunker in his farmland. He was a marine before he came to Hokkaido. When US navy dismantled the airfield, he also took part in the operation. “It was a painful job. I can never forget the sound of the blasting that shook the land. War should never happen again” he said with a set expression.

(July 23, 2015)

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