Thursday 28 August 2014

Tsukuba Kaigun Kokutai Kinenkan #1

In modern Japan there are very few locations with remains from the War. The only original installation in good condition is located in Tomobe (present day Kasama city), Ibaraki prefecture. From 1934 and for the duration of the Pacific War it was the headquarters initially of the Kasumigaura Kokutai branch, from 1938 of the Tsukuba Ku and from 1944 of the fighter training unit of the Oita Ku.
We visited the location last week invited by aviation researcher and collector Kojima-san who informed us that the building is scheduled to be demolished in the near future and therefore a collective effort has begun to save it. To support his effort, collectors from all over Japan have contributed aircraft relics from their private collections and have filled most of the rooms of the building with priceless and most interesting relics which we will present little by little. 
The official site of the project, HERE
To visit the place you need to take the fast and comfortable "Fresh Hitachi" train of the Joban line from Ueno station. It takes about an hour and the one-way ticket costs 3,300Yen (about $US35). From the station you need to take a taxi for the 10 minute ride. The entrance ticket is 500Yen (about $US6).  
The building was recently used during the shooting of the movie "Eternal Zero" and a few rooms still have the furniture of the movie sets giving a most realistic, if not eerie atmosphere .

Unfortunately the future of the building is very bleak and the whole exhibition will be there until March. So if you are thinking of visiting the location, hurry up! Note that on the way to Tomobe, the train stops at Tsuchiura where the JIETAI Ordnance School is located with a number of Japanese WWII tanks and more.
We would like to thank Kanazawa-san, a member of the preservation project,  for his impeccable hospitality.

1 comment:

D. Chouinard said...

What an amazing time capsule! I really do hope it can be saved for future generations. I would love to see in person, but my biggest hurdle for visiting is first getting to Japan!
A really wonderful place to get "lost" in.
Thanks for posting!