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The battlefield of Iwo Jima

The video "Touring the battlefields of Iwo Jima = a scorching underground moat, and group burial ground(硫黄島の戦跡を巡る=灼熱の地下壕、集団埋葬地)is by "時事通信トレンドニュース" (Current Trending News and Events).

World War II left many scars in Japan. However, since many historical facts have been twisted, many people still do not know what the Pacific War and former Japanese army were like.
One remnant of them is the tragic battlefield of Iwo Jima.

In the Showa era, it was taught that the only decisive battle that took place on Japan's home soil was fought in Okinawa Prefecture.
However, it was the small island of Iwo Jima (8.1 mi²) near the Ogasawara Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean, where (before the battle in Okinawa) a decisive land battle took place .
Many civilians lived on Iwo Jima before the war, but due to the war, Iwo Jima became a fierce battleground, and many civilians who could not flee to the mainland in time, as well as Lieutenant General Tadashi Kuribayashi and many other soldiers, were killed in battle.
The movie "Letters from Iwo Jima" starring Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya of the band "Arashi" is one of the few movies that tells of the fierce battle of Iwo Jima.
In this article, I will introduce the history of Iwo Jima along with a video introducing the island.

What is Iwo Jima? Was the Iwo Jima landing plan the cornerstone of Japan's defeat?

Image of Iwo Jima
Photo:Iwo Jima

Iwo Jima is one of Ogasawara's villages, and Ogasawara itself belongs to Tokyo.
Eruptions continue to occur on the small volcanic island located approximately 1,200 km from the 23 wards of Tokyo.

From 0:06 in the beginning of the video, you can see the mural created by the US military in the northern part of Iwo Jima.
The mural depicts the famous scene of the Marines who landed on Iwo Jima setting the Stars and Stripes on Mt.Suribachi. Resentful that only these people were treated as heroes, other US military members shot at the mural.

Being that it’s a battlefield, from 1:45 in the video we can see the battered Armstrong gun that was hit by bombs, as well as some of the un-exploded shells that have been excavated. And from 3:33 in the video, the remains of the abandoned Sherman tank that the US Army destroyed are shown on the battlefield.

Image of Iwo Jima's underground trenches
Source of photo :YouTube screenshot

The Iwo Jima landing plan by the US Army was called Operation Detachment.
From the beginning of the war, there was a clear difference between the Japanese and Allied forces.
However, the geothermal heat of Iwo Jima, which is an active volcano, is high and it is said that the underground bunker had the appearance of scorching hell.
At 0:40 in the video, we see one of the battlefields that was used as a hospital, and when entering the back of the Navy Medical Department trench, the geothermal heat causes the camera lens to fog in an instant, making you wonder just how hot it really is.

In addition, it was reported that the toxic gas from the underwater volcano filled the assault trench and it was used as a defensive tactic when in danger of defeat.
The former Japanese army, while exposed to the double hardships of the US military and the natural environment of Iwo Jima, persisted for about a month in the battle of Iwo Jima, which was said have been decided in only 3 days' time.
Spending this much time on Iwo Jima shows that the island was an important base for the U.S. forces to capture if they wanted to take mainland Japan.

The remains of the battle of Iwo Jima

Image of Iwo Jima
Photo:Iwo Jima

Currently, the general public cannot visit Iwo Jima, but once a year there is a tour to see the battlefields of the three Iwo Jima islands.

Open to the public are the mass burial grounds, the murals that were used as propaganda in the United States after the war and that are said to have been shot at by US soldiers, as well as the Osakayama artillery battery and the battlefield housing the ashes of war.
At other times, the Maritime Self-Defense Force is stationed there, where they train and collect remains from the war, so it is a restricted area.

Summary of the battlefield of Iwo Jima video

Image of Iwo Jima
Source of photo :YouTube screenshot

After the war, Japan was under American occupation, and Iwo Jima became an area where the Japanese were not allowed to set foot until autonomy was restored.
The surviving islanders were chased from their homes, and scattered all over the country, and even now, they can only return home to Iwo Jima once a year.

As you can see from the video 2:14, the official document released by the United States states that 2,000 sets of ashes have been buried in the ashes containment area, but more than 60% of Iwo Jima's dead still rest on the island to this day.

Learn the history of Japan from its scars, that we do not repeat the tragedies of war.

【Tripadvisor】Iwo Jima

Written By
Last Updated : Sep. 15, 2020
児玉 勇(Yu Kodama)
A writer who loves Japan and yakitori

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75 Years Later Iwo Jima Still Has Many Scars Left Over From the War. The Fierce Battlefield in Tokyo Tells of Its Tragic Situation Since the War
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