Mon, Nov 13, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Secret Japanese tunnel in Kaohsiung opened to the public for the first time

By Hung Ting-hung and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Visitors attend an exhibition in the Sizihwan Tunnel in Kaohsiung on Saturday.

Photo: Hung Ting-hung, Taipei Times

A Japanese colonial-era secret tunnel near National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung’s Sizihwan (西子灣) on Saturday was opened to the public for the first time in nearly 100 years.

The Shoushan Tunnel was first excavated by Sanjiro Umino in 1927 and completed in 1928, the school said.

The tunnel, which served as a command center for Japanese forces, is spacious and properly ventilated, and has its own water, electricity, shower and housing facilities.

The geographically advantageous base could hold 2,150 people and provided access to mountainous areas as well as the sea, and it was used for air defense, the school said.

In 1945, the Japanese fled the US Air Force’s bombing of the No. 6 Fuel Factory by hiding inside the tunnel, the university said, adding that the Port of Kaohsiung also used to have offices there.

“The secret tunnel is managed by the Kaohsiung City Government and is part of the “Hsing Pin Plan” — a heritage conservation and restoration effort by the city,” university president Cheng Ying-yao (鄭英耀) said.

Cheng said the university has a responsibility to assist the city government by providing its academic resources.

The university jumped at the opportunity to mobilize its experts in the humanities, arts and technology to showcase the tunnel’s cultural value, he added.

As part of these efforts, the school on Saturday held a special exhibition on the history of the university’s campus inside the tunnel.

The Kaohsiung Urban Development Bureau is to host a “Sizihwan School” event on Saturday and Sunday, the school added.

The bureau said it hopes that through decorative arts, the event would present a collective memory of schooling — from preschool to college — that would inspire visitors to reflect on their lives as they walk through the tunnel.

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