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Establishment of the Aonogahara Prisoner of War Camp

記事ID:0001823 更新日:2020年11月30日更新 印刷ページ表示 大きな文字で印刷ページ表示 <外部リンク>

As the war became longer, the Japanese government started constructing full-scale internment camps in 1915 to improve the treatment of prisoners. Prisoner of war camps were consolidated across the country and were concentrated in Narashino, Aonogahara, Kurume, Nagoya, Ninoshima and Bando by 1917. When transferring prisoners, their rank and nationality were also taken into consideration. It was decided that a new camp would be built for the Himeji Prisoner of War Camp, which had been using three temples for internment. The Aonogahara Tablelands, where the Army’s exercise areas were located, was chosen for the site.

The construction of the Aonogahara Prisoner of War Camp was decided in May 1915 and construction started in June. Kihachi Iokibe, a resident of Himeji, submitted a successful bid of 41,000 yen for the construction project. The contract was concluded on June 21 and the internment camp was built on the southern side of the Takaoka Barracks on the northern edge of the Aonogahara Military Exercise Area.

image: A sign on the Aonogahara Prisoner of War Camp’s ridgepole
Photo: A sign on the Aonogahara Prisoner of War Camp’s ridgepole (courtesy of the Kasai City Board of Education)

 

image: A panoramic view of the Aonogahara Prisoner of War Camp drawn by W. Tegge
Image: A panoramic view of the Aonogahara Prisoner of War Camp drawn by W. Tegge (courtesy of Dirk van der Raan)

 

The name Kihachi Iokibe, the contractor of the construction project, as well as the names of the designer and the factory chief for the new camp construction work can be seen on the ridgepole sign that was discovered during a field survey of the Aonogahara Prisoner of War Camp. According to the sign, the construction work started on June 25 and was completed on September 13.

Transferring prisoners

On September 20, prisoners from the Himeji Prisoner of War Camp travelled by special train from Himeji Station to Daimonguchi Station (the current Aonogahara Station of the JR Kakogawa Line) and then walked to the Aonogahara Prisoner of War Camp from there. A photo taken around the intersection at what is now Fukui-cho, Ono City, Hyogo shows the many onlookers surrounding the file of walking prisoners.

image: The prisoners walking to the Aonogahara Prisoner of War Camp
Photo: The prisoners walking to the Aonogahara Prisoner of War Camp (courtesy of an unnamed individual)

 

At the bottom of the photo is written, “German and Austrian prisoners of war walking to the Aonogahara Prisoner of War Camp on September 20, 1915 (Around Daimonguchi).”


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