Friday, September 2, 2011

Twin Jizo's at the Elephant's Nose

If you ever happen to be on Okinawa, it's almost compulsory that you have to visit a place called Manza-mo. The place gets its name from a visiting dignitary, allegedly the King, who saw it and said to himself, (Engrish Translation) Holy Carp, you could sit 10,000 men in this field. Hence the name Man 10,000 Za or sit and Mo for field. If that doesn't register on your Japanese translation widget, it may be because of the local "Hogen" dialect.

The place is best known for a unique rock formation called the "Zoe no Hanna" which is Japanese for the elephant's nose. Many terrorists, err make that tourists visiting Okinawa will come here (by the bus load) to walk across the field and snap a quick photo of this famous rock formation, buy a quick overpriced trinket from the local vendors and rush off to see the twenty or so other sites on their busy travel schedule.

For the life of me, I often wonder why the Japanese go on vacation in the first place. They always seem to be in such a hurry to get everywhere and see everything that they must be exausted by the time they finish their trips.

Anyway, another lesser known fact about Manza mo is that this was one of the many places where mass suicides took place during the battle of Okinawa, often referred to by the locals as the "Typhoon of Steel!" The cliffs here are around 60 meters above the water and the jagged coral and rock formations below. The locals, brainwashed by the military authorities were told that they would be beaten, raped and after much humiliation, eventually killed by the evil American invaders. So they were told by the authorities that it was better to commit suicide than suffer such a fate. Unfortunately many did just that. And people who read my posts wonder why I don't trust the government!

Anyway, by now you're wondering what the two Jizo statues have to do with this. Well, like I said, if you ever happen to visit and go to Manza mo, get off the regular nicely paved path and go southward past the Zoe no Hanna rock formation and you'll find these two little guys in a small clearing of the brush looking out over the ocean.

Be advised, there is a large hole in the ground just to the right of these two little fellas. It's an opening in the top of the cliff and you can see down to the ocean and the rocks some 60 or so meters immediately below. A bit disturbing if you happen to be a man of girth like myself. Not to worry, its been jammed up with rocks so no one could fall through to their deaths but you could give yourself a big hurt if you fell there.

Some folks might speculate that the Jizo's, who in Japanese lore are protectors of traveler's, are there to warn you about the hole. I like to think that they are there for all the lost souls who were lied to by their leaders and died needlessly during a tragedy known as The Typhoon of Steel..

This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday for September 1st, 2011. If you like to see other great travel photos from places around the globe, click on the link and check it out.

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3 comments:

  1. LOL Glad ya warned me about that spot a skinny guy could slip thru !

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  2. Very interesting history! I like what you said about why the Jizo statures are there.

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