Let me first start off by saying that I do not live in what is a “traditional” japanese style house. To be honest I am not even sure that there are any more traditional japanese style houses in the southern part of Okinawa. Yes some of them have been preserved and rebuild but they are not the majority of what you will see here. Of course this is not something that you would have to search the history books for because the houses are clearly different from what you see in the parts of Okinawa that were not so much affected by WWII. I also live very close to the base fence line like many other people in Ginowan and yesterday I noticed something interesting. When walking up the road to get back to my house I found that one of the tombs along the left side of the road had been cleaned up. The wall is usually covered in growth but someone usually comes by and takes care of it. Yesterday, however, it had been cleared out all the way down to the stone wall itself and I noticed that it said painted in stencil yellow it said “SLOW DOWN 5 MPH”. This was very interesting to me because first of all there was no Japanese that was painted on and the us of MPH rather than KPH.
Now for those of you who may be reading this looking for historical value I am going to be very up front. At this time I honestly do not know the factual information about the location where I live as far as what it was before the past 10 years. Okinawa is a very difficult place to follow especially when it comes to some of the places like MCAS Futenma. Many of the articles that I can find about the location are focused on certain topics and it in the past 24 hours has not produced information regarding the actual layout of what the base used to be in the past. What I do know is this, MCAS Futenma during WWII was build as a “temporary” air station. The land was leveled to allow for American air planes to land and assist in the war efforts. At some point I do know that the American Military opened some land back up for the people of Okinawa to live back in again. This is basically the extent of what I know. Well that and the fact that MCAS Futenma is still here. (**For those of you who are reading this who are aware that there are a lot of other facts regarding what was and may never be recovered from MCAS Futenma’s “settling” in Ginowan please know that I do know that information and have not chosen to go into that type of detail for this particular article. In the future I may take the time to put together an article with that information, however, I would like to devote to it the proper time and research to ensure that all of my facts are right rather than just pulling it together carelessly. Thank you for your understanding**)
So, we’re walking past this sign and I say to my husband “I bet we live in base housing” to which he stops in his tracks and said, “wow I bet we do”. There are a few clues to this which become clear when you take a look around. First off there is the structure of the base housing. Even if you are not a military member you would be familiar with this structure because of the houses near the fence line. These houses are usually one story, concrete and have a roof which is I can only describe as what you would see on a house of cards. Flat across with an overhang around the sides. This is the same style of house that you can find in certain areas around the bases in the MCAS Futenma area. Although some of them have been changed understandably since the 1970’s when I imagine most of these were built you can still see the distinct similarities. These houses are small, maybe two or three rooms but enough that a small family can live there or maybe a small group of Military personnel.
The road that I live on is also quite curious. As many of you who may have seen my videos before know that it is small and leads to nowhere really, except for houses and to be completely honest it is not large enough for more than one car to go down at a time with few places which allow for a turn off. There is, however a road that is on the base beyond the fence line which runs parallel with the road that I live on. I imagine that at one time the fence line went further down maybe all the way down to 58 at which point it would have perfectly met where the MCAS Futenma sign sits today. Maybe this small neighborhood (and many others) were part of that on base land and then were given back and the fence line moved back? I truthfully have no idea. If this was the case I find it quite sad. The reason being is that there are tombs throughout this entire neighborhood which means that if this were to be part of the base at one point families would have been unable to visit the tombs of their loved ones which is a rather big deal here in Ginowan. Now I do understand that this was and is still very much the case elsewhere on the base right now but still the thought of this land being off limits does still strike a cord with me. Now, it could have also been the case that this was base housing which was constructed outside the base. This was something that I understand was also done during certain time periods. Even now this same type of thing happens where housing is built targeting the American Military members. The potential difference is that now you can rent the houses where as there may have been housing that military members used without paying at some time in the past.
Regardless what turns out to be the actual factual information (which I will hopefully find some times in the future) this is an interesting thing to ponder around.