September 14, 2008

Banzai Cliff

Impressed by the location on my last dive and lack of establishment to spend weekend, we decided to have a picnic in Objan. We prepared “Ginataang Tulingan”, condiments and cola while my neighbor volunteered to cook “Pansit”.

When we are about to enter the secondary road going to the beach and for unexplained reason the road was blocked, having no choice we’ve made a u-turn and ended up to the northern part of Saipan.

Most of the scenic spots can be found here in the north as I have posted here and here. We’ve made a short stop at Banzai Cliff and did our some photoshoots (as always). History has been told that civilian population of Saipan committed mass suicide by jumping off cliffs at at least two different locations on the north end of the island, Suicide Cliff, and Banzai Cliff.

I saw three men walking to the grassy path down the hill, I followed them and discovered the rugged beauty of the cliff for the first time.

We left Banzai Cliff and proceed to the Last Command Post to have our lunch under the shades of a Flame Tree.


Noriko said...

I would like to visit Banzai Cliff when I travel in Saipan someday. Is it far from main sightseeing spots? The beautiful photos make me think .....

mandaragat said...

Hi Noriko-san! Banzai Cliff is just 15 to 20 minutes drive from the main district of Garapan.

Regards to all...

Senor Enrique said...

Gorgeous scenery!

I wonder what made them commit suicide, though.

mandaragat said...

Hafa Adai Senor Enrique!

"On the onset of WWII, Japanese, including 12,000 civilians, along with 3500 US soldiers, died in a three-week battle for the island of Saipan, which was an air base.

By July 7,1944 the Japanese had nowhere to retreat. Saito made plans for a final suicidal banzai charge. On the fate of the remaining civilians on the island, Saito said, "There is no longer any distinction between civilians and troops. It would be better for them to join in the attack with bamboo spears than be captured." At dawn, with a group of a dozen men carrying a great red flag in the lead, the remaining able-bodied troops — about 3,000 men — charged forward in the final attack. Amazingly, behind them came the wounded, with bandaged heads, crutches, and barely armed. The Japanese surged over two battalions of American troops, killing or wounding 650 of them. But by 16:15 on July 9, Admiral Turner announced that Saipan was officially secured. Saito, along with commanders Hirakushi and Igeta, committed suicide in a cave. Also committing suicide at the end of the battle was Vice-Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, the naval commander who led the Japanese carriers at Pearl Harbor and Midway, who had landed on Saipan to help lead the ground defense."

"An unknown number of Japanese threw themselves off Banzai Cliff, so named because they shouted "Tenno heika, Banzai" (Long live the Emperor!) when they jumped. Death, they had been told, was better than surrender."

Efforts by U.S. troops to persuade them to surrender instead were mostly futile. Widespread propaganda in Japan portraying Americans and British as "devils" who would treat POWs barbarically, deterred surrender (see Allied war crimes during World War II, The Pacific, American Mutilation of Japanese War Dead and Japanese Military Propaganda (WWII).

"In the end, about 22,000 Japanese civilians died. Almost the entire garrison of troops on the island — at least 30,000 — died. For the Americans, the victory was the most costly to date in the Pacific War. 2,949 Americans were killed and 10,364 wounded, out of 71,000 who landed."(various sources)

Gyokusai, literally "shattered jewel" is a Japanese euphemism for suicide attack, or suicide (seppuku) in the face of defeat. It is based on a quote of the 7th century Classical Chinese text Book of Northern Qi,"a great man should die as a shattered jewel rather than live as an intact tile".

Now sa dami ng awards na nahakot mo, saan ka magtreat Senor?

Rogerio said...

Thanks a lot for your text.
I was searching on the web about the death of civilians at Sanpai Cliff. I knew about watching a documentary about World War II where is mentioned the high number of lives lost during WWII. Some sources say that about 8000 civilians jump to death.
The subject was erased on Wikipedia for someone.
Anyway, Tkx

Rogerio Schneider