Secret Japanese tunnel opens to public for first time in Kaohsiung

Secret Japanese-built tunnel within a tunnel at National Sun Yat-sen University in Kaohsiung now open to the public

Newly opened Japanese tunnel. (Image by NSYSU)

Newly opened Japanese tunnel. (Image by NSYSU)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- A secret Japanese-built tunnel was officially opened to the public for the first time at a ceremony commemorating the 30th anniversary of the National Sun Yat-sen University (NSYSU) in Kaohsiung's Sizihwan (西子灣) community on Saturday, announced the university.

In 1927, during the Japanese colonial era, excavation work began on the Sizihwan Tunnel by Sanjiro Umino, it was completed in 1928, and put into service in 1933. Bisecting Chaishan, it connects present-day NSYSU and Hamaxing (Hamasen) Community and is 260 meters long, six meters wide, and 3.6 meters high.

Under Japanese rule, the cluster of tunnels was called "Shoushan Cave," and during WWII it served as a bomb shelter during air raids by U.S. warplanes.

In 1945, the Japanese fled to the tunnel to evade a U.S. bombing raid on the No. 6 Fuel Plant.

(Image from NSYSU)

The tunnel complex is divided into three sections: front, middle, and rear. From 1990 to 1991, the middle section was renovated by the Kaohsiung City government. In 2008, work was carried out to demolish the entrance to the tunnel which was an eyesore and confused new students as being the entrance to NSYSU. This year, work renovating a secret section of the tunnel as well as a landscaping project in front of the tunnel was finished before the school's 30th anniversary.

Newly designed entrance. (Image from NSYSU)

The newly-opened, secret section of the tunnel was the highlight of the new renovation project. It is shaped like a "U," is about 100 meters long and can accommodate up to 2,150 people. During WWII, it was used by the Japanese military as an important combat command center that extends in all directions and leads to both the mountains and sea.

The secret section is spacious and comes with a ventilation system, water, electricity, bathroom, and living quarters.

(Image from NSYSU)

In order to celebrate the opening, the tunnel was decorated with strings of lights and images from light projectors.

Another part of the tunnel complex held offices of the Kaohsiung Port Authority, and has yet to be renovated and opened to the public.

(Image from NSYSU)

NSYSU president Cheng Ying-yao (鄭英耀) told Liberty Times that the renovations of the secret tunnels are part of the government's Hsing Pin Plan (興濱計畫), an effort to conserve and restore the city. Because the project is located next to the campus of NSYU, Cheng said the school has the responsibility to assist the government in providing academic resources, and has therefore mobilized its experts in the arts, the humanities, and science and technology to promote the tunnel's cultural value.

Old entrance to the tunnel. (NSYSU image)

New entrance to tunnel nearing completion. (NSYSU image)