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[2022-03-04] Yilan City and Yangshan Foundation Adopted the World War II Aircraft Shelters

The Yilan Office adopted an aircraft shelter located in Nanqiao Village. Cong-Yuan Jiang, the mayor of Yilan, expects the aircraft shelter to be a great history teaching material. (Photo by Chung-Yi Lee)


The Chengnan Campus of Yilan University, located in the Nanqiao Village of Yilan City, has 6 aircraft shelters that were built during World War II. These shelters were used as bunkers for the Kamikaze during the period under Japanese rule. On March 3rd, witnessed by NIU and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the Yilan City Office and Yangshan Cultural and Educational Foundation respectively adopted an aircraft shelter, to revitalize historical buildings through the power of the public sector and the private sector.


The Yilan City Office indicates that there are 6 aircraft shelters in the Nanqiao Village, and the original owner is Yilan Branch Office of Northern Region Branch, National Property Administration. The shelters are constructed of 30cm reinforced concrete, with their top covered with soil and plantation to protect the military aircraft. These shelters were registered as historical buildings in 2012.


According to Wen-Yi Chang, a Yilan historian, there used to be South Airport, North Airport, and West Airport in Yilan, with South Airport as the main airport. During World War II, the Japanese were worried about the U.S. Army landing in Taiwan, so they drafted thousands of civilian workers from northern Taiwan to completed the South Airport in less than 10 months. In order to protect the planes, the Japanese built aircraft shelters as bunkers, and even used Taiwan as a base to set up trenches, fortresses and other facilities in various places.


The main structure of the 6 aircraft shelters in the Nanqiao Village remains complete, yet the outside of them is covered with weeds, and the interior with water puddles on the ground. Xin-Yi Chen, secretary-general of the Yangshan Cultural and Educational Foundation, said that Yangshan has collected citizens' opinions on the preservation of the aircraft shelters, and citizen participation would be taken during the revitalization.


Cong-Yuan Jiang, the mayor of Yilan, said that Yilan City possesses many aircraft shelters which can be a great local teaching materials of history. On the premise of maintaining and preserving the cultural value and the original features, these shelters will further serve as places for displaying, discussing the military facilities and sharing stories of World War II in Yilan.


Gu-Xie Chen, the chief secretary of Yilan University, said that there are 6 aircraft shelters in the Chengnan Campus of Yilan University. The aircraft shelters that were built in World War II have high historical value and significance, and he is looking forward that an overall planning and restoring would come over for these shelters.


Jian-Ming Zeng, director of the Yilan Branch Office of Northern Region Branch, National Property Administration, said he hopes that people can understand the historical evolution through the preservation of cultural resources, and that by maintenance and management, the existing monuments and historical buildings can be revived and connected to the present.


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