Daitoa Tunnel

This story happened when I was a university student.

At the time I was a bit of a brat and I often went to visit various ghost spots.

One day one of my friends told me, “Apparently there’s a ghost tunnel close to here.”

I immediately gathered up a bunch of friends and on the weekend we set out for the ghost tunnel.

I had no idea there was one so close-by.

The tunnel was about a 10 minute drive from town.

It was rather large and we couldn’t see the exit.

A soft wind and strange sound from deep in the tunnel blew towards us.

Above the tunnel there was some writing that I struggled to read. “Daitoa Tunnel, Constructed Showa 17th Year 3rd Month 5th Day.”

For some reason the bricks at the edge of the tunnel had collapsed.

There was an iron fence but whether someone had tried to kick it in or not, the middle was mostly crushed.

We decided to enter the tunnel through there.

I looked at my watch, it was 11.30pm.

I don’t know whether the tunnel was originally used for steam trains or not but the roof was stained black.

Only the bricks of the side walls were still in good condition, considering the place had been abandoned for quite some time.

At first I was a bit nervous but then we all relaxed and as we started to play around that’s when something strange happened.

Suddenly the light from my hand held torch went out.

I didn’t know whether it was broken or the batteries were dead or if I’d just handled it badly but I hit it a few times. It showed no signs of turning back on.

It was a little creepy. While everyone stood there petrified a strong wind suddenly blew from deep in the tunnel.

My friends scrambled to escape.

As for me, I stumbled over something as I tried to run and landed flat on my backside.

I tried as hard as I could to escape but it was like I was overcome with paralysis, I couldn’t move.

Then, from somewhere ahead, I could hear faint footsteps.

Oh thank god… the tunnel was still in use and one of the workers has come to check on something…

Or so I thought, and when I thought about it later the iron fence was there to keep people out so it was highly unlikely the tunnel was still in use.

While this was happening the footsteps slowly got louder and louder, and finally I saw the silhouette of a person.

Sure enough the ‘person’ that appeared wasn’t a worker.

There was a woman wearing an air-raid hood, a man missing half his face, and a half-mummified man with his eyeballs hanging out.

I tried to run but my backside hurt so much I couldn’t even get up.

I couldn’t do anything but crawl backwards.

Slowly they began to close the distance between us and just as they were right in front of me my finger touched something.

It was the thing I tripped over when trying to escape.

It was a skull within a steel helmet.

Normally you would think something like that would be terrifying but I didn’t know what to think anymore. I lost my composure.

I don’t know why but instinctively I felt like the skull belonged to the ‘people’ in front of me.

So then I suddenly said, “It’s this, right? You want this?”

I don’t know why those words came out but I thought it was the only thing that would help me.

The result was even bigger than I expected.

The terrifying faces of the ‘people’ started to change right before my very eyes.

They became actual ‘people.’

A man in his 20s wearing glasses, a man with a sash across his shoulder, a female university student with her hair in braids…

It was like they were alive.

Then I heard someone calling from behind me.

My friends had worked up the courage to come back into the tunnel to get me.

Surprised, I turned back around but they were already gone.

My friends had already alerted the police that I hadn’t come out of the tunnel.

The police and people from the town hall got involved and it became quite a big thing.

Well we’d trespassed in a restricted tunnel so of course it did.

Of course my parents were also quite angry about it.

Afterwards I heard more about ‘Daitoa Tunnel’ from them.

Daitoa Tunnel was completed in the year following the outbreak of the Pacific War.

In commemoration of the start of the war it was named after its official name, “Daito A Sensou” (The Greater East Asian War).

The reason it became a ghost spot was because there was an incident there during the war.

A 10 car train, five of which were carrying soldiers going to war was attacked by an American military aircraft.

The train was attacked just outside the Daitoa Tunnel and derailed inside.

In addition to machine gun fire four rockets were fired, three of which hit the train. It went up in flames and overturned inside the tunnel walls.

The one rocket that missed hit near the entrance of the tunnel.

The fallen down bricks near the entrance of the tunnel were because of that rocket.

In the end many people burned to death and those who survived were trapped inside the airtight space of the tunnel only to die from smoke inhalation. Of the 500 staff and passengers on the train only 54 people survived.

The time was 11.30pm, August 14th in the 20th year of Showa.
The same time we went in.

It was a horrible tragedy but because it happened during the crisis of the war over time people started to forget about it.

I believed those people came out because they wanted more people to know about what happened there.

Daitoa Tunnel is dangerous for children playing in the area so discussions about knocking it down have popped up several times.

However each time it does more and more troubles start appearing and so work is suspended.

After the incident a large memorial monument was put in place and the remains of the deceased were also gathered for proper burial and handling.

After this another attempt was made to try and demolish the tunnel once more. No more ghostly apparitions were seen.

The demolition went smoothly and the tunnel was destroyed. Now only the memorial monument remains.

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