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map of Site of the British Airplane Landing in 1946

Site of the British Airplane Landing in 1946

How to get

You CANNOT get to this place by walk. It is too far from Aikawa. Take a #9 bus (Kaifu-sen) at Aikawa. Get off the bus at Nyugawa Minami bus stop. The stone monument is just by the road. The number of bus operation is very limited, so you need to plan ahead well.

Photo.18.1 Stone Monument of the British Airplane Landing

A British airplane flew to Japan on January 14, 1946. It was from Shanghai with 11 people onboard. The airplane was one of Douglas DC-3s that were called Dakota in Britain. The name of the Dakota was "Sister Ann". Those people were to meet General MacArthur in Tokyo. So the plane 'Sister Ann' was heading to Tachikawa Air field. On the way they flew over two cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. People onboard were interested in viewing how the cities were destroyed by atomic bombs.

Probably1) it was after the sightseeing flights on the two cities, the airplane was disturbed by thick clouds, and worse, the radio had got a problem. When people on board could see the land, it was the northern most part of Honshu Island, Aomori. Having turned back to south, the plane had almost run out of fuel. An emergency landing was needed. The plane did it on the beach of Takachi on Sado Island. People on board were of the country that won the World War II, while village people were of the country that lost the war. But village people kindly helped the crews and passengers. Not only treated unexpected guests well, village people constructed a hand-made runway on the beach so that the plane Dakota could take off. 40 days later, the plane really took off and reached Tachikawa Air field 2).

A movie was made for this episode and went onto the screen in 2013. Shooting took 2 years in Sado. The official site of the movie says 43,717 people came to the show and the movie earned 50,054,999 JPY3) . As of September 2018, DVD is available on, but not on Amazon USA.

Photo.18.2 Sea shore near the Landing Site

The landing happened after five months from Japan's surrender to World War II. Just let us look at the date of surrender of Japan. For the Japanese people the date is August 15th 1945, although people in the United Nations think it as September 2nd . August 15 was the day the Emperor Hirohito made the radio address about Japan's surrender at noon. It was completely decisive for Japanese psyche. On the other, September 2nd was the day when the official surrender was signed on the U.S. Battle ship Missouri.

After the surrender, occupation by United Nations started. Actually U.S. forces were big majority of occupying forces. General Headquarter (G.H.Q.) had the office in Daiichi Building in Tokyo, and U.S. forces built many military bases all over Japan. In Sado, one of those bases was built at Kasugasaki of Aikawa in October 1948 as a radar site. About 50 American service men stationed in the site in order to search an invasion from north. In 1954, new radar was built on Mountain Kimpoku and the compound was moved to Daira of Kanai-Cho4) .

In the years following the surrender, G.H.Q. carried out some reforms on Japanese society. G.H.Q was the organization of the United Nations but actually controlled by U.S. Army general Douglas MacArthur. One of those reforms was for Agriculture. It aimed at democratization of farmers’ land through demolition of tenant farming. This made it possible for farmers to have their own land. The percentage of tenant farming reduced from 29.3% to 7.8% in Sado. Reform on Fishery also brought a lapse of wealthy fishery tycoons. Education was also reformed. Not only in Sado but also all over Japan, so-called 6-3-3 education was introduced. It meant 6 years in elementary school, 3 years in junior high school, and 3years in high school. New education system caused openings of many junior high schools in towns of Sado island 5) .

When getting off the bus at Nyugawa Minami, you will see a small stone monument as shown in photo 18.1. That's it. You may be disappointed, but it is interesting to imagine that two different group of people on opposite ends of the world encountered all of a sudden on a cold winter day at the place like Photo.18.2 in 1946. Although it is not an episode of Sado, you can also read another impressive emergency landing episode on John Toland’s book. It is from page 860 to page 8616) . Obviously that Mitsubishi Betty bomber could not have flew again, but this "Sister Ann" of Dakota could take off and get to the destination. It is a rare emergency landing episode. Anyway the place is open wide space where you can enjoy the scenery of the sea. Near the stone monument, there is a small peninsula north. Nyuuzaki peninsula would be a nice camping site in summer.

Photo.18.3 Small Benten Shrine at Nyuzaki Peninsula