Former Communications Center of the Japanese Imperial Navy at Gyōda Park in Funabashi, Chiba

by Justin Aukema
January 26, 2015

Just north of JR Funabashi Station, situated between the JR Musashino Line tracks and the Tōbu Noda Line tracks, and almost directly east of the the Nakayama horse-racing track, a narrow road wraps around an area 400 meters in diameter to form the shape of a perfect circle. The shape and size of the area - wider in the middle and just as long as the nearby race track - particularly sticks out from its surroundings when viewed from aerial maps such as in the image below. 

Today the bow-tie-shaped Gyōda Park occupies the center of the circle, while two elementary schools sit in its southern hemisphere, and a middle school along with a tax center lie in the northern regions. Yet the shape of the area, as well as the rather haphazard assortment of structures and facilities in the area it encloses, belies that it was originally built for a different purpose. 

In his 2011 book analysing wartime maps of the area, Imao Keisuke confirms that the area was indeed once a wireless transmission station used by the Japanese Navy, and officially called the Funabashi Naval Wireless Telegraph Station (Funabashi kaigun musen denshin jō). [1] Originally built in 1915, the station sent wireless communications to the Japanese fleet in the Pacific. Imao also notes that, in 1923, the station played an important part in Japanese history when it sent wireless transmissions detailing the damage and destruction of the Kanto area during the Great Kanto Earthquake around the world. This was a crucial function at this time, since Japan was not yet able to send radio transmissions then. Furthermore, the infamous message for Japanese forces to attack Pearl Harbour on December 8, 1945 (niitakayama nobore 1208) was also sent from the Funabashi transmission station. Although Imao indicates that markers bearing the inscription of the Japanese Imperial Navy can be found at the site, on a preliminary search that I conducted in January 2015, I was unable to confirm this.

Incidentally, Imao also describes that the circular shape of the area around the (former) communications station was initially to demarcated to ensure that no surrounding objects that may interfere with the wireless signals would be built there.

[Article updated and edited on Jan. 29, 2014]


[1] Imao, Keisuke. Chizu de yomu sensō no jidai: egakareta nihon, egakarenakatta nihon. Tokyo: Hakusuisha, 2011.

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