Is There A Massive Network Of Secret Tunnels Under Tokyo?
A classic Japan Times article from 2003 is currently on the frontpage of reddit.com: journalist Shun Akiba, who has written a book suggesting that there could be a secret city beneath Tokyo. Since it’s a pretty interesting story that we’ve never blogged about on Japan Probe, I thought I’d share it for those of you who missed it back when the Japan Times posted it:
Shun is on some kind of invisible blacklist. His book “Teito Tokyo Kakusareta Chikamono Himitsu” (“Imperial City Tokyo: Secret of a Hidden Underground Network”), published by Yosensha in late 2002, is already in its fifth edition. Yet Shun has found it impossible to get the media to take serious note, write reviews or offer interviews.
This is very strange because he has a great story — evidence of a network of tunnels and possibly an underground city beneath Tokyo that the public is totally unaware of. “Why am I ignored? Can I be on to something, and there is a conspiracy to silence me? I believe so.”
What changed his life was finding an old map in a secondhand bookstore. Comparing it to a contemporary map, he found significant variations. “Close to the Diet in Nagata-cho, current maps show two subways crossing. In the old map, they are parallel.”
The journalist in him taking over, he sought out construction records. When responses proved defensive and noncooperative — “lips zipped tight” — he set out to prove that the two subway tunnels could not cross: “Engineering cannot lie.”
This inconsistency is just the first of seven riddles that he investigates in his book. The second reveals a secret underground complex between Kokkai-gijidomae and the prime minister’s residence. A prewar map (riddle No. 3) shows the Diet in a huge empty space surrounded by paddy fields: “What was the military covering up?” New maps (No. 4) are full of inconsistencies: “People are still trying to hide things.”
The postwar General Headquarters (No. 5) was a most mysterious place. Eidan’s records of the construction of the Hibiya Line (No. 6) are hazy to say the least. As for the “new” O-Edo Line (No. 7), “that existed already.” Which begs the question, where did all the money go allocated for the tunneling?
The bulk of Shun’s book covers the development of the subway system and questions the many inconsistencies between maps of the past and present — even those that were contemporaneous. “Even allowing for errors, there are too many oddities.”
Shun claims to have uncovered a secret code that links a complex network of tunnels unknown to the general public. “Every city with a historic subterranean transport system has secrets,” he says. “In London, for example, some lines are near the surface and others very deep, for no obvious reason.”
Sitting on the Ginza subway from Suehirocho to Kanda, he says, you can see many mysterious tunnels leading off from the main track. “No such routes are shown on maps.” Traveling from Kasumigaseki to Kokkai-gijidomae, there is a line off to the left that is not shown on any map. Nor is it indicated in subway construction records.
At Tameike-sanno on the Ginza Line, the first basement level is closed off, for official use only. “Go to the toilet on B2 and there is a door to B1, but locked.”
Also he investigates three large buildings in Hibiya that share an enormous underground car park. “This space was there before the buildings were independently constructed. What was it for?”
As for the Diet Library, this runs to eight floors underground, all closed to the public. A magazine that asks repeatedly to look around is always denied access.
“Subway officials treat me as if I’m a drunk or a madman,” Shun notes with a wry smile. “Tokyo is said to have 12 subways and 250 km of tunneling. I’d say that last figure is closer to 2,000 km. It’s clear to me that the tunnels for the Namboku, Hanzomon and O-Edo lines existed before decisions were made to turn them into public subways.”
Is the Japanese government covering up the truth, or is this guy crazy?