- Name: Banzai Cliff
- Where: Saipan, USA
- Cost: Free
- More Information: Wikipedia.org
After visiting the Korean Peace Memorial, the Okinawa Peace Memorial, the Monument to the War Dead in the Mid-Pacific and the Last Command Post located on Northern Saipan I next made the short drive over to Banzai Cliff. This cliff also known as Marpi Point was the location where hundreds of the Japanese and Korean civilians and soldiers on Saipan jumped to their deaths rather than be captured by the US military after the World War II Battle of Saipan in 1944.
When I drove over to Banzai Cliff I found no parking because the place was packed. This caused me to park a little ways down the road and walk in. What amazed me as I walked in was that I could see someone having a wedding at Banzai Cliff:
Maybe it is just me, but it seemed like a strange place to have a wedding where hundreds of people jumped to their deaths. As I walked down the road I could see the various memorials constructed along the cliff over the years to the people who died here:
Most of the memorials were in Japanese, but their were a few with English subtitles as well:
There was even a large Buddhist statue constructed on the cliff as well:
Here is the final peace memorial before I followed a sidewalk down to the cliff:
Before walking down to the cliff I read this marker which had a number of quotes from US and Japanese survivors from the battle that explained how the people who committed suicide were told that the US military would rape and torture them:
At the cliff line I could see how deadly this place would be with the long drop and smashing waves below:
There was actually some people who survived the drop and were rescued by US boats. However, the boats had to stop their rescues because their engines kept getting caught on floating bodies which put them at risk of getting smashed into the cliffs. Here is a panorama picture of the view from the cliff line:
I next walked back to my car, but not before walking down a dirt road I noticed along the way. The road brought me to a really nice viewpoint looking back at the memorials in the distance as well as providing a view of a large cave below the cliff:
Here is a wider angle view of Banzai Cliff and the large cave:
Banzai Cliff is one of the must see attractions on Saipan though having a wedding here seems a bit tacky to me. In fact the general mood of the mostly Japanese tourists at Banzai Cliff was very upbeat with people smiling, posing for pictures and generally having a good time. This surprised me because I would think people would be more solemn at a place like this, especially one where so many Japanese died. Regardless definitely check this place out to take in the beautiful coastal views and further reflect on one of the many tragedies of World War II.