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Places in Saipan: The Old Japanese Hospital

Basic Information

  • Name: Nan’yocho Hospital
  • Where: Garapan, Saipan
  • Cost: Free
  • More Information: Wikipedia

Picture of the Old Japanese Hospital on Saipan

Narrative

I like checking out historical sites and the next one I found myself at on Saipan was at the Old Japanese Hospital who’s official name was the Nan’yocho Hospital of Saipan:

Picture of the Old Japanese Hospital on Saipan

The hospital is located across the street from Sugar King Park in the village of Garapan:

The hospital was built in 1925 during the Imperial Japanese colonial period of Saipan’s history.  This time period was the golden years of the Japanese colonization of Saipan as the sugar industry boomed.  The hospital was a sign of this prosperity as it was one of the most modern buildings on the island:

Picture of the Old Japanese Hospital on Saipan

The main building was built in the shape of an L and had a large dome shaped entrance.  Here is a closer look at the L shaped hospital:

Picture of the Old Japanese Hospital on Saipan

A building adjacent to the hospital was where the pharmacy was located at:

Picture of the Old Japanese Hospital on Saipan

Picture of the Old Japanese Hospital on Saipan

The third building at the site was built underground with two spiral staircases:

Picture of the Old Japanese Hospital on Saipan

The simple answer would be to claim that this was a bunker, but if it was in fact a bunker it meant the Japanese were anticipating the possibility of a war all the way back in 1925.  I tend to think that this may have been an area where certain drugs were kept cool instead of in the adjacent pharmacy building.  Regardless when World War II did happen it would have made for a great bunker:

Picture of the Old Japanese Hospital on Saipan

Conclusion

Probably the most amazing thing about this museum is not its Imperial Japanese past, but the fact it survived World War II.  When so much of the island was leveled this hospital was relatively untouched in comparison.  It makes me wonder if the US military intentionally did not target the structure knowing that it was a hospital?  The hospital survived the war in such good shape that today it is used to house the Northern Mariana Islands Museum of History and Culture.  I tried to visit the museum a couple of time during my trip to Saipan and it was closed each time.  Whenever I am Saipan again I will have to stop and see it.

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