Lat 24° 20' 15N Long 123° 43' 43E Funauki 船浮 is located on the western coast of Iriomote Jima in the Yaeyama Islands in the Sakashima Islands in the Okinawa Prefecture in Japan. Also known as Funauke, Funaki, Hunauke. The American wartime spelling was "Funauke". Borders Funauke Bay (Funauke-ko) to the east. To the northeast is Shirahama and further beyond is Sonai.
During the Pacific War, Funauki was used as a anchorage area. During 1945, Japanese had at least two anti-aircraft guns at this location and an ammunition depot. At this location was a small Japanese Navy base and Funauki and Ryukyu Pearl Company.
During late 1944 until the middle of 1945, Funauki was patrolled by U. S. Navy (USN) submarines and attacked by Allied aircraft.
On December 24, 1944 USS Tinosa SS-283 broached roughly four miles west of Funauke-ko (Funauke Bay) and observed the anchorage then to Funauki Kita Wan but saw no ships. On December 28, 1944 at 1:55pm sighted a small sampan on an easterly course and saw no activity in Funauke Ko.
On May 17, 1945 Royal Navy (RN) Fleet Air Arm (FAA) carrier aircraft from HMS Indomitable (92) including ten Avengers escorted by four Hellcats
strafed a lugger to the south of Funauke which only smoked for about a minute, and made a strafing run on huts at Funauke.
On June 8, 1945 attacked by Corsairs from VMF-512. While strafing barges, FG-1D Corsair 87913 went into a
violent spin and dove into the sea.
On July 21, 1945 attacked by F4U Corsairs from VMF-223 that fired rockets and strafed
Funauke Harbor claiming two ships damaged by near misses and strafed three houses on an island plus Funauke Town.
FG-1D Corsair Bureau Number 87913
Pilot White crashed June 8, 1945 into the sea off Funauki
NARA "USS Tinosa SS283 War Diary - 4 December 1944 to 30 January 1945" page 7
(Page 7) "0601(H) Submerged west of Iriomote Jima... 1355(H)... Sighted one small sampan on easterly course. No activity observed in Funauke Ko."
NARA "Commander Naval Forces Navy 3256 War Diary May 1945" pages 41, 47
(Page 41) "Annex B - Typhoon Plan For Okinawa Gunto" (Page 47) "Funauke Ko, Iriomote has a land-locked harbor large enough for a cruiser and 5 or 6 destroyers, plus probable beaching and anchorage facilities for a number of small craft."
NARA "British Pacific Fleet - Rep of Opers against the Ryukyu Islands and Formosa, 3/26/45 to 4/20/45 and 5/4-25/45" page 272, 277
(Page 272) 17 May
1945 10 Av. [Avengers] 4 He [Hellcats]. Funauki and Sonai villages (Iriomote) strafed, with no observed damage."
(Page 277) "17th May 1945 Strike Baker... We then straffed a lugger to the south of Funauke which only smoked for about a minute, and made a straffing run on the huts at Funauke, about 12 boats at the mining center at Shira hama and the village at Sonai were there is thought to be a chemical factory."
NARA "War Diary Marine Air Group Fourteen 1 July 1945 to 31 July 1945" page 8
"Weather conditions again limited activities until 21 July when 24 Corsairs [VMF-212 and VMF-223] unloosed 180 rockets and more than 22,000 rounds of ammo at targets of opportunity on Iriomote Shima. Objectives included... a 75 to 100 foot lugger in Funauke Ko and a larger ship, possibly a Sugar Baker in Funauke Kita Wan, and building in Funsuke town."
NARA "Marine Fighting Squadron 223 War Diary July 1945" page 14
"21 July 1945 - Armed with 8 rockets each, the planes attacked targets of opportunity at Iriomote (in the harbor of Funauke and on the surrounding land). Two ships were damaged by near misses, and three houses on the island of Uchi Hanare in Funauke Harbor were destroyed. Other targets which were attacked by rockets and strafed were the towns of Funauke, Heyemi, the island of Shimiaji and the Miyaro Airfield on Ishigaki. Lt McAllister's plane was holed by medium anti-aircraft fire and the fairing on the belly tank of Lt Engelhartd's plane was slashed. Neither plane was damaged seriously, and both returned to base. Repairs are being made by the Squadron Engineering section. For details of this action see ACA #155."
NARA "Marine Fighting Squadron 223 - Aircraft Action Report July 21, 1945 (ACA #155)" page 1-5
History of Taketomi (1986) pages 766-767 translation by Minoru Kamada
"Inoue, Fumikichi writes that the air raid [circa 1945] finished at five o'clock. After I returned home in Funauki rice fruited unexpectedly. But flood wiped the crops off. My father took care of bull (or cow) at that time the military found the animal and they came butchering it but we asked them not to kill it. Soldiers understand it and they ordered us to grow vegetables instead. I was happy to grow vegetables. Funauki was very miserable when I returned, walls on the houses were blown off and everything in the houses were missing.
Another [plane] was downed [this aircraft]. Place was off of naval base. It was downed by anti-aircraft machine guns. After, a leg of the aviator was washed up on the shore. We buried him with American soldiers after the war. After the war, American soldiers came to the island for cutting lumbers. Skipper was 2nd Lt or Lt(jg) Matius (spell ?). Islanders later knew his brother was the aviator who had downed off Iriomote.
IKEDA, Toyokichi writes, the plane was splashed near of the office for Ryuku Pearl Company. Place of the Company is north of Funauki. The body was buried at a beach called Kui no hama. Place of the beach is not known yet either. Aviator's brother visited the island to receive his bone.
Thanks to Yukari Akatsuka and Minoru Kamada for additional information
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
May 30, 2019