- 火災（後出 blaze は炎、火災、写真説明の flame は炎）
- break out
- World Heritage
- 世界遺産（heritage は遺産）
- burn down
- Fire and ... Agency
- (main) hall
- date back
- G-8 summit
- press on
A fire broke out at Shurijo Castle in the Okinawa Prefecture city of Naha in the predawn hours of Oct. 31, and raged through the UNESCO World Heritage site, burning down its main wooden buildings.
According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, the fire started in the castle's "Seiden" main hall. This structure and the complex's northern and southern halls, known as "Hokuden" and "Nanden," were destroyed in the blaze. Nearby residents were evacuated and no injuries were reported. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.
The blaze occurred during the period of the Shurijo Castle Festival that had begun on Oct. 27, re-enacting the grandeur of the Ryukyu Kingdom era. The castle complex, which dates back centuries, is a symbol of Okinawa's cultural heritage from the time of the Ryukyu Kingdom that lasted about 450 years, from 1429 until 1879, when the island was annexed by Japan.
Shurijo Castle had previously burned down in 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa near the end of World War II. During the war about 200,000 lives were lost on Okinawa, many of them civilians. The castle was mostly restored in 1992 and opened as a national park. It was included in a UNESCO World Heritage listing in 2000. The same year, the G-8 summit was staged in Kyushu and Okinawa, and a dinner was held at the castle.
A local woman tearfully described her shock following the blaze. "I can't stop shaking," she said. "Shurijo stood as a symbol for Okinawans who endured the war and various other experiences. We had all kept pressing on as we saw Shurijo Castle being restored." (Compiled from AP and Mainichi reports)
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