Japan’s World War II on Kiska Island: Previously Undocumented Features on the Vega Bay Coastline

Caroline Funk, Debra Corbett, Hans Harmsen and Steve Goranson


The Japanese occupation of Kiska Island in the Western Aleutians was far more comprehensive than previously reported or archaeologically documented. Remarkably wellpreserved World War II Japanese military tunnels, entrenchments, structural remains, and communications networks are located throughout the southern coastal bays and coves of the island. These features were constructed in 1942–1943 by Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy troops stationed on Kiska during the Aleutian Operation. The features and their associated material assemblages provide an opportunity to expand interpretations of the human landscape of war in the western Aleutians through first-phase archaeological descriptions enriched by information from historical documents.