Query: Why the "Big Apple" Peak on Okinawa?

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Sun Jul 20 17:53:34 UTC 2008

An unusual attestation of "The Big Apple" is the nickname given by WWII US soldiers to the Yaeju-Dake-Peak on Okinawa. The 1948 book by Appleman et al. says about the name: 'Because of its shape the tooops who fought up its slopes named it the "Big Apple."'

But is it really shaped like a big apple?  I checked Google for a map, and the only one I can find is a map of two peaks (Oroku and Yaeju-Dake), and I can't tell which peak is which.  In any case, as far as I can tell, nothing on the map resembles a big apple.  The link is:


Would anyone perhaps see something in this subject that I'm missing?

Perhaps the reference was not to the shape but to the "Big Apple" as "the big time,"  i.e., "the big time" in the fighting on Okinawa.  But this is only a guess.

    Below my signoff is the Appleman et al. bibliographic entry and two relevant quotes.

Gerald Cohen

Appleman, Roy E., James M. Burns, Russell A. Gugeler, John Stevens 1948.
         Okinawa: The Last Battle. Washington, D.C.: Historical Division,
Department of the Army. ---
         pp. 455-456: 'A few coral bulges were large and prominent enough to
afford the Japanese strong positions.  The largest of these were the Big
Apple and Yuza-Dake Peaks at the north end of the 96th Division's
         p. 434: 'The highest point of this 4-mile-long cliff was the
Yaeju-Dake-Peak, which rose 290 feet above the adjoining valley floor.
Because of  its shape the troops who fought up its slopes named it
the "Big Apple."'

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list