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

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Sun Jul 20 18:47:50 UTC 2008

I wouldn't dismiss the topographic explanation until you've examined the
topographic maps actually used by the troops. It may be that the contour
lines are in the shape of an apple.

Looking at the terrain map of Okinawa on maps.google.com, I can see a
resemblance to an apple, a somewhat oblique view of the fruit from above
(actually, it looks more like a peach to me). There is a round plateau with
a significant depression that forms what could be considered the root of the
stem of the apple. A real geologic survey map might be definitive.

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of
Cohen, Gerald Leonard
Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2008 10:54 AM
Subject: Query: Why the "Big Apple" Peak on Okinawa?

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."'

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