捕虜追悼礼拝

伊吹由歌子

8月2日、第14回英連邦戦没捕虜追悼礼拝が、横浜市保土ヶ谷区の同墓地で行われた。

 
                            
 

雨宮剛青山学院大名誉教授、斎藤和明国際基督教大学名誉教授(英米文学)、永瀬隆元日本陸軍通訳(青学OB)の主催により、8月第一土曜日に毎年行われ、2000年にはレスター・テニー博士がスピーカーとして招聘されている。

今回も100人を超す日本人が集まり、夫人方や9歳のティム君を含む英連邦大使館関係者ら8名の来賓とともに、炎天のもと、日本で命を落とした約3500人の連合軍捕虜たちの苦難、彼らとその家族の悲しみを思い、痛みとともに平和への祈りを捧げた。

斎藤氏が直前の6月21日、急性胃がんで逝去された。アーネスト・ゴードン著「死の谷をすぎて--クワイ河収容所 (ちくま学芸文庫)翻訳を機につねに積極的活動され、この会の趣意書作成に最期まで力を尽くし完成された。永瀬氏は6月に恒例のタイ訪問をされたが、急な熱中症により7月31日出席を断念し雨宮氏に電話でメッセージを託された。

   斎藤和明教授と雨宮剛教授 (2000年)
        元米捕虜レスター・テニ ー博士、べティ夫人と
 

事態にショックを受けつつも、司式の奥津隆雄牧師、各国セクションでの代表献花に参加した斉藤氏の息女、高校生たちなど、創設者3人の意思を受け継ぎ、集いを引き継ぐ新鮮な意欲が強く感じられる会であった。雨宮氏も昨年、脳梗塞に倒れた。しかし、暖かい熱い言葉で人権と平和へのメッセージを呼びかけ、今年カナダへの受け入れが決まったサデック氏(イラン難民)も来賓として参列された。配布資料中で、ジム・ネルソン氏花輪訪問記事と駒井修氏のNHKインタビュー記事が掲載された。

以下は、Japan Times に掲載された記事。
 

Respects paid to Allied soldiers in Yokohama who died in Japan

By KAZUAKI NAGATA
Staff writer

YOKOHAMA More than 100 people gathered in Yokohama Commonwealth War Cemetery on Saturday to remember the importance of peace as they paid respects to soldiers from the British Commonwealth and other Allied nations who died in
Japan.

 

With respect: People gather at Yokohama Commonwealth War Cemetery on Saturday for an annual memorial service for soldiers of the British Commonwealth and other Allied nations who died in Japan during World War II.  

KAZUAKI NAGATA PHOTO


 


 

The memorial service, which is held in the Hodogaya district around this time each year, is organized by volunteers both Japanese and foreign. It features a prayer for peace, hymns and a floral tribute to the more than 1,700 soldiers laid to rest there. Many of them died as prisoners of war.

"War has no true victors, and people on all sides experience loss," said Col. Tim Gellel, representative of the Commonwealth and Defence Attache at the Australian Embassy, during his speech at the service.

"Most of those interred here lost their lives whilst in captivity, a time when they should have been under protection," he said.

The service attracted a wide range of participants, including local high school students and embassy employees who came to pay their respects to POWs and face the past.

"There is a saying that goes 'Closing eyes to the past means closing eyes to the future," said Shigeki Chiba, a film director who has attended the service many times.

Chiba directed a film on the what was then known as the Thailand-Burma railroad, which was built by Imperial Japanese Army using captured soldiers forced to do brutal work. Some who survived the notorious ordeal lay in the cemetery.

"I think of this event as very important," he said, adding that it was great to see young people at the service.

The Japan Times: Sunday, Aug. 3, 2008
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