POW Memorial Service
The 14th Annual Memorial
Service, commemorating the Allied POWs who passed away in Japan was held at the
Commonwealth War Cemetery in Hokogaya-ku, Yokohama on August 2.
More than 100 Japanese people, with eight honored guests from embassies and so on, including two wives and 9 year-old Tim, gathered under the scorching sun. They thought of around 3,500 POWs, of their sufferings and sorrow shared by their bereaved families, and with pains in heart, prayed for peace.
Saito died on June
21, 2008 because of acute stomach cancer. Having been continuously active, since
his translation of Ernest Gordon’s “Through the Valley of Kwai”, he completed
the prospectus of this event in his last days. Mr. Nagase, though he achieved
his annual visit of
Thailand in June,
called Prof. Amemiya on July 31, telling him a message to be read, as he had to
cancel his trip due to heat exhaustion.
For rather shocked attendants, the occasion served as realization for the fresh intention of taking over the good-will of the three founders; young Rev. Takao Okutsu presided over the whole procedure, being joined by a daughter of Prof. Saito, high school students and Tim, who dedicated wreathes to the memorial of each country.
Prof. Amemiya, in fact, was attacked by brain stroke last year. But he warmly and eagerly addressed the audience with his message for human rights and peace, and Mr. Siamiasl M. Sadegh, a refugee from Iran who has been accepted by Canada, thankfully attended the ceremony as a guest of honor. The handouts included the article of Mr. Jim Nelson’s visit of Hanawa, and Mr. Osamu Komai’s interview by NHK.
Japan Times published the
following article about the event.
Respects paid to Allied soldiers in Yokohama who died in Japan
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.
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.
Times: Sunday, Aug. 3, 2008