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japan / australia

OPPOSITE PAGE: View from A Company Tower. BOTTOM LEFT: Map of Cowra POW Camp. ABOVE: Japanese POW captured at Weir’s property after breakout.

A and B COMPANY GUARD AREAS

B - JAPANESE

A - ITALIANS

C - ITALIANS

D -J JAP APANE ANESE SE OFFICERS GARRISON HEADQUARTERS

FORMOSANS KOREANS

D and C COMPANY GUARD AREAS

The Japanese POWs were buried immediately after the Breakout in an area adjacent to the Australian military cemetery. Soon after the end of World War II returning Australian servicemen began the job of tending to the graves of the Japanese POWs because they believed it was ‘the right thing to do’. This simple act of respect so impressed Japanese diplomats visiting the site from the mid-1950s that the Japanese government requested that it become a formal cemetery for all Japanese, both civilian and military who died in Australia during WWII. This was agreed to in 1963 and the cemetery, designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Yura, was officially opened on November 21st, 1964. The Cowra Japanese War Cemetery is the only Japanese military cemetery of its type in the world. It now contains the graves of 525 Japanese POWs and civilians who died in Australia during WW2. The establishment of the Japanese War Cemetery has led to the development of mutual feelings of reconciliation, respect and understanding between the people of Cowra and the people of Japan. Cowra now regards itself as a centre of world friendship. It is the home of Australia’s first World Peace Bell and the location for the largest Japanese garden in the Southern Hemisphere. There is an annual Festival of International Understanding and a Cherry Blossom Festival each September in the Japanese Garden. Regular student and Council staff exchanges, and a friendship agreement with Joetsu City in Japan home of the former Naoetsu POW Camp, further cement the friendship that has developed from such a tragic beginning.

A FORMER JAPANESE AMBASSADOR ONCE SAID THAT COWRA IS THE SPIRITUAL HOME OF JAPANESE PEOPLE IN AUSTRALIA. TO THINK THAT SUCH A SENTIMENT SHOULD DEVELOP FROM THE TRAGEDY OF WAR IS TESTAMENT TO THE GOODWILL OF THE PEOPLE OF COWRA WHO FOLLOWED THE EXAMPLE OF THOSE LOCAL EX-SERVICEMEN WHO ‘DID THE RIGHT THING’ OVER 70 YEARS AGO. THE LAST POST – 2019 ANZAC DAY EDITION  13  

Profile for The Last Post Magazine

The Last Post Magazine Anzac Day 2019  

In 2019 TLP editor Greg T Ross visited Japan under the Japan-Australia Grassroots Exchange Programme. To commemorate the visit and the prog...

The Last Post Magazine Anzac Day 2019  

In 2019 TLP editor Greg T Ross visited Japan under the Japan-Australia Grassroots Exchange Programme. To commemorate the visit and the prog...

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