Sunday, May 29, 2011

May 29, 1945 and the Yokohama Peace Monument

If you weren`t looking for it you would never know it was there. 

At the very far end of a park that relatively few people use, and most don`t even know the name of, there is an unknown monument.  Within this obscure and rather simple looking structure are inscribed the names of some 14,000 people who died as a result of the firebombing of Yokohama on this same date 66 years ago.

The location of the monument in Naka Ward`s Odori Park, is probably not a great distance from where the first firebombs struck the city on the morning of May 29, 1945. 

Strange as it may seem, as far as I know, this is the only monument, memorial or marker in Yokohama in remembrance of those who perished that awful day.  It was built in 1995 and financed by "The  Yokohama Association of Bereaved Families of War".

Inscribed into the stone of the large white tablet in front of the monument is a message which explains "The history of the Peace Monument".  The last part of the first paragraph reads - "These were days that under the information and news control of the government, military and bureaucracy, the ordinary citizen unaware of the real situation of the war, were forced into a blind obedience. As the frontline moved on Japanese soil and American bombings rose in intensity both military and civilian establishments in over 100 cities were indiscriminately attacked. A great many unarmed ordinary citizens became victims."

This monument forces one to reflect on the insanity of war and for this reason it and the events of 66 years ago should never be forgotten.

above -Yokohama 1945 at the site of Enmei-en Temple

below - same location today

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