Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Japanese Cemetery Park

Do you know that there is a Japanese Cemetery Park in Singapore which located at 825B Chuan Hoe Ave, Singapore 549853 (Yio Chu Kang Road)?

Although Singapore government gazetted as a memorial park in 1987. Many of you may not heard about it or aware that we do have Japanese Cemetery Park.

The Japanese Cemetery Park which known as 日本人墓地公園 was official granted permission for this cemetery use on 26 June 1891 by The British Colonial Government. Till today, it is the largest and best-preserved Japanese Cemetery in Southeast Asia.

The site measures 30,000 square metres and has an estimated of 910 tombstones that contain the remains of members of Japanese community in Singapore. It's also including 唐行きさん (Karayuki-san aka Japanese prostitutes), civilians, soldiers and convicted war criminals.

When I visited on Sunday, The Japanese Cemetery Park are quiet and peaceful. As usual, I take out my camera and randomly shoot the scenery over here. It is so interesting that in Singapore, I could able to see The Japanese Shrine and the Buddhist sculpture as it is very rare here.

I also got to know that the first Japanese person to settle in Singapore was 山本音吉 (Yamamoto Otokichi), who arrived in 1862.

When I walked in further, I was rather sad for Karayuki-san who dead here during the end of the Meiji Era around 1870's to 1930's. Those poor Japanese young women were sold off for Prostitution in East Asia and South East Asia by their own family. Each of the tombstones tell a story of their past which everyone forgotten Japanese prostitution era before the World War II occurred.

Some of the well known Japanese also buried here. Those people are prominent author Takeshiro Nishimura, who lived in Singapore from 1902 until his death in 1942.

Yoshio Nishimura, the managing director of Ishihara Sangyo Koshi, an iron ore mining company in Malaya. He was a president of the Japanese Association.

During the Japanese occupation of Singapore from 1942-1945, It was the worst nightmare for everyone who lived in horror and terrified that the Japanese soldiers would captured and killed them. Despite that, the Japanese soldiers also got killed during the war.

The Japanese soldiers buried their own ally bodies and construction of memorials in the cemetery. Many of the important key appointment tombstones can be found here as well. It is good that the Japanese Cemetery Park are well preserved.

Although it could be a painful experience for our pioneers to remember, but we should let our young generation to know The Japanese Cemetery Park as it is somehow connected to part of the Singapore history.

To view more of The Japanese Cemetery Park photographs, click here.