Situated atop Mt.Sangane, at a remotely located cemetery deep in Aichi, is one of three places where the former Prime Minister of War, Hideki Tojo's ashes are interred, along with seven other (so-called) war criminals. I visited this site yesterday to have coffee with a friend of mine who has been the caretaker of this site for nearly forty years. I was met by him and his lovely wife and together we chatted it up over a nice cup of coffee after arranging white flowers on all the epitaphs and tombstones. I took a few pictures when everything was done.
Tojo's ashes were divided between three locations; Yasukuni Shrine, Zoshigaya Cemetery,and Hazu, Aichi. The town of Hazu with its population of 12,000 doesn't list the exact whereabouts of his grave site, which I think it shouldn't, actually. According to MacAuthur's orders the remains of Tojo were to be scattered and placed in unmarked graves, but thankfully this didn't entirely happen. MacAuthor is dead now and as such, everything he had mandated should be turned over, burned and forgotten, even the current day Japanese constitution.
It's a new day and Japan needs a new direction starting with a new constitution and a new mandate. Not something handed down by a dead white general, but a constitution drafted by a proud Japanese people.
( the picture on the wall is a photo he took of Tojo and his family)
(pictured below on the phone he was expecting 8 guest from somewhere to discuss business related to Tojo. At this point it was time for me to head back to Nagoya).
There was a slight overcast with thick fog the day I drove up there. The long winding mountain road was looking a bit eerie that afternoon with no visible signs or landmarks in sight. I was all alone on that road trip. I left the gf back in Nagoya. After I reached the top of the mountain the navigation on my car was no longer able to transmit data; the "no data" sign kept flashing on and off the screen and then the whole screen just went blank. No signs and nobody around for miles and miles it seemed. I managed to flag down what appeared to be a construction worker for some assistance. He pointed the way and told me to be careful on the road heading up that way because there are no signs leading to Tojo's memorial.
After reaching my turn I drove down a very steep hill. All I could see at this point, as I was driving, were faint images of trees and a narrow concrete road in poor condition. Suddenly a small van came into view as I pulled up closer to the entrance. I parked next to it, got out and looked around a bit.
First thing I noticed was a huge monument with inscriptions written upon it of the men whose lives were sacrificed for the whole nation - I knew I was in the right place then. I turned my head and saw a long flight of stairs leading up to a huge grave stone, so I approached closer and saw a man standing there watering the nearby flowers. I climbed the stairs and approached even closer. He greeted me in English with a beautiful smile and had asked me where I was from. I told him "America." His gaze suddenly fell to the ground. It was as if the very life was sucked out of his body when I said the word "America." He continued about his business as if I didn't even exist. Sensing this abrupt loss of conviviality I proceeded to make my way around the other parts of this very small cemetery.
There were so many generals who had to accept their fate upon the altar of sacrifice for so little in return from such an ungrateful people and white worshippers.
One thing that stood out amongst the many monumental tombstones was an airplane engine far off in a patch of grass out of plain view. As I stood there trying to figure out how it had got there that same guy approached me - the caretaker. He had explained to me that the engine was from an American B-29 bomber that was shot down somewhere around Shizuoka during the war. Now, I have a faint recollection of a story about a bomber that was shot down around that area sixty ago. If my memory services me correctly those pilots were summarily executed by beheading - not sure if there were any survivors.
In my opinion, the pilots got what they had deserved for even attempting a strike of this magnitude on a civilian population. These bomber pilots were/are still criminals in my book and they were tried accordingly. Too bad Paul Tibbets, or little tidbits, was spared the heavy hand of judgement for the crime of loosing the atomic bomb on civilian targets. Never intermingle the crimes of a white nation with negroes duty to country. Negro soldiers had no business over in the Pacific fighting Tojo when they had no rights back home.
Afterwards, this gentleman invited me to his house for coffee. I accepted his invitation and we drove together to his place where I met his lovely wife. She brought out some coffee and some sweets for us to enjoy while overlooking the panoramic scenes from his balcony of the Hacho plains and hilly areas. The war debt of this nation is immense, yet, hardly any Japanese know about the existence of such a place. In August the few millions will throng to Yasukuni to pay respects to their fallen and they will reflect on the meaning of war and sacrifice. There were many honorable mentions on the tombstones that were translated, but I chose to leave them resting in peace. I suppose some of them would rather be forgotten so that they can rest in peace.
The surrounding areas around Sangane Mountains are all so very quiet and peaceful. There is so much lush greenery and flora all over the place. Most of the mountainous area is unspoiled and peaceful, so maybe it's a good thing that this area is not listed. For awhile I thought I should write down specific instructions on how to get here, but in order to keep this place sacred, some things are better left kept as they are. There's no need to advertise this place. I like it this way best. I hope I am the last foreigner to visit here.
A couple more pics. .