Skip to main content

Tama-Reien 多磨霊園

This cemetery is located in Chofu, near Fuchu, where the largest cemetery in Tokyo is and the final resting place for millions of Japanese. 


The reason I visited this place was to pay homage to the late great man  Mishima Yukio, a famous playwright and author, best known for his famed suicide back in November 1970.   Another reason I was here was to help one of my girlfriends wash her family tombstone, so it was like killing two birds with one stone; pay homage to the man, and visit her folk's tomb.

(This picture is owned by me from my flickr account.)

I'm not necessarily posting this information for people to visit, just for a better understanding of where I am talking about. 


Cemeteries in Japan are far from gloomy, not like in North America where the mood is somber and depressing, it's like you want to get out of there as soon as possible.  The energy at most cemeteries I've been to here are tranquil and well maintained.  I made my way to Mishima Yukio's final resting spot, also General Yamamoto and a few other Japanese heroes - paid homage.  


When George Bush is finally laid to rest I guess we'll honor his legacy for all of his murderous campaigns throughout the Middle East - I sure as hell won't.   I used to post the exact whereabouts of plots of great Japanese people but don't anymore for fear of vandals and ignorant expats whom I would gladly beat the living shit out of for desecrating anyone's final resting spot in Japan.


The soul of Japan is truly the infusion of what Japan is.  It is the shrine, the temple, the Jukujo, the onsen, food, the nihonshu, Mishima, Shinto, and Buddhism...(me?).  


The second reason for posting this was because around July 15th through August 15, depending on the region, many Japanese return to their hometowns to visit their family cemetery plots in order to pay homage to their ancestors.  This is a Japanese Buddhist custom called Obon (お盆), which has evolved into a family reunion.  It is also the busiest time of year for domestic travel so if you're planning to come out this way avoid August.  This is the hottest and  busiest month of the year in this country.   


As we get closer to August my post will become more politically charged where I'll be adding a lot of personal commentary about life, politics, and history in Japan.   The usual sake and food will be there but at a minimum.  August is the time of year in Japan where a lot of history was made so if you are light hearted then be forewarned.


The process of honoring the dead:


At the tombstone you pour water over the main stone, or marble headstone.   You clean around the plot being careful not to forget to remove any dead flowers and leaves.   Even a little weeding is not uncommon.  Add new flowers, sometimes food or sake can be placed either on or next to the headstone.  Say a prayer and done. 

Popular posts from this blog

Shin-Okubo: Little Korea

So I finally got around to going up there to Shin-Okubo,  the land of Seoul via the Yamanote Line.  Been putting this trip off for years for personal reasons;  I am not a fan of Hanlleyu.      I knew why I came up this way, and for none other reason than the food, and maybe to bask in the nausea of Korean romanticist who steal Japanese Jukujo's souls.    But honestly, I like spicy food and stews and pickled vegetables that challenge my taste buds.    I also love the little funky cafes that line the main thoroughfares and alley ways, each with their own little eclectic menus and interior decor.     This place is Korea.  

Shin-Okuba represents more than just a place to relish in Korean culinary delights and K-pop culture, but a place where Koreans can express themselves through their culture.    You can feel the local vibe in the air as you're walking down narrow walkways and footpaths.    I have personally been to mainland Korea six times, so a lot of the nostalgia was there …

August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, especially  in places like Tohoku and Kanto regions.  August is also  the most contentious month of the year in Japan; with the end of the war and war-related guilt.    Then there's the great exodus back home for millions of Japanese.   Obon season is what it's called in Japan, and it's  where families return to their hometowns to remember their ancestors and to spend time with loved ones.  Gravestones are visited, cleaned, and washed; rice or alcohol is often placed on  miniature altars next to a  headstone.  This is a way for Japanese to reconnect with their roots; a way for them to stay grounded and founded in the ways of tradition and cultural protocol.   

For the foreign tourist, some places will be overcrowded and expensive to reach; for Japanese, this is normal and can't be helped.   Wherever you go there will be lines and h…

Japan Board of Education: Amazing Grace...?

Japan Board of Education Textbook.
Amazing Grace
Shuken Shuppan  Polestar textbook English Communication

Preface:  Japanese / Japan is  one of the leading donors in humanitarian aid around the world.   They have donated billions of yen to charities, developing countries, and startup business to just about every country on the globe.  Some Japanese have even taken matters to the extreme  to the point of poking their noses into hotspot areas like Palestine and Isreal, things the Japanese may want to avoid.  Had Japan shared its borders with an ethnic minority with its own government, the relative peace and calm of this country would be questionable.   No other country can be like nor emulate Japan.   So, where does this spirit of charity and altruism come from exactly?   Why do the Japanese feel they need to save the whole world, while caring very little for its own people?   It's the Board of Education...?  The essay below is one such example of what Japanese kids learn in school,…