In order to understand the whereabouts of unmarked graves and tombs in Asia, one may need to employ the services of the temple monk, or a spiritual elder. The proper name to describe a Japanese Buddhist practitioner or a resident temple priest would be a Bozu. In Japan, there are many temples that carry the same name as other temples, even the kanji looks the same, and or, may read differently in translation. Rather then going crazy over which is which, the help from a Bozu can really make a world of difference.
One of my missions was to find a Temple called Dairinji in Miyagi Prefecture, and I had a number of reasons for why I decided to pay a brief visit there.
My first excuse was because my bus arrived in Sendai at around 7am, so I had plenty of time to walk around, visit other temples and shrines. I had a drinking engagement later that evening and had plenty of time to do whatever. The other reasons is because I specialize in Pan Asian history, and therefore have a keen interest in those who were involved, or who claimed to be Pan Asianist. I could've easily gone to see Date Masamune's historical landmarks, but everybody does that. It is not often you have a chance to visit sites that are not touristy. And if you've been keeping up with my blog, you know I avoid touristy locations.
The significance for visiting Dairin-ji is because of An Jung Guen's second memorial, in which many of his literary works are kept by one of the nieces of the prison guard who oversaw An Jung during his incarceration. Just to refresh your memory, An Jung Guen was a terrorist who murdered the late Ito Hirobumi, perhaps one of Japan's greatest statesmen and politicians. A man who shaped Japanese politics and government during the first half of the 20th Century. This man was monumental in implementing tax laws and modernizing Japan in the process of also trying to modernize, educate, and build Korea.
The compelling point to remember here is that An Jung is honored and revered as a national hero in both China and Korea, which there is a large Memorial housing many of his poems and letters.
His ideas were centered on Pan Asianism. This is defined according to An by establishing a peace between three asian countries: China, Korea, and Japan through mutual and peaceful cooperation in order to become a bulwark against White Peril and Anglo dominance in the region. An's poems were compelling for so many Japanese, even his prison wardens who had hailed him as a righteous man begged judges for leniency during the sentencing hearings. He was sentenced to hang for the murder of a great Japanese man based on 15 accusations in which he claimed Ito Hirobumi murdered many Koreans, and that he colonized the peninsula and didn't inform the Emperor of Japan of what was happening. Mr. An felt that the Emperor of Japan was being deceived by his own military generals and therefore felt compelled to carry out murder in order to protect Asia from Ito Hirobumi.
Most reasonable academics now understand that the Emperor was highly involved in the war effort, and that he was just as culpable and knew a lot more than what was originally perceived by previous Justices. This claim by An that the Emperor was being deceived is totally baseless and this could be why his stay of execution was denied, even after being reassured by the presiding judge at that time that he would be spared a death sentence. Someone beyond the judge had ordered An to be hanged for his crime, someone higher than any government official and justice. Who?
Personally I do not believe An to be a hero of Pan Asian ideals. He murdered Ito Hirobumi who could be considered the greatest Pan Asianist of all time, a man who took the very best from Western principles, slightly modified them to fit the Japanese body politic and who was hailed as a hero by many Koreans.
An Jung embraced Western religions, gods, and even going as far as to change his name to Thomas. You cannot trust a man who sells his soul in this order, and then claim to be a Pan -Asianist. He would betray the confidence of the people.
The Japanese built Dairin-ji as the second memorial to An in honor of his legacy as a profound literary poet. An died a Catholic but is honored as a Buddhist in which he has his own sect at this temple.
The actual remains of An have never been found, and they are not here at this temple, only some of his most rare poems and accounts written to his prison wardens about peace in Asia.
Peace in Asia can only come through solidarity, but sometimes that is not possible through dialog only. Mutual cooperation and respect has never been achieved only through dialog either, but by sacrifice. Sure, maybe An's crime was an attempt to reflect this, but he missed the point. You do not murder the colonizer who builds your infrastructure and industry. Had he destroyed it, then maybe An would be considered a freedom fighter, like Mandela. Ito Hirobumi was a champion of Korea, not its enemy. Certain sacrifices had to be made in order to secure Asia for the Asiatic! You cannot have two Emperors and two separate ideologies. One has to come under the other, in order to stand up against White Peril.