- History -
Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery was established by the Japanese government in 1959 to house the remains of the many unknown Japanese soldiers, military employees and ordinary civilians who died overseas during World War II. Some of the remains enshrined here were recovered in a series of government recovering missions starting in 1953; others were brought back home right after the war by returning military units and individuals.
There were 2,4 million Japanese soldiers, military employees and ordinary citizens died overseas in the previous war.1.28 million of them were brought back to Japan, but the rest of 1.12 million remains are still overseas.
The Cemetery ranges over an area of approximately 16,500 m2. Evergreen trees interspersed with zelkovas and other deciduous trees create an atmosphere of solemnity and tranquility suitable for such hallowed ground. These trees, which were mere saplings when the Cemetery first opened, now tower into the sky and enhance the dignity of the setting with their dense foliage.
As of May, 2019 there are 360,069 remains are enshrined at Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery.
Ossuaries and Ceramic Coffin
The remains of the war dead are enshrined in the underground ossuaries. The oldest is located beneath the ceramic coffin at the centre of the Hexagonal Memorial Hall. The new ones were additionally built-in in March 1991, 2000 and 2013 at the rear area of the Memorial Hall.
Weighing as heavy as five tons, the ceramic coffin is one of the largest ceramic objects in the world. It is made of Japanese soils and pebbles gathered from the major zones overseas and fired at a temperature of 1,700 degrees. It contains a gilt bronze vase in the shape of a tea jar - a gift offered by the Showa Emperor - in which are enshrined remains symbolizing all who died in the previous war.
Memorial Poem by Showa Emperor
"Whenever we ponder on those who dedicated their lives for the cause of our nation, our heart aches with deep emotion."
This monument has engraved on it a poem composed by the Showa Emperor, namely His Excellency Emperor Hirohito, as copied in the hand of Princess Chichibu in the fall of the year of the Cemetery's establishment. It was erected on March 28th, 1960.
Memorial Poem by Emperor Emeritus
"Having walked through times when there was no such great war, my thoughts go out to the people who had lived through those days of cruel hardship."
This monument has engraved on it a poem composed by the Emperor Emeritus as copied in the hand of Princess Hitachi at the New Year Poetry Reading Ceremony to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the war's end. Ut was erected on September 27th, 2005.