In the front of Takayama Zenkoji stands a monument dedicated to the brave soldiers and civilians who lost their lives in the terrible war of the Pacific in the 20th century. Allied or Japanese, soldier or civilian, all are honored here in a spirit of peace. Many remains of those unknown heroes who died on Pacific islands are interred here, to sleep under the sakura tree in eternal peace.
During the Second World War, countless soldiers and civilians lost their lives, many of whose remains were never recovered. In the islands of the Pacific Ocean that became battlegrounds, lay the restless spirits of those who died. Without achieving the peace of proper internment, the spirits were left longing for their country, home, family and loved ones. This monument was erected to honor those brave souls, and give them long-awaited rest.
The monument was made possible by donations from those who visit from Japan and around the world. By supporting this humble temple, you honor those who came before.
The remains interred here were collected by the former priest of this temple. A former pilot in the Imperial Air Force, he spent his later years returning many times to the Pacific islands where the remains of all who died there still lay, awaiting recovery. In a spirit of peace and reconciliation, remains of all unknown soldiers were treated with equal respect, regardless of country.
The tall standing portion of the monument honors those who died in the war. Their remains are interred in the base of the monument. On the monument is an inscription honoring them and the priest of Zenkoji who returned to honor their memory. He died in an accident while collecting remains during one of those trips to the South Pacific. The inscription is copied from the memorial in the South Pacific that stands on the island where he died. The memorial there reads:
On this beautiful island, there rests a noble man who dedicated his life to returning his countrymen to their home. Sleep in eternal peace noble heart.