Mukaishima POW Camp Memorial, Hiroshima – with Haiku and Photos

The Mukaishima World War II POW Memorial in Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture erected with funds raised by locals and the Japan-United Kingdom Friendship Monument Society.

we apologize

for your grandfather’s death 

as a POW

Under the golden October sun and after site-seeing the seaside towns of Fukuyama, Tomonoura and Onomichi, including dropping me off at the Zen Retreat Center Shinshoji for a few days, Mr. Koshi Kobayashi then drove me to the Mukaishima POW Memorial near Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture.

He and locals erected it in memory of one American and 23 British POWs who died in this World War II prison camp. The camp is now a strip mall. “Let’s have a healthy, beautiful life,” read large, red lettering across the front of a grocery store.

asphalt parking lot

capitalism’s reward?

they died for freedom

Eighty-years-old, Koshi is energetic despite his frozen right shoulder pain. His soft voice and excellent English introduced me to his friend Matsuura Seiichi, who runs the Japan English Karaoke Association and the Hiroshima-Ken International Exchange Association.

Matsuura fled the fire bombing of Osaka when he was 5 and grew up on Shikoku. Later in his living room in Onomichi, I would sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic at Koshi’s behest, being the very first time I would ever perform karaoke.  

Inside Matsuura’s living room and Karaoke area.

I met Koshi via the POW Research Network Japan. He was 5 and living outside Hiroshima when gembaku, the atomic bomb, was dropped. In September I had traveled to Hiroshima to meet him.

Koshi had asked me to help him with English, and said that karaoke is good for the health and lungs! “

When I was at the memorial, Naoko Mizobuchi and Chiyomi Kagawa of the Mukaishima Board of Education Mukaishima Elementary School Training Institute in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan joined us. They brought me the English edition of The Wing of Time, Beyond the Tragedy of the Prison Camp that they created and whose English version was published by the Japan-UK and USA Friendship Monument Society. Page 1 featured Japan’s constitution: peace through education. In gratitude I gave everyone a copy of my Storytime Yoga CD Peace, For the Children

Here’s to the memory of the soldiers, their families. Here’s to Japan for owning up to its past and working for peace. Let’s hope the USA stops its human rights abuses with its migrant and family separation policy, Trump’s assassination of Iranian Generals, or torture tactics for detainees. Our taxes are much better spend on education and health care! May we all work for peace. For the children!

Mukaishima POW Memorial, Onomichi, Hiroshima, Japan. Photo by Sydney Solis
Nihongo
Japanese language explanation of the memorial.
Names of the 23 British airmen who died in the Mukaishima POW camp.

I was deeply touched by everyone’s generosity and kindness. The peaceful people of Japan’s gentleness and also fierce heritage, history and culture blaze on in my heart and memory. The Japanese people are my friends, and the world is new again because we all walk hand in hand with peace as our message!

It was an amazing Mythic Yoga Journey for sure, following my bliss and taking a risk moving to Japan!!!! What an amazing healing story journey it has been! I am so grateful!

As I was leaving Fukuyama, Koshi stood at the Fukuyama train platform with me.

saying goodbye he 

told me that fukuyama 

means happy/lucky mountain

I am so lucky!

I am so happy!

Fukuyama

Peace

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