JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when in crowds.

Image search results - "tombs"
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Entrance to Iimoriyama Hill, site of the Byakkotai "White Tiger" Battalion gravesite. In 1868, a unit of teenage warriors called Byakkotai (White Tiger Battalion) fought against the Emperor-backed Imperial forces encroaching their domain of Aizu
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The Byakkotai were outnumbered and forced to retreat. Twenty of them escaped to Iimoriyama Hill where they saw what looked liked a burning Tsurugajo Castle. Photo: Pay a small fee to take the escalator up the hill. Or climb up the steps for free.
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In despair, the boys decided to kill themselves rather than die in the hands of the enemy. Photo: Escalator to go up Iimoriyama Hill.
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Escalator to go up Iimoriyama Hill. Their tombstones are on this hill near where they killed themselves. Their story has become legend.
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Byakkotai Gravesite. It is on a flat area which also has several other Byakkotai monuments including those from other countries.
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Approach to the Byakkotai gravesite.
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Graves of the 19 teenage Byakkotai warriors who killed themselves with their own swords.
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Byakkotai Graves
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Byakkotai Graves
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Main entrance to Aoyama Cemetery during cherry blossom season in early April. Gaienmae Station (Ginza/Hanzomon Line) and Nogizaka Station (Chiyoda Line) are the closest subway stations.
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Byakkotai gravestones. Each one shows the name, age, and method of death called "jijin" (died with one's own sword 自刃).
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Aoyama Cemetery office near the main entrance where you can obtain a map of the cemetery and ask where particular people are buried. The maps they provide do not show where the most famous people are (such as prime ministers).
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Main thoroughfare, lined with cherry trees, cuts through the middle of the cemetery where cars whiz by. Quite irritating.
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This has become a national shrine, almost as important as Sengakuji where the 47 masterless samurai are buried.
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Cherry blossom tunnel at Aoyama Cemetery.
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Aoyama Cemetery is one of Tokyo's noted spots for cherry blossoms. However, having hanami picnics is not allowed.
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Cherry blossoms are so fleeting. They last for only a short time, like life itself. And so cherry blossoms are often found at cemetaries in Japan.
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These trees stood out.
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Cherry blossoms and graves.
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Aoyama Cemetery map. Quite complicated system to find grave plots.
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Signs tell you where you are. Quite bewildering mapping system.
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On the right side are more gravestones. These are 31 Byakkotai members who died in battle. 戦死
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Aoyama Cemetery has over 123,000 graves occupying 125,000 square meters within the cemetery land area of 263,564 sq. meters.
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Tombs of those Byakkotai who died in action.
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This is the Foreigner's Cemetery where many foreigners who helped to modernize Japan are buried.
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Tombs of those Byakkotai who died in action.
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A monument erected in March 2007 by Tokyo Governor Ishihara Shintaro in appreciation of the foreigners who helped build Japan.
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Their names, age, and "senshi" 戦死 (died in battle) are engraved on the stones.
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List of foreigners buried in this Foreigner's Cemetery. Note that there also other foreigners buried in other parts of Aoyama Cemetery.
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Foreigner's Cemetery 外国人墓地
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Monument for teenage samurai who died in battle.
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Foreigner's Cemetery 外国人墓地
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Names of Byakkotai members, all 14 to 17 years old.
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Grave of Edoardo Chiossone (1833-1898), an Italian who introduced printing technology (for money and stamps) to Japan. He loved Japan and amassed a huge collection of Japanese art, especially woodblock prints. The collection is donated to a Genova museum.
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On the left of the gravestones, there is a monument for a poem composed by Lord Matsudaira Katamori, the last Aizu lord and whom the Byakkotai died for. 幾人の 涙は石にそそぐとも その名は世々に 朽じとぞ思う幾人の 涙は石にそそぐとも その名は世々に 朽じとぞ思う
Ikutari no namida wa ishi ni sosogu tomo sono na wa yoyo ni kuji to zo omou
"No matter how many people pour their tears on these stones, these names will never fade from the world."
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Gravestone of Edoardo Chiossone
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A short walk away is the grave of Iinuma Sadakichi, the only Byakkotai survivor who had slit himself, but was rescued by a villager passing by when everyone else had killed themselves.
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Grave of Joseph Heco who was born Japanese (as Hamada Hikozo) but naturalized as a US citizen.
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Grave of Iinuma Sadakichi, the only Byakkotai warrior who survived and told the story of this valiant teenage group.
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Grave of Joseph Heco
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Grave of Iinuma Sadakichi (Sadao) (1854-1931). His grave was built here in 1957 for the 90th anniversary of the Byakkotai's demise. 飯沼貞吉
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Grave of the family of Robert Walker Irwin (1844-1925), Hawaiian Minister to Japan. (Iron gate has since been removed.)
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Graves of the family of Robert Walker Irwin (1844-1925), Hawaiian Minister to Japan.
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Grave of Robert Walker Irwin (1844-1925), Hawaiian Minister to Japan and his Japanese wife Iki. Eldest child Bella Irwin is also buried here.
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Gravestone of Robert Walker Irwin (1844-1925), Hawaiian Minister to Japan and his Japanese wife Iki.
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Grave of Robert Walker Irwin Jr. (Robert Walker Irwin's first son) and his first wife Fusako.
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Grave of Richard Irwin (Robert Walker Irwin's second son) and his son Takeo and daughter Yukiko Irwin.
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Grave of Mary Irwin (Robert Walker Irwin's second daughter).
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Grave of Tsuneko Irwin second wife of Robert Walker Irwin Jr. and her son John.
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Grave of Tsuneko Irwin second wife of Robert Walker Irwin Jr. and her son John.
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This stone monument gives the biography of Robert Walker. His birthdate, descendant of Benjamin Franklin, his move to Japan, companies he worked for in Japan including Mitsui Bussan, supervision of the immigration to Hawaii,founding of the Taiwan Sugar Co., and the decorations he received from the Japanese government. Died in 1925 at age 81.

ロベルト・ウォルカー・アルウインは米国費府
の住民にして西暦千八百四十四年一月七日
に生まれベンジャミン・フランクリンの後裔也
慶應二年十一月来朝し海外貿易又は日本海
運の開発誘導に貢献するところ頗る多く三
井物産会社其他に勤務し後ち日本駐劄布哇
国公使に就任して日本移民の布哇渡航を企
画成功す蓋し之れ日本移民海外発展の基と
なれるものにして実に日本移民事業の開祖
たり明治三十三年台湾製糖株式会社の創立
発起人となり日本糖業の為めに尽くすとこ
ろ又尠なからす勲一等に叙せられ瑞鳳章を
賜ひ後ち又旭日大綬章を賜ふ大正十四年一
月五日永眠す行年八十一才也
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Monument dedicated to Bella, built by the Irwin Gakuen (formerly Gyokusei Gakuen) alumni association (Gyokusei-kai) for the school's 70th anniversary in Nov. 1985.The bottom has a bio of Bella.
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This originally was for grave visitors to leave their business cards, but it does not work. (As of this writing, there is no receptacle to collect the cards.)
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About Iinuma Sadakichi (later changed his first name to Sadao)
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Graves of Robert Walker Irwin (rear, on the right) and his family. (Old photos of the graves.)
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Slope where they committed seppuku (hara-kiri). 自刃の地
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Site where they committed seppuku (hara-kiri). 自刃の地
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Grave of loyal dog Hachiko and his master, Professor Ueno.
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Grave of Yoshida Shigeru, Japan's first postwar prime minister.
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Grave of Yoshida Shigeru 吉田茂の墓
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An unkept grave.
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A recent addition is this statue of a teenage samurai looking at Wakamatsu Castle.
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Statue of a teenage samurai looking at Wakamatsu Castle.
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Statue faces Tsuruga-jo Castle which can be seen in the distance.
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Arrow points to Tsuruga-jo Castle.
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Byakko Kannon statue
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Monument from Rome, Italy, given in 1928 by Mussolini. The column is from the ruins of a palace in Pompeii.
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Monument message in Italian. After WWII, the US Occupation authorities wanted this monument removed. But all they did was remove the engraved message (later restored).
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About the monument from Rome.
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Monument from a German, Hasso von Etzdorf (1900 - 1989).
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Another monument
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Opened in 1956, the Byakkotai Memorial Museum has numerous artifacts related to the Byakkotai as well as the Shinsengumi. Photography inside is not allowed. Admission 400 yen.
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Byakkotai statue outside the Byakkotai Memorial Museum
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Way to cemetery. Six Hikone Castle lords, including Ii Naosuke, have graves here. Setagaya was the domain of the Ii clan who often worked in the Tokugawa government.
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Straight ahead is the grave of Lord Ii Naotaka, the 2nd lord of Hikone Castle in Shiga Prefecture.
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Turn left and you see this. Ii clan graves on both sides. Lord Ii Naosuke's grave is at the very end on the left.
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Lord Ii Naosuke's grave is at the very end on the left.
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Grave of Lord Ii Naosuke (1815-1860), the lord of Hikone Castle in Shiga Prefecture and Chief Minister of the Tokugawa Shogun's government. Gotokuji temple, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo. 井伊直弼の墓 豪徳寺
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Only Ii Naosuke's grave has a sign explaining about him.
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Grave of Lord Ii Naosuke (1815-1860), the lord of Hikone Castle in Shiga Prefecture and Chief Minister of the Tokugawa Shogun's government. Gotokuji temple, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo. 井伊直弼の墓 豪徳寺
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Gravestone of Ii Naosuke.
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Right side of Lord Ii Naosuke's grave.
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Tree of white camellias grow about Lord Ii Naosuke's grave.
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Grave of Lord Ii Naosuke's wife.
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Grave of Lord Ii Naohide (1755-1789). He served as Tairo Chief Minister in the Tokugawa government. Gotokuji temple, Setagaya, Tokyo 井伊直幸
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Grave of Lord Ii Naotaka's eldest daughter who donated a lot to the temple. 井伊直孝長女
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Grave of Lord Ii Naotaka (1590-1659), 2nd lord of Hikone, Shiga. Gotokuji temple, Setagaya, Tokyo 井伊直孝
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Grave of Lord Ii Naoyoshi (1727-1754), Gotokuji temple, Setagaya, Tokyo 井伊直禔
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Grave of Lord Ii Naotsune (1693-1710), Gotokuji temple, Setagaya, Tokyo 井伊直恒
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Grave of Lord Ii Naonori on right.
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Grave of Lord Ii Naonori (1848-1904), Gotokuji temple, Setagaya, Tokyo 井伊直憲の墓
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Six Jizo
 
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