While the Korean Peninsula was under Japanese occupation from 1910 to the end of the Second World War in 1945, many Korean soldiers who were from North Korea fought and died as the Japanese Imperial Army’s soldiers during the War. Remains of more than 400 deceased North Korean soldiers are laid to rest in the charnel house of the Yutenji Temple located in Meguro Ward, Tokyo. Not many Japanese people know about this true story. A group of shrines called ‘Dewa Sanzan’ (the three mountains of Dewa), has been offering their prayers to these deceased North Korean soldiers ever since the immediate post-war period. The group led by Mr. Takao Nashimoto believed that, regardless of tribe, Japanese people should pray for the souls of these soldiers because they devoted their lives for the sake of Japan. The group recommended me to join their memorial services several years ago. Although I did not have any specific reason, I simply thought that it was the work that the Japanese should do, and besides, I felt sympathy for their souls who I’m sure must be yearning to return to their home country.
I prayed for the souls of the deceased North Korean soldiers of the Second World War.