Robyn Flemming, the author of Skinful: A Memoir of Addiction, is very much alive and well and currently in Malaysia. In this, the second of three guest posts (GPs), Robyn takes us to the city of Kuching in the province of Sarawak to explore the Japanese War Cemetery with its haunting memories of the 81 Yaizu boy fishermen who died in the name of patriotism. She took the photos; she wrote the text. I simply wish I could have been there.
Kuching fell to invading Japanese forces on Christmas Eve, 1941, just a few weeks after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor brought America into the Second World War. Sarawak remained under occupation until Japan’s surrender in August 1945.
The Japanese Cemetery in Kuching has about forty tombstones, some of which predate the Second World War. A plaque in the cemetery describes how a group of teenage boys from Yaizu, in Shizuoka Prefecture, were recruited to help in delivering food supplies to the battlefronts in the South China Sea. As the death toll mounted, they were called up to fight. Between 1942 and 1945, 81 of the Yaizu boy fishermen “lost their lives in the call of their patriotic duty”.
MM: Check out this video from Asia War Graves. Haunting.