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Anzac Day 2009 in Japan

The Commonwealth War Cemetery at Hodogaya, near Yokohama, is the venue for the annual Anzac Day Service in Japan.  It’s a cemetery with around 300 Australians interred, as well as from other Commonwealth countries.  Today’s service was held in heavy rain, but there were still around 150 in attendance.

Anzac Day Service, Commonwealth War Cemetery, Hodogaya

The Australian section of the cemetery is on a gentle slope, and has two eucalyptus trees towering above the plots.  It’s in a beautiful garden, and maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.  The service commenced in the Australian section, and then moved to the nearby New Zealand section of the cemetery.  There was a bugler and a piper (I think on loan from the US military), and dignitaries from a range of countries participating in the service.  The Australian ambassador led the service, a New Zealand politician gave the address, the Turkish Ambassador read the famous quote from Ataturk, and others lay wreaths at the memorial crosses.

Australian Section, Commonwealth War Cemetery, Hodogaya

Hodogaya Cemetery is a little tucked away, but there are regular buses from Hodogaya Station that pass a nearby main road.  It’s then a 5-10 minute walk up the hill.  The marquees in the photos were set up because of the rain, and are where the official party stood during the service.  Everyone else stood around the plots – it highlights the significance of Anzac Day when the service is held over the top of the fallen.

Memorial Cross, Australian Section, Commonwealth War Cemetery, Hodogaya

Memorial Cross, Australian Section, Commonwealth War Cemetery, Hodogaya

There are three unknown soldiers buried in the Australian section.

Unknown Australian Soldier, Commonwealth War Cemetery, Hodogaya

In the post-WW2 section of the cemetery, some more Australians are buried, including Ray Simpson VC, a Vietnam veteran.  It appears he had a Japanese wife, and therefore a connection with Japan, which must explain why he is buried here.  My dad is a Vietnam veteran and perhaps a budding amateur military historian, so I took this photo of Ray Simpson VC’s plot.  A fresh wreath had been placed here earlier today.

Grave of RS Simpson VC, Commonwealth War Cemetery, Hodogaya

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