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Northern Mariana Islands, World War II memorial in Saipan

Saipan - Micronesia, Memorial to suicide Japs [sic] [Japanese] Volume 111, Page 9 Color OceaniaNorthern Mariana Islands (dependent state)Mariana Islands (island group); Saipan (island)
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World War II Memorials

By Roberto Santos | Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands | 2 Dec 2021

This is one of many memorials erected, most often, at cliffs around the island of Saipan, where Japanese civilians and soldiers lept to their deaths, believing it was more honorable than being captured by the invading American forces. The inscriptions engraved on the stones are in Japanese, featuring beautiful kanji characters, expressing old, traditional wishes for peaceful rest and remembrance of the tragedies of WWII that took place in these locations. I was familiar with these monuments as a child growing up on Saipan, but having studied Japanese language, culture and history, and spending several years in Japan makes revisiting these monuments such a profound, meditative experience. Among the most moving monuments are traditional poetry written and dedicated by the past Japanese emperor and empress, each engraved into a large block of granite, one at Banzai Cliff and the other at The Last Command Post. In the midst of the lingering resentment and trauma from the Japanese colonial period in the Marianas, I found the Japanese people I spoke to about Saipan during WWII approached the subject with so much solemnity and reflection.

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