Saturday, May 5, 2012

Apology Monument

While as I said I have been to Calbayog City a few times, this was the very first instance I was setting foot on their city hall grounds. So After the city hall building itself, I walked towards that nearby big and old-looking house. Saw something unique. A monument or marker of an apology, if I may call it that. It has no faces nor human figures, which is why I tend to think of it as a marker than a monument. There are some writings, and the message is OMG touching. I felt a lump in my throat having read the message that comes in 3 languages – English, Japanese and Waray-waray.

It is an apology from the people of Kyoto to the people of Samar for the invasion by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. I looked around for someone who might be able to tell me more details about the monument. None. The few who I asked gave me just a shrug or told me they don't know much. One suggested that I go up the Mayor's Office and ask there. With a smile, I said no thanks hehe. Who am I anyway to bother the big boss with just a petty question. But I had a bright idea! Still standing in front of said monument under the cool shade of a talisay tree, I instead fished my omnia, went to google and typed these two words in the search box – Calbayog Kyoto!

Voila, I found a single page that told me some details which I thought was enough so far. It is an article on the Kyoto Shimbun (Kyoto Newspaper) describing this thing as a "Monument of Apology and Friendship". Hmm, so this monument is the “first time the Japanese people have apologized for the war”. Wow! And why Kyoto? Turns out that most of those who occupied Samar were from Fushimi-ku. Oh, the “tiles” which I initially thought was a weird material to use for the “epitaph” are actually made of Kiyomizu ceramic. Yeah, from said place, and expensive! I stood a bit there, reflecting how difficult it must have been to swallow 'pride & dignity' by apologizing as a people. Yeah, as a people of Kyoto.

The message? Very humbling. The English translation seems harsher to my ear than the original Japanese words. But I think that's how it is in translation. Let me re-write the English version for clarity:
To The People Of Samar

This monument is dedicated to the hapless
victims of Samar during the Second World War
by Japanese invation(invasion).

Here in the Island of Samar, atrocities,
brutalities and human rights abuses were
inflicted by the Japanese Imperial Army
particularly coming from Kyoto.

By these presents, we heartily seek an apology
and wish to start a new, stronger and more
lasting friendship between the people of Calbayog
City and Samar and the people of Kyoto.

From the citizens of Kyoto City, Japan

What a brave act by the people of Kyoto!

Nice find! Something I can call a unique & memorable war-memorial.
Loitering Around Calbayog: Apology Monument

4 comments :

  1. A wonderful thing to learn. I am ashamed to tell you I am from Calbayog but dont know about this. Thank you-

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  3. I am also from Calbayog and it is also the first time i found out that there is such a war-apology monument here and the thing is, it is the first war-apology monument-made in japan(an tiles la hehe)...very humbling indeed nice find sir Dindo!

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  4. I am from Brgy Pena, 30 km north of Calbayog. I never know this monument ever existed in Calbayog. Oh how little I know about my city but definitely deserve to revisit, and my destination? This monument, a humbling gesture of the Japanese people

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