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Japanese Cemetery Park, Singapore

3.8
#23 of 57 in Historic Sites in Singapore
Cemetery Tourist Spot
The Japanese Cemetery Park is a cemetery and park in Hougang, Singapore. It is the largest Japanese cemetery in Southeast Asia at 29,359 square metres, consisting of 910 tombstones that contain the remains of members of the Japanese community in Singapore, including young Japanese prostitutes, civilians, soldiers and convicted war criminals executed in Changi Prison. It was gazetted as a memorial park by the Singapore government in 1987.HistoryA Japanese brothel owner, Tagajiro Fukaki, donated 7acre of his rubber plantation to be used as a burial ground for young Japanese women who died in destitution. The British colonial government officially granted permission for this use on 26 June 1891. Since then, it was used to bury Japanese residents. During World War II, the cemetery was used to bury civilians and soldiers who lost their lives in the battlefield or to illness. After the British repatriated all the Japanese in 1948, no Japanese were allowed back into Singapore or Malaya for fear of their war past. The Singapore government took over ownership of the cemetery and left it disused. This policy towards the Japanese dead in Singapore remained until the Official Peace Treaty was signed with Japan in 1951. In November 1952, Ken Ninomiya, the first post-war Japanese Consul-General to Singapore, was tasked to find out the fate of Japanese war remains in Singapore. Upon locating the remains, the aim was to repatriate the ashes of the dead.However, the Japanese government eventually decided it would not remove the remains of the Japanese war dead to a separate cemetery nor would they repatriate the ashes. This was because the Japanese surrendered personnel had put so much effort to erect a memorial in the cemetery for their fallen comrades earlier and as such the memorial was a type of a shrine in itself as well as the fact that all ashes had been entombed in one single mound which made any form of identification impossible. In 1969, the Singapore government handed back ownership of the cemetery to the reformed Japanese Association, which oversees the maintenance of the cemetery. Burials continued until 1973 when the Singapore government passed an ordinance preventing the further expansion of the 42 cemeteries on the island.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
19 reviews
Google
4.2
  • Good to visit to learn about the history of Japanese who resided in Singapore since 1861. Pleasant serene place not commonly known and well hidden in the Yio Chu Kang private estate. The flora and tre...  more »
  • My wife told me about this place some time ago, finally we found the time on a weekend to pay this place a visit. And it was a great discovery for us. Hidden away in a suburb off Yio Chu Kang Road, it...  more »
  • I would of loved to of gone in to explore but there was a sign that said beware of dogs. I'm terrified of dogs so didn't know if it was true or not so I didn't go in.  more »
Google
  • Interesting place. You'll learn a bit about the Japanese people living in Singapore during the olden days. There's nothing scary about the place, in fact quite peaceful and garden-like. It is quite a walk from the nearest bus stop and is hidden among the private houses. Be careful to walk on the correct road or you will have to make detours.
  • Very well maintained, draws a steady trickle of visitors. Most signage in Japanese so don't understand most if what i saw but it is peaceful and reverential
  • A quiet and serene spot hidden in an estate. Small Japanese stylings everywhere. Place well taken of by Japanese caretakers.
  • Good and clean garden.
  • Beautiful cemetery park. It's kept in great condition by Japanese school children as part of their education and respect for the dead.

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