Iwata Murakami (centre) at the memorial service in Kiwa-cho
Iwata Murakami - former Chairman of Kiwa Club
When I took up my new post as deputy head of Iruka Junior High School in 1950, the school was still located in buildings that had been formerly used as a prison camp.
Many years later I became Chairman of the Senior Citizens Association known as Kiwa Club. In 1987 the grave of the former POWs was moved to the present location. I am sure that all 300 of them dreamt of returning home together but sadly 16 of them remained behind. As we collected the ashes of those young British soldiers who had died in a foreign land, we could not hold back the tears. It felt like they were our own sons. Local people and the mine company financed the new grave. It has become like a small memorial garden with different plants flowering in each season. It is a dream come true that many British people, especially former Iruka POWs, visit us each year.