Help preserve Aoyama Cemetery's foreign section.
The Foreign Section Trust celebrates the international community's role in Japan's history and helps preserve a record of individuals' activities and achievements.
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It's o-hanami season again!
Sorry for the short notice, but the blossoms are appearing even earlier this year. Please join us and feel free to invite your friends:
DATE: Sunday, March 29 -- no rain date
TIME: 11:00 a.m. to dusk
PLACE: Aoyama Cemetery, south side of the Foreign section
(same place as last year under the early blooming tree)
View map of the area (The cross hairs indicate the approximate location of "the tree".)
View close up of the area.
WHAT TO BRING: Your favorite food and drink and a cushion. If you are coming in a group, please bring a ground sheet and, in any event, help to clean up before you leave.
Please let me know if you are going to attend: jonathan at foreignsection.org
The 2008 hanami is scheduled for Sunday, March 30, a bit earlier than last year's. It will be in the same location, near or under the early blossoming tree.
Time: 10:00 - 16:00
What to bring: Family and friends, your favorite food and drinks, and a cushion, if you want to sit comfortably.
Rain Date: There isn't one. Bring an umbrella!
If you have any questions, send e-mail to me: jonathan at foreignsection dot org. Would also appreciate you letting me know if you will attend.
Information about the Foreign Section has been etched into a new metal sign to the left of the memorial stone.
Close-ups of parts of the sign and accompanying higher resolution pictures are below:
The text at the top of the sign. A higher resolution picture is here.
(Roughly translated) In Meiji 10, the Foreign Section was established and designated as an area for burial of foreigners in Aoyama cemetery. The first burial was in Meiji 13. After Meiji 32, it lost its special status and became part of Aoyama cemetery. The people who contributed to the modernization of Japan and their families are buried here. The graves are maintained by their descendants and relatives. The graves which don't have anybody to pay their maintenance fees after Heisei 18, are in the custody of Tocho. The unique headstones reflect the pride and caring of the families and friends that erected them. You are invited to walk around and discover the people who helped to modernize Japan, how their families and friends felt about them, and the era. (A better translation would be welcome!)
A list of important people and their location in the Foreign Section is on the bottom left of the sign. A higher resolution picture is here.
A map of the entire Foreign Section is in the bottom right of the sign. Higher resolution picture is here.
This map replaces the old map. Notice that although the layout of the plots is essentially the same as in the the old map, the old one has the names of the important people AND "unimportant" people. This erasure of the "unimportant" people from the public record is of concern.
A letter requesting approval for the establishment of the Foreign Section to the Central govt. from Tocho and the central govt's approval is in the middle of the sign. A higher resolution picture is here.
This shot of the 2nd phase of construction was taken from the road at the South end of the Foreign Section, looking West down the path passing under the early blooming cherry tree . (The stump of an uprooted tree is on the bottom right. The trunk of the early blooming cherry can be seen in the top left.)
The second round of construction will improve visibility and access to the plots and stones through the removal of greenery and benches, and laying of cement walkways.
The construction will be completed at the end of February 2008 at a cost to taxpayers of nearly 45 million yen. See a close up of the sign.
This view is of a space that had a bench and was full of bushes right next to the spot where we hold hanami. We'll just have to wait and see what it looks like in early April when the cherry blossoms open.
Tocho officials unveiling the monument commemorating the achievements of the foreigners who came to Japan in the 19th and 20th century.
The dedication ceremony commemorating the contribution of foreigners to the modernization of Japan was lightly attended by about 20 relatives and friends of the deceased.
Cherry blossom petals showered the event; the wind blew them into pink petal drifts. Also in attendance were about 20 functionaries from Tocho's Parks and Cemeteries Construction section, and again about the same number of press, including representatives from some of the major TV stations. Notably absent was Tokyo Governor Ishihara who commissioned the stone. It seems odd that he would recognize the contribution of foreigners then not show up. Is this in character with his well-documented xenophobic, anti-foreigner stance? On the other hand, it may not be so odd -- it is Ishihara using one stone (so to speak) to kill two birds : by not showing up, he his distancing himself from the sentiment displayed on the stone, satisfied that future generations' view of him will be enhanced AND the memorial can be used quietly to subsume the graves of "unimportant people" which is the intent of erecting the stone to begin with....
The ceremony ended with a distribution of souvenirs.
Trees in full bloom in the morning of the 2007.4.1 hanami in the Foreign Section of Aoyama cemetery.
O-hanami 2007 was a great success with many familiar faces, some 40 adults, a couple of children, and a dog hanging out over the course of the day. As usual. the food was fantastic and the wine plentiful. Thanks to all who came and sorry there aren't more pictures to put up:
Although the construction was finished, as you can see the ambiance was marred by the barriers which had been left up. Our tree had passed its peak, and was showering us with its delicate pink petals, but the trees nearby were in full bloom.
The backside view of the monument re-wrapped.
The ceremony for the unveiling of the monument will be held on April 4 at 10:00 a.m. We've been told that those who are paying the fees for the plots have been invited, but Governor Ishihara will probably not attend.
The 2007 hanami is on for Sunday, April 1 and we hope you will join us near or under the tree that blooms early. While "the tree" will have already lost many of its blossoms, there are sure to be others peaking in the vicinity, affording the proper ambiance for revelry and reflection on the bittersweet transience of both cherry blossoms and life.
Time: 10:00 - 15:00
What to bring: Family and friends, your favorite food and drinks, and a cushion
If you have any questions, send e-mail to me on fst at foreignsection dot org. We hope to see you there.
Debris litters the "Foreign Section" construction site as the facade nears completion. Memorial is in the center of the frame behind the pair of orange cones.
Here is a close up of the monument.
The English side says (and this is a scoop):
Laid to rest here in the 'Foreign Section' of the Aoyama Cemetery are men and women who came to Japan in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of them played leading roles and contributed greatly to the modernization of Japan. We have erected this monument to commemorate their achievements and ensure their memory is passed on to posterity. March , 2007 [sic]
The sentiment somewhat fits with what we have been saying on this website, however, we note that Tokyo Governor Ishihara has killed two birds with one stone at taxpayer expense: he offsets his well-documented racist remarks directed at foreigners living and working in Japan, and at the same time sets the groundwork for future bureaucrats to remove graves.
On balance though — and this is very good news — it seems that after our repeated calls for documentation on Tocho's intention to preserve all the graves, Tocho in January of 2007 made a document stating it will do so. (The document will be uploaded to this site when it's translated.)
Removal of bushes and stonework in preparation for construction of a viewing platform and Ishihara's proposed memorial started sometime in the week of JAN 22, 2007.
Below is a before picture, not quite from the same angle as the above, but the street light in both pictures is a good reference point.
Coincidentally, there is an article (republished in pdf with no permission and for no monetary gain) in today's The Japan Times on the fate of another park in Okubo that eerily echoes what has happened -- the voice of taxpayers left unheard while those of associations were heeded -- and what may be in store for the Foreign Section.
Publishing our letter here as promised is moot, but just for the record, here it is in both English and Japanese:
Further explanation of Tocho's rationale for removing bushes and benches in the Foreign section has come to light:
Briefly, the removal of bushes and benches is also to make it difficult for homeless people to move in.
As far as progress in our communications with Tocho, in response to the earlier explanation below and the above addition, a letter has been sent, which will also appear in its entirety with the English version here soon. In addition, a press release is available upon request.
Tocho's plan is to create more parkland in Tokyo by refurbishing Aoyama Cemetery. They are now executing their plan to repurpose the cemetery and will turn the Foreign Section into an attraction in the cemetery.
Specifically, Tocho plans to renovate the area between the sidewalk and the first row of plots to create a viewing platform from which visitors can see the gravestones. Because the land slopes downward into the Foreign Section, the platform will require a protective barrier, steps and ramps to provide access to the cemetery. They will try to use materials that look natural.
Building the platform necessitates the removal of the bushes along the sidewalk. In addition, bushes and trees within the Foreign Section will be removed so that when people snap a photo they will get pictures of the stones, not shrubbery. Tocho plans to plant grass where trees and bushes are removed.
The land where the platform is proposed (as well as some other areas within the Foreign Section) is owned by Tocho, so they do not require permission from plot owners to remove the sidewalk bushes. They have notified owners of plots whose greenery may be removed and have received no complaints so far. Perhaps people using the graves will be happier without trees and bushes because they won't need to remove dead leaves. Tocho doesn’t know which trees are from the Meiji era, but says that some of the trees and plants will be replanted elsewhere in the cemetery and the remainder will be turned into chips or fertilizer.
Tocho is going to make a new sign about the people in the Foreign Section, but they know not when. A pamphlet about some of the famous people in Aoyama Cemetery was made last summer. Further "software things" are under discussion, but no decision has been made about funding historical research, or if the historical information could be disclosed.
Tocho added that there is a regulation giving Tocho the right to remove stones, graves, and bones if maintenance fees are not paid for five years, but Tocho decided in a meeting that they would not remove any gravestones from the Foreign Section when the right to use the land reverts to Tocho. These meeting minutes exist, but they must be requested through a "freedom of information form.” We requested meeting minutes via the form, but our request was denied.
Tocho explained that the only way to temporarily stop the construction is if a bomb is found on the site, or if a politician talks about it in the Diet, or many people demonstrate in front of the office in charge of construction.
End Tocho's explanation
In character with the Cemetery and Parks division's modus operandi of withholding information until it is a done deal, we received the other half of the plans on TUE:
This bird's eye view of the Gaijin bochi shows that virtually all of the bushes and some trees will be removed. We understand that this is to provide an unobstructed view of graves, which in of itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but we believe the charm of the cemetery will be lost.
We urge you to write to Tocho and Governor Ishihara to call for a halt to these plans and preservation of the site.
1) Tocho's e-mail: koe AT metro.tokyo.jp
(Please cc sachiko AT foreignsection DOT org so that she can also forward your mail to the Parks and Cemetery division.)
2) Governor's snail mail: Governor Shintaro Ishihara, 2-8-1 NishiShinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, 163-8001.
Details from TUE's meeting are forthcoming.
The last four months of 2006 were uneventful, yet a bit frustrating, because it was only after repeated requests for documentation on Tocho's plans for the Gaijin bochi that they finally released the drawings for the budgeted construction.
The release of the plans came AFTER Tocho issued a tender, received bids and chose a contractor.
The artist rendering shows that bushes will be replaced by what appears to be a facade that is intended to raise the visibility of the Gaijin bochi. A monument and low wall will be constructed and cement and tile laid. What you can't see are the planned steps and ramps for wheelchair access leading into the foreign section just behind the monument and what might be inscribed on it.
We recognize that the construction plan is in line with Tocho's promise not to move or remove graves for the time being, but the planned construction makes the cemetery less green, and provides for no historical preservation.
Here is our response to Tocho's plan in English and Japanese.
Below are links to the Koho, which among other things, contains documents listing plots in the Gaijin bochi reverting to Tocho. The first document contains one name and the second 58.
Copy and paste the above link, then click on the link corresponding to the following date and reference number: 18年2月13日 定刊第13632号
Then click on the link corresponding to the following date and reference number:
Our updated database is here.
The plots reverting to Tocho are marked in lavender.
The 59 names are of those who originally leased plots in the Gaijin bochi and have not paid maintenance fees for more than five years. After cross-checking the names in the Koho with those in our database, we can construe that there are at least 68 deceased whose stones and/or remains can now be moved or removed by Tocho. The good news is graves of 43 individuals have been saved. However, Tocho has said that they are not going to remove any graves for the time being.
We continue to seek more information on the construction plan for the Gaijin bochi and will update this space as soon as we have them.
Our tree was in full bloom, and the weather cooperated.
Thanks to the forty of you who attended over the course of the day and made the hanami a memorable one. See the pictures here. Deep apologies to those who never made it into any of the photos.
Thanks also go to Jeremy and Tateda-san for their contributions to the gallery.
The hanami is on for Sunday MARCH 26! The cherry
blossoms are cooperating; let's hope the weather
Time: 11:30 a.m. --> 18:30ish
What to bring: Your favorite food and drink, a cushion, and if you plan to stay late, warm clothes
Rain date: APRIL 2
Feel free to bring family and friends and to spread
the word. If you drop me a line at fst at foreignsection dot org
to tell me you are coming, I'll keep you in the loop in the
event the weather looks bad.
Here is the link to the announcment in Japanese http://ii-idea.com/jp/pro
An impromptu gathering for all those interested in preserving the foreign section of Aoyama Bochi has been scheduled in conjunction with the customary grave visits and the Autumn Equinox.
DATE: Sunday, September 25, 2005
TIME: 1 - 4 p.m.
WHAT TO BRING: your own drinks and lunch
RAIN DATE: Sunday, OCT 02, same time, same place
COST: Free, but donations gratefully accepted
Come get some fresh air, put some faces to the names, and stroll around. To let us know that you are coming or for more details, send us mail: email@example.com . Feel free to spread the word.
A Japanese sister site for the FLS has been launched, and a link has been placed on
this page, at the botom of the sidebar on the left.
When you get there, check out the zoom in from outer space into the
foreign section of Aoyama bochi in the top left corner, and see the database
of names by clicking on お墓のデータ（表）link in the box in the lower
left of the page.
Many, many thanks to Noriko Tsuda for volunteering many, many hours of her time to bringing the Japanese site to life.
Donatella Failla, Director of Museo d’Arte Orientale E. Chiossone talks about the man and his tomb in Aoyama Cemetery
To listen to the interview and see the accompanying notes, please go to http://hanashi-station.org .
Everyone is welcome to drop by on an informal gathering in the foreign section planned for Saturday, June 4 @ 2:30.
Andy will be leading a fact-checking mission and welcomes others to assist.
Jonathan will be recording a podcast interviewing Donatella Failla, head of the Chiossone Museum in Genoa. Will also interview others that are present on their interest in preserving the foreign section.
If it is raining intermittently, we will go ahead with the plan. If it is raining heavily, Sunday, June 5, 2-ish will be the rain date.
Now that the board has the NPO application ready to submit, we are putting together plans and teams to work on our projects and goals.
Are you interested in helping? I hope so, because to succeed, FLS needs your enthusiasm and participation. Here are some of the things we're going to need your talents to do:
- website development & design
- writing & translation (press releases, website content and lots more!)
- historical research
- organizing cemetery tours
What else can you help with? The options are (almost) limitless. If you don't see your favorite thing on this list, suggest it!
Send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to jump in to help.
The paperwork for the establishment of the NPO, the Foreign Legacy Society, is just about ready and Jim O'Connell has kindly agreed to host the meeting to formalize the organization.
Here is the aim of the FLS as it stands now:
目 的）第３条 この法人は、国内海外を問わず、広く一般社会の人々に対して、日本に縁のある外国(人)の歴史や記憶を明らかにし、それを後世に伝えるために教育の機会を設け、それを遺産として保存することに関する事業を行い、日本の歴史に対する理解を深め、ひいては日本と海外の相互理解、文化交流に寄与することを目的とする。
Our organization exists for the good of the general public, both in Japan and abroad. Through our activities, we aim to increase awareness of foreigners' contributions to Japan's history and aid in enhancing mutual understanding and cultural relations between Japan and other countries. We will actively seek opportunities to pass on and protect their legacy.
Anyone who agrees with this aim is invited to become a founding member:
Date: Monday, May 9, 2005
Time: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m
Location: Shinjuku-ku, Nakacho --> 3 minute walk from subway(address and map provided upon request)
What to bring: Your favorite non-alcoholic beverage for consumption during the meeting; alcohol and snacks for consumption afterwards; and your own copies of all relevant docs which will be posted online by Sunday afternoon.
Agenda: (time allowed in minutes)
Elect: Chairman and Secretary (5)
Approve: Description/history of FLS essay (2)
Two-year business plan and list of projects (10)
Elect: Board members (10)
Special advisors (5)
Approve: Non-remuneration policy (5)
Going ahead with the NPO and making Sachiko responsible for the paperwork (5)
Gather: Membership applications (5)
Other business: (15)
Wrap up: (next steps) (17)
(Total: 120 minutes)
Toast to the establishment of FLS:
Mingle and schmooze: (until Jim kicks us out)
Let me, fst at foreignsection dot org, know if you can attend either in person or via audio/video (ichat or skype) and I'll be sure you have access to the relevant docs in advance of the meeting.
Cheers and looking forward to seeing everybody on Monday.
In addition to the threatened graves in Aoyama Cemetery, Zoshigaya Cemetery (located in Toshima-ku near Ikebukuro) plots have also been served notice.
The payment of fees at Zoshigaya was due on September 1, 2004. Although none of the graves have been moved since, it seems as though many are still marked--signs were removed, but the numbered posts remain.
A phone call to the Zoshigaya Cemetery office indicated that there are no immediate plans for selling plots, removing graves or creating a park.
The FST will include these graves in its scope, and begin a dialogue about them with the city and with the University to see what we can do to preserve them.
For the first Foreign Section Trust O-Hanami, the prime spot was secured under the cherry tree that blossoms early every year.
About 60 people attended from 11am to 7pm. About 10 stayed until 10pm.
See the pictures here.
Apologies for not getting good pictures of everyone.
Update: The hanami will be happening tomorrow, April 2. While we may not have today's sunshine, it doesn't look like we'll have rain, so please join us for what will be a very pleasant and convivial appreciation of the cherries, the bochi, and the sweet transience of life. We hope to see you there.
Please join the Foreign Section Trust for a relaxing day of eating and drinking under the cherry blossoms.
We also invite you to stroll around the section to get acquainted with the historic significance of the foreigner's section of Aoyama Cemetery. FST members will be on hand to discuss the city's plans to replace part of the cemetery with a park and how you can get involved with the urgent task of preserving this piece of Japan's history.
Date: Saturday, April 2, 2005 (rain dates: April 3 and April 9)
Time: 11am - 7pm
What to bring: Your favorite food and drink
Place: Under the cherry tree at the the south end of Aoyama Cemetery's foreign section.
Map of the area View map
Close up of the area View map
Feel free to link to, mention in your publication, or forward this invitation to your Japanese and foreign friends. Download Hanami flyer J & E (1.9 MB PDF)
For more info contact fst at foreignsection dot org.
日時 ： 2005年4月2日(土) 11:00 ～ 19:00
参加費 ： 無料です！
持ち物 ： ご自分の飲み物と食べ物をご持参ください。
場所 ： 青山霊園外人墓地の南側にある桜の木の下でお会いしましょう！
The Foreign Section Trust（FST)は、日本における初期の駐在外国人の墓所の保存を目指し活動しているグループです。
チラシのダウンロード J & E (1.9 MB PDF)
周辺地図 View map
花見会場地図 View map
お問い合わせ e-mail: fst @ foreignsection . org
The plans incorporate parklets into the cemetery.
To follow up on the 2/21 fact finding mission, Sachiko, Stephen, and I went to the 23rd floor of Tocho to meet with Minowa-san and Hayashi-san in Kensetsu-Kyoku Koen-Ryokuchi-bu Reien-ka, Bureau of Construction of Parks, Green Areas and Cemeteries.
The upshot is the Foreign Section Trust is making headway toward persuading the authorities to treat the foreign section as an historical site in its entirety and establishing a constructive relationship on how this can be achieved.
They suggested that the relationship could take the form of a liaison between families and the cemetery management office, but more importantly, the door to providing a “safety net” for unclaimed graves could be opened via an NPO. Falling into that net are the graves not claimed by family, or deemed not important enough to save by the government, or the some forty graves listed as unknown by the city, half of which have been identified by us.
Their suggestions, of course, are subject to the vagaries of the city’s bureaucracy and plan to consolidate the section to make way for a park, but the formation of an NPO is clearly the path to achieve the FST’s aims.
The meeting with the lawyer, Stephen, in Ark Hills was very beneficial in that it highlighted some of the legal constraints we may be forced to deal with while pointing the way to the larger strategic direction we should take.
The upshot of the meeting was that we need to grow awareness and support for the cause upwards to create a group of prominent Japanese citizens whose eminence in their fields causes the city to pay attention.
Framing the cause firmly as a Japanese historical issue is essential to avoid the perception that (a) this is just about protecting foreigners' graves, and (b) that this is just a foreigners' issue. We need to ensure that we're seen as wanting to preserve an important piece of Japanese history, specifically Meiji history, when the country was first opening its doors to the West and when it borrowed heavily from foreign expertise in the development of the country.
The following people are listed on the Kampo for not having paid their debts. There is a total of 71 known persons.
サラアンコ・ホスキング Sara Ann Hosking
リチヤード・ホスキング Richard Hosking
サメロ・ウッドマン Rev. Edmund Woodman
メーイ・エル・ウドマン May Laselle Woodman
エック・エﾑ・ハオー Henry A. Howe
ボールデナニー Paul Tennant
エム・テー・ツル Maria T. True
イー・アル・ホルムス E. L. Holmes
エム・マア・アレキサダア Emma Alexander
チヤールス・イー・ガースト Charles E. Garst
サムエル・シヨン・ミリケン Samuel John Milliken
オリブホワイテイング・ヒシヨップ Olive Whiting Bishop
アールピー・アレキサンダー Alexander Albey?
ミセス・メリー・フオレブックチヤベル Mary Holbrook Chappell
フェリス・フランシス・ジョンス Willis Frances Jones
ベンヂァミン・チャペル Benjamin Chappell
フロラ・ベスト・ハリス Flora Best Harris
フローレンス-・イリザベス・ハリス Florence Elizabeth Harris
マーガレット・デンビー Margaret Denbigh
トーマス・ライテング・グリーン Thomas Ryding Green
アレキサンダー・マクミルン Alexander MacMillan
スミス・ヒュバット Hubert Smith
スミス・ドレッパ Draper Almerin Smith
スミス・ヘーベン Haven Smith
マイラ・イーニッド・ドレーパ Mira Enid Draper
ピー・エー・スミス Percy Almerin Smith
インネッド・D・スミス I. D. Smith
メリー・ビー・タフト Merry B. Taft
ブーベキトリヤ Victoria Dening
アルトエテルス・リレスウエル・ホール A. Hall
ウエレアム・シルバー・ホール William Silver Hall
ウエリアム・オリバー・ホール William Oliver Hall
ビー・ウエ・ヘロット Benjamin Vernor Herod
ブエラ・エカルト Vera Eckert
ヒュー・フレサル Hugh Fraser
ウダー・エッグルト Dr. Udo Eggert
ブエルトラン J. B. Verdolin
エルウイン・クオルグ・カエフマン Erwin Kaufman
シルビア Sylvia-Maria Paternostro
ハルリート・ベルクマン Harold Velkman
アレキサンダー・ピーポーター Alex Pope Porter
アセト・ロイド Arthur Lloyd
ルス・スクワイヤ Ruth Squire
アドルフ・ルボウスキー Adolf Lubowski
アライス・ビッショップ Alice Bishop
パウル・エーモン Paul Ehmann
トーマス・ローズ Thomas Rose (?)
エクダブリユー・ハムモンド Frederick William Hammond
カール・フローレンツ Karl Florents
ルーセタヘリナ・クレメント Lucetta H Clement
エム・シー・ロー M. C. Rowe
ジャバス・ホームス Gervas Holmes
カイザーユン・クベン Caesar Holmes
ウィリアム・ダグラス・コックス William Douglas Cox
トマスカウエン THOMAS COWEN
カール・フライグ KARL FLAIG
According to the Kampo, there are 126 names that are unidentified. From this group, Andy counted 39 "unknown" markers on the graves, however there is the possibility that the cemetery has made mistakes, so the number could be as high as 41. From this list, he was able to identify 21 graves, leaving the total number unknown of 20. The following is a list of the known "unknowns".
Ralph Burgess Hosking
Infant baby - Hosking family
Isidoro Francisco Louverio
John Ashburner Cordon
Maurice E. R. Woodman
Raymond Theodore Bradbury
Charles Cory Bradbury
Harry P. Knott
Bishop Merriman Colbert Harris
E. L. James
Son of William J. and Clara May Bishop
John Carroll Wright
Annie Grace Newton
Charlotte Prickney Brown-Draper
This is the text of the notice placed on the graves at Aoyama Cemetery. Thanks to Andy Edsall for providing the translation.
NOTICE FROM THE CITY OF TOKYO
In order to maintain the cemetery, unattended graves will be reburied. Persons with a rightful connection to the deceased and the grave are asked to please contact the office listed below within one year from the date listed below.
In cases where no one comes forward during the timeframe, please understand that the remains will be considered unattended and subject to reburial.
Date: 2004, October 1st
Cemetery Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Minami Aoyama 2-32-2
Name of Cemetery: Tokyo-to Aoyama Cemetery
Names and Origins of Deceased: Origins of deceased are unknown
(name of deceased)
Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Nishi-Shinjuku 2-chome 8-1
Governor of Tokyo, Mr. Shintaro Ishihara
Tokyo-to Aoyama Cemetery Management Office
Phone Number: 03-3401-3652
Sachiko and I visited the Aoyama Reien Kanri Jimusho (Aoyama Cemetery Management) and Tokyo-to Kensetsu-Kyoku Koen-Ryokuchi-bu Reien-ka (Bureau of Construction of Parks, Green Areas and Cemeteries) with these objectives:
1) get a a map (preferably a surveyor's map) of the Foreign Section.
2) get the list of the "served" tombs and what is owed on each one.
3) announce the intentions of the Foreign Section Trust.
This is how we fared towards meeting those objectives:
From the Management office, we obtained a map (a clean copy of this one) and enough information about how the plots are divided up to make guesstimates on what could be owed.
The folks at the Management office were helpful but...
According to a February 19, 2005 Yomiuri Shimbun article, the Tokyo Government has served notice on scores of tombs in Aoyama Cemetery's foreign section: have their maintenance fees paid by October 2005 or face removal.
Concerned about what this means for a particular slice of Japan's history, we have formed a community action group, the Foreign Section Trust. Its first project is to preserve the foreign section of Aoyama Bochi. It also aims to preserve and acknowledge the history of the expatriate community's contribution to the development of Japan.