The Japanese Cemetery in Cowra is known because it is where the Japanese soldiers who died during the famous Cowra Breakout are buried. It is less known that about third of the people buried in the cemetery were civilians of Japanese origin and or diaspora who died whilst in internment during WWII.
The history of Japanese internment in Australia during WWII has not seen much light of the day in the wider community. Some of those interned were members of the Indigenous communities in places like Broome and Thursday Island. Others were civilians from New Caledonia, Indonesia and New Hebrides. Unlike in Canada or United States, there have been no active redress campaigns, therefore no apologies, no compensations – and no artists creating cultural productions. If it hadn’t been Dr Yuriko Nagata’s Unwanted Aliens, there would have not been any detailed research done in this area before the internees passed away or are too old to be interviewed.
My current project is about a Japanese photographer Yasukichi Murakami who is buried here.
Here is my project blog About Murakami.
– Mayu Kanamori
This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)