As Manipur recovers its World War II past

#1 Dec 3rd, 2017, 21:10
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As Manipur recovers its World War II past, it digs into both Japanese and British version of events


Gurkhas advancing with Lee tanks to clear the Japanese from Imphal-Kohima road [N.E. India] | British Information Service, Wikimedia Commons

Quote:
Earlier this month, a team from the Japan Association for Recovery and Repatriation of War Casualties travelled to Manipur. They were searching for the remains of Japanese soldiers killed in the Second World War. Seventy years after they died, three soldiers were cremated at Red Hill, or Maibam Lokpa Ching, where a Japanese War memorial was built in 1994 to commemorate 50 years of the battle with British troops in these hills.

For decades, Japan has collected and recollected fragments of its devastating war history. “Bone collecting” missions were sent to various parts of the Asia-Pacific and on the 70th anniversary of the war, the Japanese government revealed plans to repatriate the remains of over one million soldiers.

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in the North East, which saw fierce skirmishes between Axis and Allied forces during the war. Earlier this year, it was announced that Japan would set up a war memorial museum in Manipur. It has also organised cultural exchange programmes with students from Manipur and Nagaland, and promised to build a hospital and hire nurses from Manipur. Apart from geopolitical calculations, there seems to be an attempt by Japan to make peace with the past in the old theatres of conflict.

What of Manipur? The Japan Association was felicitated by the Second World War Imphal Campaign Foundation, which has also set up a museum displaying relics found in the state. The members of the foundation started researching the war in 2007 and only got themselves registered as a trust with the government in 2013, said Yumnam Rajeshore Singh, its president. They have travelled the countryside, digging for relics and for stories. Memories of the war run deep in Manipur. “Every family is somehow connected with the war,” said Singh.

Excavating these memories means coming to terms with trauma and loss that the war inflicted on its residents. It also means digging on both sides of the war, that of the British victory and of Japanese defeat. Manipur, with its diverse communities and political movements, would not be slotted on any one side.
#2 Dec 13th, 2017, 21:03
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I recently visited many of these destinations...
In fact, Nagaland should be included too in the list.

There are scores of scattered remains of the great war in the region.

There are two cemeteries in Imphal, along with the Japanese memorial as well as the INA museum.

In Kohima, you have another cemetery and also in Kisama, there is a WWII museum.
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#3 Dec 13th, 2017, 22:51
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Originally Posted by TravellingSlacker View Post
There are scores of scattered remains of the great war in the region.
It's the other one that is sometimes referred to as the "Great War".
#4 Dec 14th, 2017, 11:15
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Originally Posted by Golghar View Post It's the other one that is sometimes referred to as the "Great War".
I read a story somewhere whose plot involved a forgery which was caught as the forger wrote a letter with the date 1935 calling it the first world war. The dashing detective caught it in the first reading but didn't tell us since the second last paragraph
#5 Dec 15th, 2017, 20:36
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Originally Posted by TravellingSlacker View Post .. Nagaland should be included too in the list... There are scores of scattered remains of the great war in the region. There are two cemeteries in Imphal, along with the Japanese memorial as well as the INA museum. In Kohima, you have another cemetery and also in Kisama, there is a WWII museum.
I didn't see any list anywhere? But anyway, Imphal was surely important but as we know Kohima was where the real horror of battle took place.

and I may have said it previously somewhere but the battle to repel the Japanese really came down to the hand to hand across the tennis court at the collector's bungalow.. Where it's hardly surprising that remains can be found considering the intensity and viciousness of the grenade and mortar usage... truly horrible siege conditions for all.

Tens of thousands more Japanese starved in a catastrophic retreat eastwards. They called the journey back to Burma the ‘Road of Bones’, as friends and comrades committed suicide or dropped dead from hunger along the jungle paths. Fergal Keane's book of the Kohima siege is outstanding.

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