Funeral held for slain Kobe boy

KOBE — More than 500 people, including elementary school children, attended a funeral May 30 to bid farewell to Jun Hase, an 11-year-old boy slain in bizarre circumstances, whose severed head and body were found earlier this week. The memorial service started at 1:30 p.m. at the Heian Kaikan hall in Nishi Ward here.

About 80 sixth grade students at Tainohata Elementary School sobbed as they proceeded to the altar to burn incense and to pay respects for the boy whose head was found in front of a junior high school in Suma Ward. His body was found on the same day at a place some distance from the school on a hill. “We will always be friends. We will never forget you,” one of Hase’s schoolmates said in a speech.

Mamoru Hase, the boy’s father, thanked those present at the funeral and said, “I am deeply grateful to all of you for coming to the funeral.” He did not make any references to the murder.

Another student recounted his memories of the boy during a short eulogy, according to participants, many of whom broke into weeping when the casket was carried from the funeral parlor.