Group visits gravesites in N. Korea

JIJI

A group of Japanese offered prayers Saturday at the gravesites of relatives who died on the Korean Peninsula toward the end of World War II in an area that is now part of North Korea.

The former cemetery sits on a hillside in the Ranam district of Chongjin in the northeastern province of North Hamgyong. Buried there are Japanese who lived in and around Chongjin during Japan’s colonial rule of the peninsula, which started in 1910 and ended when it lost the war in 1945.

Gravestones can still be seen on the hillside, where corn is now grown.

One member of the group, Kuniyasu Ishihara, 78, was living in Ranam before the end of the war. He said he took the body of his father, who had died of a disease in 1943, to a crematorium near the cemetery.