Thursday, July 14, 2011
The Hawaiian islands are dotted with old Japanese cemeteries that date back as far as the early 1900′s. The grounds are usually maintained but the markers themselves are often in a state of disrepair, leading me to wonder if the people buried in these places have all become separated over time from anyone connected to them.
We passed one such cemetery on the way to the red sand beach in Hana. It sat high on a hill with a nice view of the ocean. The same could not be said for several of the markers which, together with their foundations, lay toppled and broken on the beach below, having surrendered to decades of wind and rain.
The kanji-covered monuments in the Honohina Cemetery on Hawaii’s Big Island appeared somewhat more recent and in better condition. They all had white numbers stenciled on the side of them, suggesting that someone was trying to keep track of who these people once were.
The monument in the final image is striking due to the swastika displayed prominently on its base. Although many people in the west associate this symbol with the Nazis, it is actually an ancient Hindu and Buddhist religious symbol associated with eternity. The Nazi swastika is reversed and set at a 45 degree angle compared to this one.
[Click on a thumbnail to view the entire image.]
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