8 November 2019
Plaque marking the War Cemetry in Cowra. The Japanese War Cemetry was established in 1964, this is the only Japanese War Cemetery in Australia. There are 523 graves at the Cemetery, containing the remains of the 231 Japanese soldiers who were killed in the 1944 Cowra Breakout and all Japanese Nationals who died on Australian soil during World War II including those involved with the battle of Darwin. The land was ceded to Japan in 1963. A large black granite monument dominates the Cemetery and the burning of incense, wreaths and gifts can be seen at the Cemetery after Official Functions. Prior to 1964, the Japanese Cemetery had been cared for in an informal way by members of the Cowra RSL Sub-Branch, who kept the lawns mowed and the weeds in check. This was done as a mark of respect for the fallen soldiers at a time when there were mixed feelings concerning the Japanese. The Cemetery is the resting place for four of the Australian Soldiers killed in the Cowra Breakout, as well as other service personnel from Cowra who lost their lives in training or from illness. The Cemetery is beautifully maintained and considered a showpiece for modern military cemeteries. The Cemetery is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission through the Australian Government’s Department of Veterans Affairs.