Nearly three-quarters of a century after their execution, people became more and more aware of the whereabouts of the ashes of the executed Japanese war criminals. A Japanese professor discovered in a report in the American archives how the ashes of Prime Minister Tojo and six others were scattered in the Pacific Ocean. So far, the information on this matter is very limited.
American Major Luther Frierson wrote this report in early 1949, when he personally participated in the spreading of ashes for more than a week. Like the Nazi Germany summit held two years ago, the Allies hope to prevent the final resting place of war leaders from becoming a pilgrimage site for followers.
Shortly after midnight on December 23, 1948, Friesen participated in the execution of Tojo and his associates at the Sugamo Prison in Tokyo. A few hours later, their bodies were burned in a crematorium in Yokohama. The ashes were loaded on the plane on the same day.
Friesen said: “We flew to a location in the Pacific about 45 kilometers off the coast of Yokohama, where I personally scattered the cremated remains over a wide area.”
The U.S. military has done its best to make the remains disappear.
“I never knew, no one ever talked about it,” Tojo, a family member, told Japanese media.
Tojo’s 48-year-old great-grandson said: “As far as I know, the U.S. military has done its best to make the remains disappear so that these people will not be worshipped.” “If the remains have returned to nature, it is better than leaving them somewhere.”
Japanese gallows meal
Just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, General Tojo became Japanese Prime Minister. He was the spokesperson of the Japanese War, and a series of failures until mid 1944 heralded his departure. When the Americans tried to arrest him a few days after the Japanese surrender, he tried to commit suicide, but he survived a serious gunshot wound to the chest.
During the Tokyo Trial in the Asian version of the Nuremberg Trial, Tojo was sentenced to death. Commanders in Myanmar and Singapore and generals responsible for the Nanjing Massacre were also sentenced to death.
Witnesses reported that Tojo obediently walked onto the scaffold during the execution. He recently participated in a Buddhist ceremony with other prisoners, which ended with the slogan of unity.Long live‘. At Tojo’s request, the standard American rations for his gallows meal have been replaced by typical Japanese foods: rice, bean soup, and fish.
Tojo left some cut nails and a few strands of hair for his family for the funeral. However, shortly after the execution, employees of the Japanese crematorium that burned the corpse revealed that they secretly collected the ashes left in the furnace of the executed.
Although the U.S. military spokesperson denied leaving any traces of ashes, supporters handed over an urn containing ashes to his widow in 1955. Five years later, it was buried in a monument called the “Tomb of the Seven Martyrs”.