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Chidorigafuchi promenade in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Year established 1959
Location Tokyo
Country Japan
Type Unidentified war dead from World War II
Size 16,500 square metres (4.1 acres)
Number of graves Multiple ossuaries containing remains of 352,297 individuals.

Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery (千鳥ケ淵戦没者墓苑 Chidorigafuchi Senbotsusha Boen?) is the national Japanese cemetery for 352,297 unidentified war dead in the Second World War (as of May 2007), near the Imperial Palace and Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Japan.

The recovery of remains from the Pacific War presented an unprecedented problem for the Japanese government, as some soldiers could not be identified due to harsh battlefield conditions, and the families of others had perished in the extensive air raids on Japan and atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 1952, the recovery committee began storing human remains in the offices of the Ministry of Welfare while it sought a more permanent structure to house and honor the dead. In 1953 the Cabinet of the Prime Minister ordered a "tomb of the unknown soldier" constructed, the site was purchased in 1956, and it was completed in March 1959. It is a public institution and is infrequently visited by the Emperor and Prime Minister.

The cemetery is sometimes mentioned in connection with the Yasukuni Shrine debate, but Chidorigafuchi serves a separate purpose. The cemetery houses the actual remains of unidentified soldiers, in place of the usual family grave. Yasukuni Shrine honors not only unidentified soldiers from the Pacific War but all people who died for the sake of the country. However, in 2006 a Liberal Democratic Party leader proposed that the cemetery be expanded so that it might honor all war dead in a way akin to Arlington National Cemetery.[1]

Legally speaking, it is not considered a graveyard due to the use of communal plots, but rather a "storeroom".

See also


  1. (Japanese) 山崎氏、千鳥ケ淵墓苑が最有力候補地と指摘 産経新聞 2006年7月2日

External links

Coordinates: 35°41′24″N 139°44′49″E / 35.69°N 139.74694°E / 35.69; 139.74694

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