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3rd July 1945

In the chapel of the French missionary college in Gora this week visitors saw a small wooden box containing the ashes of a Eurasian. The story behind the box is short but sinister. The deceased was the friend of a German newspaperman who, in the days when the [illegible] still [illegible] smoothly, wished to cover the Japanese home-front with more than usual thoroughness. He therefore asked his Eurasian friend to listen to the local radio every evening and furnish him the next day with a translation of the authorized and censored news broadcast. It sounded innocent enough even in Japan and the Eurasian did what was wanted. But the German newspaperman turned out to have a Jewish grandmother or something of the sort and the Gestapo suggested to the kempei that he might stand investigation on general principles. The newspaperman or ex-newspaperman thereupon quietly disappeared. The Eurasian was sorry to see his friend go and perhaps felt a twinge of uneasiness but he soon forgot. It was easier to forget.

Then one day, while the Eurasian was cutting ice-blocks near the Gora station for distribution to the German community, a policeman tapped him on the shoulder and he too disappeared. From various sources his family learned eventually that he was charged with great and grievous crimes: espionage, the transmission of military information, etc.. In what way? Well, had he not furnished certain translations to the German newspaperman?

The unfortunate Eurasian might have disappeared forever had not friends of his, connected with the Red Cross, inquired casually after his welfare some 10 or 11 months after his arrest. The answer given was that the Eurasian was alive but seriously ill in some prison hospital. Permission was given for his wife to visit him one afternoon she said her husband had been crammed with five or six others into a small Japanese room. He was emaciated almost beyond recognition, filthy, [illegible], rotting with pustules and carbuncles.

A week later she was notified of her husband’s death. She could have the body. But –a common case in wartime Japan, so common that even priests and nuns of the Catholic Church, which condemns cremation, have had to be reduced to ashes– how was she to carry the corpse back home? The body was therefore cremated and it was these cleansed remnants of the Eurasian, in their little wooden box, no bigger than a cheap table-cabinet radio, which visitors could see in the chapel of the Gora school this week.