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Japanese monk who honored Kanto massacre victims dies

Posted October. 18, 2019 07:33,   

Updated October. 18, 2019 07:33


Buddhist monk Seki Kouzen died at the age of 91 on Wednesday. He dedicated his entire life to commemorating all the Koreans who were murdered during the Kanto massacre.

Documentary filmmaker Oh Choong-kong said on Thursday that the chief monk of Kannon-ji Temple contributed greatly to shedding light on the slaughter which took place in Takatsu, Chiba following the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 where numerous Koreans were killed by Japanese farmers with their hands tied.

Unlike other villagers who tried to conceal the killings, the late monk tried to raise awareness of the tragic incident among Koreans. He built a bell tower in Takatsu to honor the victims with the help of former Hyundai Theater Chairman Kim Ui-gyeong and former director of the Korean folk drama research center Shim U-seong, who passed away in 2016 and 2018 respectively. He organized a memorial ceremony for the victims every year at Kannon-ji Temple, which is located near the place of the massacre. With a Japanese civic group, he also convinced villagers to help him find the remains of the victims. The excavation began in 1998 and found the remains of six victims so far, which are now buried next to the memorial of the massacre.

The filmmaker made a documentary titled “The Slaughter of Koreans,” which follows the life of the late monk and the process of building the bell tower, in 1985. He said, “Seki Kouzen is a man with a conscience who made the shameful mass killings known to the world.”