Monday, March 12, 2012

Japanese monk guards remains of tsunami unknown

One year ago yesterday, Sunday, March 11, marks the 1 year anniversary of the Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami...

Hundreds of the 19,000 people killed by Japan's horrific quake-tsunami remain unmourned, their bodies never claimed because there is no one left to notice they have gone.

But one Buddhist monk has lovingly stored the ashes and bones of some of those whose names no one knows in the hope that one day they can be reunited with their families.

Every day for the last year, Ryushin Miyabe has offered prayers and lit incense for the souls in his care at the Myokoin temple in Yamamoto, a small town on Japan's tsunami-wrecked coast.

Buddhist tradition dictates that a body is cremated and the ashes are placed in an urn, along with the bones that remain.

The urn is put in a family grave, which Japanese traditionally believe to be the gateway to the next world, one through which souls can return every year during the summer festival of Obon.

The grave must be cared for by surviving family, who in return, expect spiritual protection from their deceased relatives.

Nationwide, 500 bodies recovered after the huge waves swept ashore have still not been identified, and more than 3,000 of those who died have never been found....

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