Hideki Tojo: His grave at Zoshigaya Cemetery

Hideki Tojo was an Imperial Japanese Army general and the country’s 27th prime minister. He was a member of the group that advocated a “preventive war” against the United States. That ended with Japan being devastated and him being executed. Is he revered or reviled? There is no easy answer. It often depends on who you talk to and their nationality.

Whatever the answer, Tojo is a historically important person. History buffs might want to photograph his grave. It is in Zoshigaya Cemetery. I’ve photographed it a few times.

Hideki Tojo Zoshigaya grave
Tojo's grave with business card "mailbox" in front.

The mystery of Hideki Tojo’s Zoshigaya grave

Tojo’s post-war story is quite long and involved. I won’t comment on his trial. That is well-documented. But here is a brief explanation of why he ended up in this cemetery. And I must admit it is unsatisfactory.

After the war, Tojo attempted suicide when the Occupation Forces arrested him. Upon his recovery, he was sent to Sugamo Prison. The International Military Tribunal for the Far East found him guilty of war crimes. It sentenced him to death on November 12, 1948.

That sentence was carried out at Sugamo Prison prison on December 23, 1948.  He was executed by hanging. And this leaves us with a mystery. The history books say his ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean. So why does he have a grave at Zoshigaya Cemetery?

The grave is a cenotaph. Why was it made? I can only say, I don’t know. But, wouldn’t it be natural for his family to make one? No matter what he was convicted of, they and many others would need a place to pay respects to him. That is probably the answer.

Where is the Hideki Tojo grave?

It’s in Zoshigaya Cemetery, near the administration office. I would recommend you go there first to pick up a cemetery map. His grave is on it. It is number thirty-five

Notes about photographing the grave

  • The grave is austere. 
  • It is a simple tower-style tombstone.
  • As you can see in the photos, it is well-kept. Fresh flowers are often laid at its base.
  • Trees surround the grave.
  • There is little space around the ground. I found no need for a tripod.
  • A “mailbox” is on the left side. It is for visitor’s business cards.
Tojo Hideki grave marker
Tojo's grave marker.

What photo gear did I use for these photos?

Camera body:  Fujifilm X-T3

Lenses:

  • Fujifilm XF 10-24 mm F4 R OIS WR
  • Fujifilm XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

External articles about Hideki Tojo

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