JAPAN: The Last Sayonara

Hikotaro Hirano was a 22-year-old foot soldier stationed in Manchuria when he died in battle against the invading Russians in the final week of World War II. Late last month his aging parents and a small group of mourners filed through the rain into a peaceful Buddhist temple outside Osaka. There, after a priest sounded a massive gong to begin a memorial sutra, the worshipers paid their silent respects to Hikotaro's memory. According to the Buddhist calendar, it was the 33rd anniversary of his death—the date on which the spirits of the dead are...

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