To Japanese

[Modern History] A Monument to Fallen Japanese Soldeirs




A few months ago, Mr. Duncan Graham, a correspondent to The Jakarta Post Newspaper, sent to me an email with picture of a memorial to thirty Japanese soldiers, which he recently encountered, to ask me if I had some knowledge about the monument. I have made a little research and answered as follows.




I think you found the memorial in the Taman Prasasti Museum at Tanah Abang. Once I saw the same memorial when I was visiting around Tanah Abang and other places in Jakarta to investigate viz. the traces of Pieter Erberveld[1], and Michiel T’ Sobe [2] (See, Fig.1(left) and Fig.1(right)) for writing my “Java Essay”, but passed by the memorial without taking its picture myself.




Fig.1 (Left) The monument of Pieter Erberveld with his skull (replica), Taman Prasasti Museum, Tanah Abang. Photo taken by M. Iguchi 22/09/2006.[3]   (Right) Tombstone of Michiel T’ Sobe. From: F. de Haan, Oud Batavia – Gedenboek uitgegeven Genootschp van Kunsten en wetenschappen naar aanleiding van het driehonderdjarrig bestaan der stad 1919 (Eerste Deel), G.Kolff & Co., Batavia 1922. The text reads: HIER RUST D’EERSAME MICHIEL T’SOBE CHRISTEN JAPANDER GEBOOREN TOT NANGASACKI DEN XV AUGUST °A 1605 OBYT DEN XIX APRIL A° 1663. [4]




The epigraph on the front side of the Memorial in the Picture received from you (Fig.2) reads in detail as “Memorial to the 30 Fallen Soldiers of the Hiroyasu Corps.” In the rear side is inscribed, in the first line (far right), “Soldiers fallen around here in the 3rd - 4th March, the 17th year of Showa (1947)” and the names of Army Major: Kesaichi Ito (second right) and others in the following lines.




Fig.2 Photograph of the Memorial to the thirty Japanese Soldiers,received from Mr. Duncan Graham,June 2022.



On the panel on the basement, in front of the stone monument, is inscribed in Indonesian as follows.

Pasukan Tentara Complex Bataliyon 16, Divisi2 dari Kota Shibata, prop. Niigata, Jepang, yang gugur melawan tertara sekutu di Sungai Ciantung, Desa Leuwiliang, Bogor Jawa Barat. Tgl. 3-4 Maret, Tahun 17 Showa (1942). [nama 30 orang] Leuwiliang ,Juni 1942.

(English translation): The troops of 16th Battalion Complex Army, from Shibata City, Division 2 Niigata Prefecture, Japan, killed by the Allied Forces at the Ciantung River, Leuwiliang Village, Bogor, West Java. Date March 3-4, year 17 Showa (1942). [Names of 30 soldiers] Leuwiliang, June 1942 (Elected).


The Allied Forces in the legend is supposed to be the Dutch and the Australian forces.




I have looked into the blog page “Jakarta shin-kyu are-kore (Jakarta à la carte, old and new)” of Mr. Kyohei Nishimi, an acquaintance of mine whom I first met ten years ago when I was writing my “Java Essay”, and found an article, The Memorial to the Thirty Japanese Fallen Soldiers, dated 13/May/2006.[5] Nishimi showed pictures (Fig.3) and wrote roughly as follows.


“It was around August 1996. I visited the Taman Prasasti Museum which was one of the lesser-known museums among many museums in Jakarta. In this park where a number of tombs of and memorials to the Dutch and other Christians are collected, I saw a strange one, a monument to the Japanese soldiers who died in the first battle during their landing operation on Java. It lay as if it was thrown away there. The date, the 3rd May 1942 in the inscription was the day after the next of the Japanese landing operations conducted at the Bay of Bantam, Eretan to the north of Bandung, Kragan near Surabaya, etc.... The monument roughly measured 100 meters long, 60 cm wide and 25 cm thick. According to the guide, the stone was recently brought to this park from somewhere in Bogor as it was an obstruction for the local development plan. From the state of placement, it seems the heavy stone was just carried here and nothing further was done....”




Fig.3 Pictures of the memorial at Tanah Abang from the blog page of Mr. Kyohei Nishimi.[6]



After finishing the draft, I have contacted Mr. Nishimi and been informed that at later date he had posted two related articles, i.e., “Monument to the destructed front-line Japanese troops during the landing operation in Java (7/February/2007)” and “Monument to the thirty brave soldiers of the Hiroyasu Corps (8/February/2007)”, on the same blog page.
The former is a follow-up to the above-mentioned article. He revisited the Taman Prasasti Museum and saw the monument set up properly on a new basement in response to his request to the Japanese Embassy to take care of it (as seen in Mr. Duncan Graham’s picture). Also, he proved the fact that the monument was originally built after the battle by the Japanese occupation army.

In the latter was an article about another monument, named “Memorial to the Hiroyasu Corps fallen soldiers” which was erected by the association of comrades who did not know the above-mentioned monument (See, (6) and (7) below).




I have found a book entitled: War history series: The Conquering Operation of the Netherlands Indies , Edited by the National Institute for Defence Studies, Japan (戦史叢書: 蘭印攻略作戦, 防衛研究所編) in a local library, and learned that the Hiroyasu Corps, from Shibata, Niigata Prefecture, belonged to the 9th Company of the 3rd Battalion of the 16th Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division. Having landed at Merak in the 3rd March 1947, the Company advanced towards Buitenzorg and reached Leuwiliang but  were wiped out during their attempt to cross Ciantung River, shot by the Dutch Indies forces who were positioned on the opposite side hill top (Fig.4).




Fig.4 Left: The routes of the Japanese army from Merak to Buitenzorg (The route of Hiroyasu Corps in red colour). Right: The positions of the Dutch defence forces.




With regard to the origin of the Memorial, an article, Museum Taman Prasasti: Memorial to the 30 Fallen Soldiers of The Hiroyasu Corps (in Japanese) has been found in the Internet website, entitled “The remains of the Great East Asian war”. [7]


An English translation of the text, in which obvious errors in the text were corrected and the context modified to be coherent, is as follows:


The Hiroyasu Corps belonged to the 9th Company of the 3rd Battalion of the 16th Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division who participated in the Battle of Java. The Battalion landed ashore at Merak in West Java on the 1st March, the 17th year of Showa (1942), and advanced toward Bogor. In Leuwiliang, about 25km to the west of Bogor, when the Corps was hindered by Ciantung River that rose high in the rainy season, the Hiroyasu Corps was wiped out, shot from the cliff by the Dutch Indies forces.


A memorial made of a natural stone was erected in “Bogor” in 1942. It was left unattended for many years after the war, but it was brought to this museum around 1998 when it had to be removed for the “development of Bogor”. It was left uncared for about three years, but Japanese residents in Indonesia called on the comrades' association to collect donations and re-erected it providing a basement with a legend in Indonesian (Fig.5).




(1) Total view

 (2) Front,


(3) Rear

 (4) Basement

Fig.5 Photographs in the Internet article: Museum Taman Prasasti: Memorial to the 30 Fallen Soldiers of The Hiroyasu Corps. [8]



The location of the Memorial in Bogor is obscure in the above articles, although the record may remain in the prefectural or municipal office.




News about the existence of “another” memorial to the fallen Hiroyasu Corps with pictures (Fig.6) has been found in The Daily Jakarta Shinbun (Shinbun = Newspaper), 28/10/2021.[9]




Fig.6 Left: 26th October. Chairman Mr. Her (middle) explains about the transfer of the memorial to Mr. Mizuno, Military attaché from the Japanese Embassy. Right: The attendees offering a silent prayer. Far right is Mrs. Hj. Odah, the Village chief. From: The Daily Jakarta Shinbun, 28/10/2021.



The inscription reads “Memorial to the Hiroyasu Corps fallen soldiers. Erected by the Association of Comrades, the 16th Regiment Infantry, from Shibata, Niigata Prefecture, Japan”. On the rear side is inscribed “As a symbol of peace and friendship”.


The news said the new memorial was transferred from the riverside that was on the verge of landslide to the safer place.




In the KOMPUS newspaper, 3/November/2021 [10], a more comprehensive article with photographs about the new Memorial has been found. “Mengenang Pertempuran Leuwiliang di Situs Purbakala Pasundan: Monumen di Taman Peringatan Cianten di Leuwiliang, Bogor, untuk memperingati Pertempuran Leuwiliang 2-4 Maret 1942. Saat itu, pasukan Jepang menghadapi pasukan Sekutu dari Australia, Inggris, dan Amerika Serikat.”


(English translation) “Commemoration of the Battle of Leuwiliang at the Pasundan Historical Site. Monument at the Cianten Memorial Park in Leuwiliang, Bogor, to commemorate the Battle of Leuwiliang March 2-4, 1942.


The news reported on the ceremony held on the occasion of trans-placing the Memorial (Fig.7).




Fig.7 (Left) Monument at the Tjianten Memorial Park in Leuwiliang, Bogor, to commemorate the Japanese troops who died facing Allied troops during World War II. (Right) A delegation from the Japanese Embassy in Jakarta poses with Cemplang Village officials by the monument in the Tjianten Memorial Park. From KOMPUS, 3/November/2021 [11].



The Cemplang Village is located opposite to Leuwiliang across Ciantung River, as shown in Fig.8.



Fig.8 The Location of Cemplang Village (On Google Map, prepared 31/07/2022).



Besides the memorial, the news in the KOMPUS included the history of the battle in Leuwiliang reviewed from the Dutch and ally’s side, with old pictures taken during the war.


The exact location of the Tjianten Memorial Park is uncertain but it must be easily found if one visits the village.




Thanks are due to my granddaughter, Kanako, a student in Hokkaido University, who thoroughly edited the text of this article.




References and Notes

[1] A half-Dutch half-Javanese man who attempted a coup d'état against the Dutch government in 1722.

[2] A Japanese inhabitant in the Age of Voyages whose tomb stone dated 1663 was found in 1911 in Prapatan but lost in the chaotic period after the declaration of the independence of Indonesia.

[3] → Chapter 2.

[4] → Chapter 1.


[6] Ibid.


Since the article did not include the author's name, dates, references, etc., the present writer had hesitated to adopt it. The source was presumably the Mr. Nishimi’s “Monument to the destructed front-line Japanese troops during the landing operation in Java (7/February/2007)” or a book, Yutaka Kato, The Great East Asia War and Indonesia, ” ed that it is a book that he touched (Hiroshi Kato, Greater East Asia War and Indonesia, Shuchou Publ., January 2003; 加藤裕, 『大東亜戦争とインドネシア』, 朱鳥社, 2003年1) which Mr. Nishimi referred to.

[8] ibid.



[11] ibid.