Sat, Feb 03, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Temple builds ships for `ghostly' return to Japan

DPA , TAIPEI

A temple in southern Taiwan has built a paper armada to send the ghosts of some 300 Japanese soldiers on a visit back to their homes in Japan, cable TV channel ETTV reported yesterday.

Ling Sheng Tang, the Sacred Soul Temple, in Tungkang Township (東港), built six miniature warships after the ghosts of the Japanese soldiers told a temple priest that they were homesick and wanted to pay a visit to Japan, but were unable to make the trip because they did not have boats to cross the sea, the TV station reported.

The temple made six paper warships and will hold a ceremony to celebrate and send the ghosts of the Japanese soldiers on their trip.

The warships have been named Mimura No. 1, Mimura No. 2, Okura No. 1, Okura No. 2, Biyuri No. 1 and Biyuri No. 2, in accordance with the ghosts' wishes as they were conveyed to the priest.

Ling Sheng Tang was built in 2005 after the priest had a dream in which a Japanese general told him that some 300 Japanese troops, including the general himself, were killed when a US warplane bombed a Japanese destroyer off southern Taiwan during World War II.

The bodies of the soldiers were cremated in Tongkang but were not properly buried, so the general asked the priest to build a temple for the Japanese soldiers, the report said.

Many Tongkang residents claimed that the place where the soldiers were cremated was haunted and said they could hear the sound of soldiers marching at night.

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