Tawau Japanese War Memorial
Tugu Peringatan Perang Jepun Tawau
Tawau Sabah JapaneseCemetery-01.jpg
The memorial site
4°16′01″N 117°52′41″E / 4.26694°N 117.87806°E / 4.26694; 117.87806
Dedicated toJapanese residents in Tawau

Tawau Japanese War Memorial (Japanese: タワウ戦争記念館; Malay: Tugu Peringatan Perang Jepun Tawau) is a former Japanese cemetery in Tawau in the Malaysian state of Sabah which now has been transformed into a memorial.


After the Anglo-Japanese Treaty of 1902, many Japanese businessmen began to settle in the surrounding area of Tawau. On 19 January 1916, the Japanese Nippon Industrial Company bought a 240 acres for rubber plantation and another 607 hectares of adjacent land. The plantation, known as "Kuhara Estate of Rubber and Manila Hemp," was established under the name of the owner, Fanosuke Kuhara.[1] Another Japanese plantation, known as "Kubota Estate," belonged to Kubota Umeme, specialises in coconut and has operated since 1916.[1] According to 1921 statistics, 191 Japanese resided in Tawau, and before the outbreak of the Second World War, there were 1,175.[2]

The growing number of the Japanese caused the cemetery to be built before the Second World War, and it was used by the Japanese community as a burial site. The vast majority of the people buried here died before the Second World War.[3]


The grave stone with five Japanese names
The grave stone with five Japanese names
Japanese characters in the back of one of the monument, dated 25 May 1988
Japanese characters in the back of one of the monument, dated 25 May 1988

This site is located on the road of Tanjung Batu Street, in the west of Tawau golf course. The site is fenced on three sides. Only a few relics recall its original function as a cemetery. One of the grave listed five Japanese names such as Sadatoshi Ohta, Ryoichi Muromoto, Isao Ohtomo, Koji Matsuo and Takeshi Kusumoto.

On the back of one of the monument built after the Second World War, several rows of Japanese characters can be seen whose translation as follows:

I regret that some of our friends have died so young.
It is very sad.
I just hope that you enjoy the afterlife
And your holy light over radiates to us the living, peaceful and happy forever.
The hearts of the people in this world are threatening
And they fight for power and profit and they are ungrateful and not truly directed against the principles, victims of the innocent, terror at nothing.
So that nothing can be done against injustices suffered.
It is a lawless society.
Former Tawau Rubber Estate employee Shimuzu Tatsuzo mourn with tears and built this grave stone commemorating the 63 years of the reign of Emperor Shōwa on 25 May.


  1. ^ a b "History of Tawau". e-tawau. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  2. ^ Goodlet, Page 39/41
  3. ^ "Japanese war cemetery and monument in Tawau". e-tawau. Retrieved 13 January 2015.

Further reading