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Reconciliation - Patrick S Briggs

My father, Captain P.E. Briggs RASC was a FEPOW and survived. I was born in 1946. Dad never forgave, though he was a silent sufferer as were so many. However when I went on holiday to Japan in 1988 he expressed his disapproval as he did when I bought a Toyota motor car ! Dad was implacable.

After my holiday in 1988 I then had a job which took me to Japan quite frequently. I never told my Japanese contacts about my Father but I think somehow they found out. On a free day a Japanese colleague, without telling me, took me to the War graves cemetery in Yokohama.  Although I had no direct connection - most of my Dad's deceased colleagues were buried along the Railway - I found it very moving. My Japanese friend said nothing and nor did I. I knew why he brought me there and neither of us really needed to do anything but bow is respect.

It is perhaps easy for me to believe in reconciliation which I strongly do.  But I have no illusions. I have visited Kanchanaburi twice and read extensively  about the railway. But my own experiences in Japan have been wholly positive and I think my colleague in Yokohama set a fine example.

Patrick S Briggs