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New app opens the door to the past - 75 year anniversary of Cowra breakout

Cowra Japanese Cemetary Source: Cowra Voices

An new free app called Cowra Voices will be available from the 3rd of August. Stories of the war and reconciliation between Japan and Cowra will be brought to your smartphone.

Cowra
Cowra POW camp
Cowra Voices

Before dawn on the 5th of August in 1944, Japanese prisoners of war, placed in the detention camp in Cowra, New South Wales, staged a mass breakout.  As a result of the incident, 234 Japanese POWs and 4 Australian soldiers lost their lives.

After the tragic event, the city of Cowra has committed to establish reconciliation between Japan and themselves and kept pouring efforts into grassroots exchanges with Japan.  Cowra is now known as a city of peace and friendship.

The smartphone application Cowra Voices was developed not only to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Cowra breakout, but also to reach out to younger generations and pass on the history of the tragedy and reconciliation between Japan and Cowra to them.

Through this navigation app, people who visit historic tourist attractions in Cowra such as the World Peace Bell, the Japanese War Cemetery and the Japanese Garden, can deepen their historic knowledge by listening to relevant stories told by local storytellers.

Creating a database of the buried

In the audio, Mayu Kanamori, a Sydney-based media artist, explains how getting involved in the project to create a database and website of the buried at the Japanese War Cemetery in Cowra led her to start working on developing Cowra Voices.

The database and website project was completed in May this year.  Dr. Keiko Tamura, Research Fellow at ANU and one of the four core members who worked on the project, shares her fateful encounter with the Japanese bereaved who did not know their uncle was buried in Cowra for 70 years.

 

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