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Japanese Americans honor veterans, ancestors
Calvin Matsumoto places an arrangement of flowers on the gravesite of his grandfather during Memorial Day on Monday. His grandfathers resting place is located in the Japanese section of Park View Cemetery on French Camp Road in Manteca. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO

The Rev. Yukiko Motoyoshi of the Stockton Buddhist Temple led the annual Memorial Day service on Monday at Park View Cemetery north of Manteca.

The solemn traditional program, held in front of the monument “In Memory of Japanese American Veterans” in the Japanese section of the cemetery, featured prayers and a ceremony in which those attending lighted incense in honor of those who served in the service.

But they are not the only ones who were being remembered that day, said the Rev. Motoyoshing in her brief message.

“We are gathered here to honor our fallen soldiers who fought and sacrificed their lives for us, but also to honor all our departed ones who now rest here at Park View,” she said.

Using the history of the Japanese immigration in the mid-1880s to the United States as the backdrop for her speech, the reverend said, “Our ancestors made a decision to come here…, and sacrificed their lives for us. So we’re here today honoring them and expressing our gratitude.”

The burning and offering of the incense is “to enhance the reverence, sincerity and gratitude for the Buddha and all these people who rest here (at Park View Cemetery),” Motoyoshi said.

The first official immigrant from Japan arrived in mainland USA in 1869. The first immigrant to Hawaii arrived in the islands in 1868, she said.

The service took place in the northeast section of the cemetery took place immediately following the annual traditional Memorial Day program hosted by Park view Cemetery and Funeral Home every year.