The spirit of Kokoda was alive as the Australian Army were on exercise Kokoda mentor program , during their November 2016 9 day trek over the Kokoda Trail. Escape Trekking Adventures created the canvas of 1942 with historic significance, logistics and guidance, these men and women of today's army gave respect and filled in the picture with their perspective on battles & leadership. When we think of the spirit of Kokoda we can't help but think of the men that fought, fell & survived. There is another spirit that as guide I carry with me, it is the memories of fellow trekkers that add so much value to the experience and of course the staff that make the experience happen. Thank you to The Australian Army for great memories and reflections, Well done team ETA ~ Nikki George/ trek leader ... See MoreSee Less
As a trek leader, I have noted many trekkers pass this monument placed at Launumu Village (Efogi 2) If you have seen this monument you may be interested in the story behind it.
Kokichi Nishimura, known as the 'Bone Man of Kokoda', a Japanese solider who came back to New Guinea after the war to look for the remains of his comrades. The Bone Man of Kokoda lived in Papua New Guinea for more than 20 yrs committed to return his comrades to their families & loved ones.
Kokichi Nishimura entrusted this oval rock you see here placed on top of the monument, to a local man to protect and to bring out on rare occasions.
Nishimura built a handsome Japanese Monument at Launumu (Efogi 2), about 1.7 metres high, made from smooth river stones. Nishimura built this himself, without the permission from the Japanese government or the Kochi-New Guinea Association, because he felt some sort of permanent tribute needed to be made to his fallen comrades from the 3rd Platoon, 144th Regiment and Nankai Shitai. With the help of local children, Nishimura fetched five dozen or more large river stones and lugged them up the hill to the village. He organized a Cessnas to fly in several bags of cement to the Efogi airstrip from Port Moresby. On a previous trip to Japan, to Okinoshima Island in Kochi prefecture, Nishimura had found a large rock, a smooth, light brown, oval-shaped beauty; this, he decided, would be the one to sit atop his plinth. He felt the headstone should come from Kochi, the home of the 144th Infantry Regiment. He decided it would carry a non- denominational tribute in order to honour all those who fell in New Guinea, regardless of which side they fought on, or of race or creed.
In striking Kanji characters, the headstone would read simply: To The Loyal War Dead.
Nishimura transported the stone to Tokyo, where he knew the monks at Zenshoan Temple, one of the most famous Zen temples in Japan could engrave the inscription. Nishimura returned to Efogi 2 with his freshly inscribed headstone. A local landowner helped Nishimura put the finishing touches to the monument and, on 5 July 1989, it was finally completed. Nishimura spent a lot of time within Efogi Village, his house was built about 100 metres away from this memorial at the edge of the village. He did not live in Efogi permanently, this home offered a much more tranquil existence than his home in Popendetta.
Image- Trek Leader ~ Nikki George Interesting facts ~ Nikki George ... See MoreSee Less