Club Cowra

Vale Teruo Murakami The Last Survivor Of The Cowra Breakout

Written by: The Cowra Phoenix

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Vale Teruo Murakami, the last survivor of the Cowra Breakout.

Teruo Murakami, the last survivor of the Cowra Breakout has died aged 103 years at his home in Japan on September 14.

Between January 1943 and August 1944, thousands of Japanese POWs and internees arrived in Cowra including, a 23-year-old Japanese prisoner of war, Mr Teruo Murakami. By early August of 1944, Mr Murakami, along with 1,100 other Japanese prisoners, voted to riot in what is now known as the infamous Cowra Breakout. Some 231 of his comrades lost their lives in the battle along with four Australians when the riot quickly became an escape attempt. It was the only land battle on Australian soil during World War II.

“August 5, 1944, to this day remains an important day to commemorate our wartime history, the enduring strength of Japanese and Australian relations and the role ex-servicemen and women like Mr Murakami have played in those relations,” said Cowra Shire Mayor Ruth Fagan.

“Mr Murakami was a regular visitor to Cowra, and a friend to us all. He made his last trip here for the 75th anniversary of the Cowra Breakout in August, 2019,” Cr Fagan said.

“He was well-liked and respected not just among his country-folk but by Australian soldiers as well as the Cowra community and I am privileged to have met him. On behalf of Cowra Shire Council and the community, I offer my heartfelt condolences to the Murakami family,” the Mayor said. Despite living a remarkable life and being synonymous with the war, Mr Murakami left a very clear message to future generations on his last trip to Cowra in 2019.

“I don’t want any young person to do the things we have done because it’s such a miserable thing,” he said.

“No to war. Never, ever again.”

Rest in Peace Teruo Murakami - from all your friends and colleagues in Cowra and Australia.

Cowra Regional Art Gallery

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