Karafuto Island People Memorial Monument, Hyosetsu Gate
Hyosetsu Gate was erected on August 20, 1963 as a monument from those who lived on Karafuto (now known as Sakhalin Oblast, Russia) at the time of the Pacific War, when the island was Japanese territory. It stands as a tribute to their former home and a memorial to those who died there.
People with a connection to the island gather here on August 20 every year to remember those who were lost.
The monument comprises two parts, an 8 m high stone gate and a 2.4 m tall bronze statue of a woman atop a black marble pedestal, symbolizing those who survived the severe cold of the snow and ice to rebuild their lives following the devastation brought by the war.
Each aspect of the female statue at the center of the monument carries special significance. Her face represents suffering during the war, her open palms show that people lost everything from their homes on Karafuto to their families, and her legs express efforts to recover quickly from the grief and suffering. The wave pattern between her legs represents the strait between Hokkaido and Karafuto, while the three V shapes on her chest represent the snow, ice and wind.
Hyosetsu Gate stands in Wakkanai Park, from which Karafuto can be seen with the naked eye and was constructed with encouragement from people all over Japan, particularly those with a connection to Karafuto.
The monument was constructed by sculptor Shin Hongo from Sapporo and has been featured in textbooks in recognition of its artistic merit.