The recent pullout of Delta Air Lines from flying between Saipan and Narita did not faze members of the Nenpou Shinkyou Buddhist Denomination, which holds a regular pilgrimage to the CNMI.
Nenpou Shinkyou has made the pilgrimage to the Northern Marianas for 12 years now but this year’s pilgrimage was a bit more complicated.
Due to the lack of a direct flight, the group of 50 who made the pilgrimage to the Commonwealth for the 12th Annual Peace Memorial Ceremony had to first fly from Japan, to Incheon, to Guam, and then to the CNMI. This was not only more time-consuming, but costly as well.
According to Nenpou Shinkyou high priest and president Ryohan Ichimiya, although there is no longer a direct flight from Japan to Saipan and the voyage is far longer, the group will still continue the pilgrimage and the Peace Memorial Ceremony to honor the relationship between the Commonwealth and Japan, pray for world peace, and to pray for the local and Japanese civilians who lost their lives during World War II.
Ichimiya said the denomination would continue to send no less than 50 participants or more every year on the pilgrimage, with or without a direct flight.
There were about 50 Nenpou Shinkyou representatives from the Osaka and Kyushu districts who made the pilgrimage and participated in the ceremony last Sunday—about 10 more than last year.
According to the remarks of Nenpou Shinkyou Buddhist priest Ihada Ryodo, the memorial will continue.
The ceremony was established in honor of fallen Japanese soldiers and civilians who lost their lives during World War II.
The ceremony was first established by the Nenpou Shinkyou Buddhist Denomination in 2007 and has been an annual event since then.
The group also conducted a cleanup on Saturday, a day before the Peace Memorial Ceremony, in support of the beautification of the CNMI.
The event took place at the Japanese Memorial located at the Last Command Post in Marpi and was then moved to the Nenpou Shinkyou Peace Memorial at Banzai Cliff.