Unification News for September 2005

A Time of Transition: Unificationist Burial Grounds in Korea, Japan, and USA

by William Selig, Director of the National Wonjeon Shrine in Washington, D.C.

Although each providential nation has established shrines to allow our loved ones to ascend with dignity, it wasn't until 1984 with the ascension of Heung Jin Moon that the tradition of the Seung Hwa Ceremony for Blessed members could begin. Originally, this was not to have begun until the True Parents went to the spiritual world.

In the general tradition of the world, funerals are sad occasions signifying the end of life, but with the initiation of this ceremony, and based on Heung Jin Nim's organization of the spiritual world, Blessed members can now celebrate the commencement of their lives as exclusively spiritual beings.

Father gave direction that Blessed couples should be buried in "Holy Ground," so when people bury blessed members on private property or in a public cemetery, the spot chosen for burial must first be prayed over and holy salted.

Memorial gardens for Blessed members around the world are not simple burial grounds or ordinary cemeteries, rather they are heavenly mandated Holy Grounds for prayer and communication with the spiritual world.

Besides burial at the Won Jeon, post-Seung Hwa memorial services in Japan and Korea include 3rd Day (Sam Oje), 21st Day, 43rd Day, 100th day and the 1st anniversary (which represents their birth as a purely spiritual being). These are necessary to help a Blessed person successfully ascend and register in the Unification Spiritual Sphere.


There are two national memorial gardens in Korea, where they are known as "wonjeon, which means "the finest palace." The one in Paju is located on land donated by church members in the mid 1950s. Northwest of Seoul and near the DMZ, this Won Jeon is for members of the True Family and those approved by True Father.

At this point it holds Hae-jin nim (1964), Hee-jin nim (1969), Heung-jin nim (1984), Young-jin nim (1999), and Shin-yea nim (2001). With Tue Father's approval, others have also been buried there.

The won jeon in Chuncheon was inaugurated on April 13, 2004, as part of the 50th anniversary of HSA-UWC. It is located within an existing facility called Tong Sang Kongwon Myowon (East Mountain Memorial Park).

The non-denominational cemetery was founded about 10 years ago by a group of Christian businessmen. The entire park can hold 24,000 people and is in 14 sections. HSA-UWC has a contract for section #8 which can hold 1800 people. HSA doesn't actually own the property, but rather a commitment to purchase the area by a certain date. Members deal directly with the cemetery.

It is about 40 miles from Seoul in the direction of the Chung Pyung Training Center. The approximately 2-hour drive will be shortened to about an hour in 2007 with the completion of a nearby superhighway.

None of the members currently buried in our area have markers or headstones. It's considered bad protocol in Korea to have a headstone before the parents pass away. After True Father ascends into the spirit world, a headstone will be installed for Heung Jin Nim, and then likewise for the others.

As of February 2005, the park holds 13 Blessed members. The website for Tong Sang Memorial Park, which has many photos, is at www.dongsanpark.co.kr.


Japan has three church burial grounds, which are known as "reien," meaning "spirit garden." These are in (1) Gunma (north of Tokyo), (2) Osaka (central Japan) and (3) Kochi (Shikoku Island). The National Won Jeon of Japan is called Ozerein. They refer to it as the "Spiritual and Physical Treasure of UC-Japan." Ozerein is a Memorial Park located in the Oze National Park, in Gunma about 100 miles north of Tokyo.

Mr. Hiroyasu Tomaru, Director of Japan's National Won Jeon, contributed the following description.

The first Won Jeon in Japan known as Ozereien, or the Oze Memorial Park, marked the 21st anniversary of its official opening on June 8, 2003. With the name of the "Unified Memorial Ceremony for Seung Hwa People," we do it once a year on the second week of June as a major event for the Unification Church in Japan.

An ever-growing number of about 2,400 people have gathered for the annual ceremony in the Ozereien on that particular day from around the country and beyond, some from the United States. Both President Yu Te-hen, True Parents' representative to Japan, and UC-Japan President Hideo Oyamada attended the ceremony and gave sermons which are aired nationwide through a U-One TV live satellite-broadcast as a special Sunday service.

Some Americans married to Japanese sisters are also buried in the lawn-based cemetery. The largest group of non-Japanese Seung Hwa brothers and sisters here are Koreans married to Japanese. They are among the 750-strong Seung Hwa members buried.

On Nov. 3, 2003, a ceremony was held at another Won Jeon located in central Japan near Osaka, known as the Osaka-Abeno Church Cemetery. It was the 9th anniversary event for nearly 70 Seung Hwa people. The name will formally be changed to the Kansai-Shigi Mountain Cemetery probably next year when its 10th anniversary takes place.

There is another Won Jeon in Shikoku Island, not far from Osaka or Kyoto. It is the smallest, while Ozereien is the largest. For more info: http://www2.ocn.ne.jp/~oze/index.htm.


The U.S. has two established Won Jeons. (1) The oldest is in Tarrytown, New York, at Sleepy Hollow, a cemetery that can trace its history back to 1650. Rev. Takeru Kamiyama purchased the 100 plots around 1985. There are two other burial sites in New York, both purchased by Dr. David S.C. Kim. One is at St. Sylvia's Cemetery on Rt. 9G about 5-7 miles north of Red Hook, and the other is on Rt. 9 on the south side of Poughkeepsie.

(2) The second Won Jeon is in Fort Lincoln Cemetery just 5 minutes from The Washington Times. During the Civil War, Fort Lincoln's soldiers and cannons protected the city's eastern gateway. Named in honor of President Lincoln, who met there with his generals and advisors, the land was chartered as a cemetery in 1912.

The Won Jeon was acquired on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Movement's purchase of the Mormon Church in 1976. In September 2001, the cemetery made us an offer for a group burial space after the ascension of our brother Thomas Wojcik.

The following year, on July 26, 2002, True Father gave his blessing to have the National Won Jeon Shrine in our nation's capitol. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on Oct. 9, 2003.

There are 15 members buried at Fort Lincoln. We have 150 plots. For further information, log on at: www.nationalwonjeon.org.


"For we know not the day nor the hour," says the Bible, but if we truly understand the substantial reality of the spiritual world and the meaning of the Seung Hwa, then the more we prepare for the inevitable, the smoother will be the transition from the physical world to the spiritual world Ð for ourselves and our loved ones.

Special thanks to Anne Inoue and Julian Gray for providing background material.

William Selig is director of the National Won Jeon Shrine in Washington, D.C.

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