Japanese War Memorial [1943-1947]
Have you seen the Japanese War Memorial?
If you'd been in Hong Kong at the end of the Second World War, you couldn't have missed it. Here's a photo Hong Kong island's skyline in 1946, with the memorial in the centre:
In the description of this Hedda Morrison photograph , it is called the Japanese Invasion Memorial: “The view is from the coastal hills about two kilometres east of Kai Tak, near the village of Ngau Tau Kok. It portrays Kowloon Bay’s extent and Hong Kong Island’s peaks. Two tall man-made features stand out: the Japanese invasion memorial (centre skyline), and [...]”. But most english references describe it as the Japanese War Memorial.
Those same references often place the memorial on Mount Cameron, or even on the Peak. Looking at the picture above, you can see it is somewhere between the two, on its own small hill. To the left (East) of the memorial the land falls to Wanchai Gap then rises to Mount Cameron. On the right (West) it falls to Magazine Gap, then rises to Mount Gough.
The Japanese knew the memorial as the 'Pagoda of the Loyal Spirits' , and for them it possibly served two quite different purposes. As you'd expect of a memorial it honoured those who'd died in the Battle for Hong Kong. But perhaps it also looked forward to the future battle they expected when the British returned. In a statement during the post-war War Trial, Major Hirao Yoshio described how from 1943 the Japanese government in Hong Kong knew it was unlikely they'd hold Hong Kong for a long time. (1943 was when the Japanese began losing islands in the Pacific to American forces). He went on to describe the memorial as a tomb where all the Japanese would gather to die when Hong Kong fell. 
In the end the surrender of Japan meant there was no fighting to retake Hong Kong island, and thankfully no need to discover whether the major's claim was true.
For those in Hong Kong after the Japanese surrender, the memorial was an uncomfortable reminder of their recent suffering. But while most agreed that the memorial needed to be removed ASAP, it turned out to be much more difficult than expected. At the surrender, the tower was less than half it's planned height. Still it was estimated to weigh several hundred tons, and was an almost solid block of reinforced concrete, rather than four walls around a hollow central space. The British engineers responsible for reviewing the structure and its plans described it as 'needlessly complex'. That complexity meant it was to take just over 18 months from the surrender to the final demolition of the tower. 
This newspaper clipping shows the tower's final moments, as it was demolished on 26th Feb, 1947:
By this time, contractors had already removed a lot of the concrete from the structure to make it lighter, and had chopped away all but two of the supporting legs. After this main explosion, further smaller explosions were used to break up the tower into smaller pieces, allowing them to be moved away.
Two more suprising facts about the memorial: First, a Japanese sword, supposedly 500 years old, was placed in a box and buried in the foundations.  Second, it may well still be there!
With demolition of the tower, the most visible evidence of the war memorial was gone, and people's attention moved on. That left the massive platform behind. It's still here today, basically unchanged.
Here's another view of the tower and platform :
And here's a similar view as it looks today :
The yellow building in the centre of the photo is Cameron Mansions, standing on that same platform that supported the Japanese War Memorial. To see how little has changed, look between the 'C' and 'T” of 'PICTURE' on the Time photo and you'll see three buttresses. Then between the T and U you can see a line where the wall is recessed. That same recess is visible below the two pine trees in the modern photo, and the top of the buttresses are just visible above the tree line.
Here are a couple of close-up photos, showing the recess and buttresses more clearly.
Cameron Mansions were first occupied in June 1951, so the first residents must have known what their house was built on. I wonder if they felt any reservations about it, or maybe even pride to be putting the site to good use. And I wonder how many of today's residents know the history of the platform their house rests on?
As always, if you have any memories or information to share, please leave a comment below.
 Newspaper clippings via the HK Public Library online collection (click a thumbnail for a larger view):
 Time-Life pictures have three photos of the memorial before and during demolition
 The present-day photo was taken from the driveway to numbers 21 and 23, Severn Road on Mount Gough. The older photo looks as though it was taken from further round the hillside and lower down - maybe from the footpath that leads from Severn Rd down to the gas station on Peak Rd? Unfortunately the trees that have grown up along that path hide the memorial site from view.