Transformation of the
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Peace Recognition:
Potential and Limits of the Peace Museum
Affiliation：Department of Advanced Social and International Studies
(Interdisciplinary Social Sciences)
Graduate Program in Human Security Studies
Faculty advisor: Professor Tetsuya Takahashi
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museuma(Atomic Bomb Museum), historical recognition, dispute over historical recognition, post-war responsibilities of Japan, post-war responsibilities theory, peace recognition, corner of Perpetrators, peace museum, museum for peace, collective memories, memories of war, political studies of museum, politics of memory
Following 2009, 65 years after the atomic bombs were dropped on August 6th and 9th, 1945, it is said that the year 2010 marked another step towards a world free from nuclear weapons. This evaluation is made due to a series of progressive steps achieved following President Obama’s speech in Prague in April 2009, including the adoption of Obama's plan for a nuclear-free world at the UN Security Council in September, as well as the release of US-Russia joint statements on a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in December. Also, on August 6th, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, John Roos, as well as representatives from British and French governments attended the annual Peace Memorial Ceremony for the first time. In Hiroshima, the city proposed the word “Obamajority” to describe the global majority for nuclear abolition.
On the other side of the reports on actions towards nuclear abolition, however, Jean Tibbets, son of Paul Tibbets, the chief pilot of the American B-29 bomber Enola Gay, criticized the U.S. ambassador’s visit to Hiroshima, saying “there has not been such a case before, it should not have been done” and “it is a tacit admission of guilt”, during a phone interview on CNN, an American TV program. Furthermore, he stated “the atomic bombs stopped the war and possibly rescued many American as well as Japanese lives.” As can be seen, the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, a historical fact, exists differently in people’s memories, even 65 years after the day it happened.
The issue of history and memory in this global era has been taken seriously as it creates disputes and affects diplomacy among nations. History is not merely a reflection of memory and record of the past, but a memory that has been restructured through the present situation. This indicates possible changes in the meaning of history dependent on the person and the reason for viewing it, as well as changes in memory dependent on interpretation. Individual memory as a result of an incident is sometimes transmitted to the masses to be shared collectively, solidified and reproduced, influenced by a variety of different factors. Venues such as museums, memorial halls, as well as art museums are particular examples where this process notably appears. The question, here, is how the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 remain in people’s “memory” and how it is transmitted 65 years after the “incident”, where survivors have further aged and the majority of generations do not have direct experience of the event. In this research, the above question is examined through the case of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum has been mentioned in many studies as a representative example of memorial museums with a “war and peace” theme in Japan, due to its symbolic location where the atomic bomb was dropped. Many of the previous studies compare Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum with other museums that establish themselves around the theme of “war and peace” by looking at it as an example of “the memory of war”. Those studies often introduce the current contents on exhibit and analyze the political nature of “Hiroshima”, its Peace Park, as well as Memorial Museum.
However, considering the importance of the Peace Memorial Museum and its public role, we may say that previous studies have only done a minimal amount of research concerning the circumstances around the museum’s establishment, the changes of exhibition structure to the present status, and the analysis of these processes. Also, there are many comparative studies concerning the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, such as Hiroshima vs. the special exhibition on the Enola Gay and Hiroshima vs. the Yasukuni Shrine (Yushukan). However, not many studies have been done on the changes to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, extensively, from the time before and after its opening in 1955. It was also found that primary resources have not been used much in the analysis of previous studies. With this situation in mind, my research aims to examine the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum as a peace memorial facility, established after the atomic bombing under Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law, by looking at the history of Hiroshima before and during the war. This research also aims to analyze the period after a rise of disputes over “historical recognition” from 1980 until the present by utilizing a series of primary resources in care of the Peace Memorial Museum, Hiroshima’s city planning proposals dating from 1970, meeting minutes from the Hiroshima city council, as well as newspaper articles from 1980 to 1995.
In order to look into the question of what kind of memory has been built in post-war Japan regarding the “history of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima”, this research focuses on analyzing the history from 1980, when post-war “historical recognition” was first brought up, until 1994, when the museum was restructured to its present form, as well as the social structures (political, social, cultural and structural conditions) that affect exhibition contents. It is possible to clarify which issues existed in both Japanese society and the museum at the time, as well as the characteristics of a transmitted “peace recognition”, by examining the relationship between Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the social structure of the related period. This research also aims to redefine “Hiroshima” as a national memory.
Background and purpose of research: raising questions
Framework of analysis (subject and methods of the research)
Structure of the thesis
How “Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museuma” has been discussed –sorting previous studies-
Military city Hiroshima, experiencing the atomic bomb, and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum established in “Peace Memorial City”
From a “military city” to a “peace city” –from the Meiji era to the latter half of the 1970’s
1-1．Establishment of “military city” Hiroshima
1-2．Military city Hiroshima and Koreans under colonial rule
1-3．The atomic bombing and people’s A-bomb experiences
1-4．The process of making a “Peace Memorial city” – until the issuing of a “Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law”
1-5．The development of “Peace Memorial city” formation – The birth of “Peace Memorial Park”
Major peace memorial facilities in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the “anti-nuclear peace movement” until the 1970’s
2-1. Major peace memorial facilities – focusing on the “Memorial Monument for the A-bomb victims”
2-2. Major peace memorial facilities –the establishment of an “A-bomb museum” and the beginnings of an “anti-nuclear peace movement”
2-3. The limitations of “A-bomb victims” under the law
From the Act for Atomic Bomb Sufferer’s Medical Care to “Jindu Son’s trial on Hibakusha Health Certificates”
Changes to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum over “historical recognition” disputes
Clause 1 Domestic and international changes
Clause 2 Changes to Hiroshima city and “Hiroshima” under question
① The period of Mayor Takeshi Araki – Disputes over the maintenance of exhibitions at Peace Memorial Hall and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
② The period of Mayor Takashi Hiraoka – The mayor’s “historical recognition” and the Asian Games
conclusion and remaining issues
나의 절친 진혜의 석사학위논문. 논문 쓰는 과정에서 조금 더 의견을 주고받을 수 있었을거 같은데
나도 교토에서 정신이 없었고, 진혜도 쓰는 것에 집중했기에 그러진 못했지만.
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일본 히로시마 평화자료기념관에 대한 논의가 워낙 많아서 (특히 그 탈맥락성, 몰역사성에 대해서)
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