Peace Museum on Ninoshima Island to open in April for preservation, exhibition of war remains

by Natsumi Teramoto, Staff Writer

Volunteer guides hope to provide venue for people to deepen understanding

A group of Ninoshima historical volunteer guides is preparing to open a peace museum on Ninoshima Island, located in Hiroshima’s Minami Ward. The guide group is composed of island residents, and the museum will preserve and exhibit materials related to the remains of war facilities located there. Members plan to make the Ninoshima Peace Museum a base of peace studies for visitors to the island. On February 12, members of the guide group visited Hiroshima City Hall and requested that Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui handwrite the sign to be placed at the museum’s entrance.

Construction of the museum began in January on a piece of property owned by the national government located in the southeastern part of the island. The property serves as a public space for people to pray for repose of the souls of victims. The one-story ferroconcrete building will have an exhibit room and an office measuring 35 and 15 square meters in space, respectively. Construction costs will total about 10 million yen, fees that will be covered by subsidies from the Hiroshima City government. Japan’s national government will lease the property to the city government free of charge.

Military facilities were built on Ninoshima Island between the Sino-Japanese War and the Pacific theater of World War II. Many wounded were brought to the island after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Numerous remnants and monuments remain on the island today, such as a pier once used by the military and the remains of facilities utilized for military horses. The museum will provide explanations on panels and display the personal belongings of victims excavated on the island.

Also on display will be photographs that show how German prisoners of war spent their days on the island during World War I. The photos are owned by Kazuo Miyazaki, 72, a local historian who serves as leader of the guide group. According to Mr. Miyazaki, the museum will open upon request for the time being.

The volunteer guide group was established in September last year and now has about 15 members. It engages in such activities as the training of peace education guides. After meeting with Mayor Matsui, Mr. Miyazaki expressed his gratitude for the city government’s support. “I hope the museum can come to serve as a venue for people to actually witness the remains of war, deepen their learning, and consider the meaninglessness of war,” he said. Mayor Matsui willingly consented to the guide group’s request for his calligraphy. “I hope the museum will become a new base from which the history and culture of Ninoshima Island can be passed down to children,” said Mr. Matsui.

(Originally published on February 15, 2021)