New Nagai Takashi Memorial Museum to open on April 20, to display hanging scroll written by Nagai, Peace Bell erected

by Natsumi Teramoto, Staff Writer

Dr. Nagai’s hometown Mitoya, Unnan, Shimane Prefecture

To honor Dr. Takashi Nagai (1908-1951), an A-bomb survivor of Nagasaki, the new Nagai Takashi Memorial Museum will open in his hometown in the Mitoya district of the city of Unnan, Shimane Prefecture, on April 20. Though he was injured in the atomic bombing, Dr. Nagai continued to treat survivors and record his findings. As the old museum became decrepit, the city government built a new museum with a larger exhibition room. Among the artifacts on display will be a hanging scroll written by Nagai, which was given as a gift to the leading actor of a play “The Bells of Nagasaki,” produced based on Dr. Nagai’s essay. He was moved to see the play.

The new museum is a one-story steel-frame building occupying about 580 square meters. Visitors can learn Dr. Nagai’s personal history as well as what he experienced at the time of the atomic bombing. About 100 items, including postcards addressed to his friend or teacher, are displayed in the exhibition room.

Dr. Nagai wrote lyrics on the hanging scroll he gave to the actor. One of the newly displayed items is a replica of the rosary that belonged to his wife Midori Nagai, which he discovered in the ruins of the fire. The Peace Bell stands in the parking lot of the museum as its new symbol. The six-meter-high monument was built with donations sent from around the country. Shigenobu Fujiwara, 63, the director of the museum, said, “The new exhibition room has a bright atmosphere. I hope visitors will learn about his attitude to life and behavior.”

The museum’s library is twice the size of the old one and has some 5,400 books, including those for children. The multipurpose room can be used by individuals or groups for peace studies. In a library room dedicated to Dr. Nagai are books written by him and those on peace. Construction costs were about 310 million yen.

The former Mitoya town government built the original museum to honor Dr. Nagai in 1970. The building was closed in May 2018, partly because it did not have a restroom. After the old building was dismantled, the new structure was completed in September 2020. The city government has been preparing to open the museum.

A ceremony to announce the Nagai Takashi Peace Award will be held on April 18. Admission to the exhibition room is 300 yen for those 19 years old and older. Admission to the library is free. The museum is open between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., and closed on Mondays and the day after national holidays.

(Originally published on April 15, 2021)