6.2 - Stefanie Scafer, ‘The Hiroshima Peace Memorial...

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Unformatted text preview: Stefanie Scafer, ‘The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and its Exhibition’ in: The Power of Memory in Modern Japan, Sven Saaier and Wolfgang Schwentker, Giobai Oriental, Folkestone, 2008, pp. 155-170. COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA Copyright Regufations 1 969 Warning This material has been reproduced and communicated to you by or on behalf of the University of Melbourne pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act). The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further copying or communication of this material by you may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act. Do not re move this notice THE POWER OF MEMORY IN MODERN JAPAN Edited by Sven Saaler and Wolfgang Schwentker 63 GLOBAL ORIENTAL 154 Institutions ofMemory: Memorials, Museums, National Heroes 32 See ’Kinoshita Naoyuki, Yamagata Aritomo-zo to Yamamoto Isoroku- 20' in Tan’o Yasunori (ed), Kioku to rekishi (Tokyo: Waseda daigaku Aizu Yaichi kinen hakubutsukan, 2007), p.69. 33 ‘Chfirei-to, chfikon-hi to no sochi ni kan suru tsucho' (27 November 1946), Yasukuni hyakunen-shi: shiryo hen (geknn), pp. 89, 90. 34 See ‘Tokyo no (load (15): Sengo no junan', Tokyo Shinbtm (17 November 959 . 35 gee 'lzanaka Shfiji, Kindai Nihon saisho no chokokukn (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kobunkan, 1994), pp. 250—2. 3“ Ibid., pp. 160—197. 37 Ibid. I 33 Tan'o Yasunori and Kawata Akihisa, imeji' no naka no sense (Tokyo: lwanami Shoten, 1996), p. 34. I 39 The name of this hill is borrowed from another limoriyama hill, located next to Kobe, where Kusunoki Masashige committed suicide in 1348 after his defeat against Ashikaga troops. It is therefore a metaphorical transpo- sition (mitate), which reactivares in Aizu the great deeds of one of the most important heroes of the Meiji Restoration. . i 40 The complete epigraph is as follow: ‘S.P.Q.R. nel segno del littorio R‘oma madre di civilta con la millenon'a colonna testimone d’eternrr gmndezzo tribute onore imperituro alto memoria degli eroi di‘ Biacco—tai [51's.]. Anna MCMXX VIII, VI era fascista’; and elsewhere: ‘Ailo spirito dei bushido’. 4‘ Hasso von Etzdorf (1900—89) was a German diplomat and seeretary at the German embassy in Italy at the beginning of the 19305. He had a brilliant career in the West German foreign office administration after the war, becoming Ambassador succesively to Canada and Great Britain. —._._._._--.u' ....i 9 The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and its Exhibition“L STEFANIE SCHAFER INTRODUCTION hen describing the last six decades of Japanese history one can hardly avoid the term 'post-war'. This era was frequently defined in accordance to what it was not, to what it had Overcome — that is, the war. By calling the present ’post-war', people would reassure themselves that the war was over and yet reaffirm the fundamental connection between now and then. While the past meant suffering, their present was characterized by peace and prosperity. Recently there have been many attempts to write a history of post-war Japan through changing memories of the War, but probably no war memory reflects the dualism of present and past, peace and war so fiercely as the memories of the first atomic bombing ~ Hiroshima, 6 August 1945. This paper aims to reconstruct the history of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (Hiroshima Heiwa Kinen Shiryokon) and its exhibition from the days of its founding until today. The museum’s history-telling and related discussions serve as a subtext to how the past was under» stood and how this understanding might have changed during the museum's existence. The different images of the past thereby testify for their respective presents. At the same time the exhibition’s history offers insight into the predicaments of official commemoration in general and of remembrance in Hiroshima in particular. THE FOUNDING AND THE EARLY YEARS OF THE MUSEUM On 2 September 1945, only a few weeks after the bombing, the prefec- ture of Hiroshima announced a first plan ’to mark out a sufficiently large 156 Institutions of Memory: Memorials, Museums, National Heroes territory close to the centre of the atomic explosion and to keep it as a commemorative site'.2 But the survivors refused to wait for the official site of commemoration that eventually took another ten years to com- plete. On the first anniversary of the bombing, citizens and officials mourned for their dead at the local Gokoku Shrine in what they called the Peace Recovery Festival (Heiiva Fukko Sai).3 The anniversary received wide international attention and thereby fostered awareness of the global relevance of the atomic bomb experience. As a result, the mayor expressed the need to strengthen the international aspects through an overall Peace Festival (Heiwa Sai) and to rebuild the city as the world’s peace city. The city administration agreed that this was a task which had to be carried out in the ’name of the nation', and therefore turned to the Tokyo government for legal support. In May 1949, after lengthy negotiations with the central government and the Occupation’s General Headquarters, the National Diet agreed to a law which was to express the commonly shared plan of all the citizens of Hiroshima to rebuild their city ‘as a peace memory city’ (cf. article 1).4 Long before the general post~war city construction law in 1968 the sur— viving citizens of Hiroshima felt a need for a collective urban self- definition. Apart from the financial aspects, there were mostly symbolic reasons for the wish to endow the city’s mission and self—definition with a national, and therefore superior, aura by means of a law. in article 3, for instance, the central government provided itself with the possibility to subsidize the town — planning measures in Hiroshima at its discre- tion. Furthermore, the Prime Minister committed himself to annual reports to the parliament on the implementation of the law. The imper- ative nature of this strong symbolic act was contrasted by legal loop- holes that empowered the government to allocate varying amounts of financial support, or to stop it completely, since it was the state and not the city that decided on the necessity of support (cf. article 3 and 4). From a legal perspective, the law provided only an inadequate tool for the city and its citizens to achieve their objectives. This, in turn, empha- sized the primary goal of the law to provide an identity. Despite the national framing of the city's reconstruction, the main responsibility and the actual realization remained on a local level, since all measures for implementing works were assigned to the mayor's incumbency (article 6). The law stressed a close cooperation between officials and citizens, but at the same time it left all final decisions in the hands of the city administration, especially the mayor. This distribution of power would influence the future museum deeply. In accordance with the new constitution a referendum was carried out and an overwhelming major- ity of the citizens agreed to the law.5 In June 1948 — when the city still lay in ashes a the city of Hiroshima had already decided on the construction of a Peace Memorial Park (Heiwa Kinen Karen) and invited architects to create its design.6 Since the municipal administration in its current state could not possibly bear the _, “flaw—J”. ...,.,._.,_..,~_._.._m_«m..flmw._ it The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and its Exhibition 157 costs of such a project all alone, it turned to the central government in Tokyo for help? The realization of the building project was part of a nation-wide, five-year recovery plan and would — in the case of Hiroshima — also provide the ‘cultural facilities worthy of a peace city’. The costs for the Peace Memorial Park, about 700,000 Yen, made up approximately 2.6 per cent of the overall financial support.8 The city administration would, after receiving these funds, take over and pay for the maintenance. The City Construction Law was proclaimed on the fourth anniversary of the bombing, and at the same time Tange Kenzo (1913—2005) was designated to realize his plan for the new Memorial Park in the Nakajima district.9 Indeed, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was to be Tange's debut. The district was located not far from the centre of the explosion, south of the T—shaped bridge of Aioi that had served as a target mark for the pilots. The bomb had completely destroyed this dis- trict and had left an open area in the heart of the city, which was now to be used as the official commemorative site. Tange‘s design for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park organizes the respective elements in the form of an isosceles triangle. The base spans an east-west axis and consists in a three-part complex of buildings, with the Peace Memorial Museum in the centre. To the right and left of the museum are two iden- tical buildings that serve as exhibition, meeting and office rooms,10 namely the Kinenkan to the east and the Kokaido“ to the west. On the north-south axis of symmetry a path leads from the Museum to the top of the triangle where the central memorial stone (ireihi) is located. A vis- itor’s view along this axis reaches the pond of peace (heiwa no ike) and then focuses on the A—bomb dome (genbaku domu), which consequently forms an architectural and semantic unity with the Museum and the central memorial stone. According to lnoue Shoichi, Tange mainly reused his olddesign for the Commemorative Building Project for the Construction of Greater East Asia (Dalia-A kensetsu kinen eizo ker'kaku) from 19-412.12 The earlier project was planned as a Shintoist-national site at the foot of Mount Fuji to commemorate the establishment of the Greater East Asian (Io-Prosperity Sphere (Dalia-A kyoeiken). This architectural legacy gave the Peace Museum a bizarre double meaning. Of course, the buildings’ function of commemoration suggested a similar plan, but Even the new buildings’ particular design, e.g. imitat— ing haniwa and azekurazukuri, referred to an architectural style which called for a “return to Japan’ according to the traditionalist ideology of wartime Japan.” The plans for the building, which represented a newborn, post-war Hiroshima and its central value, peace, derived from the very plans meant to celebrate wartime imperialism and militarism. The design’s inherent contradiction was noticed by contemporaries: ‘I think that the way of thinking which is at the centre [of Tange's] design includes post-war democracy, but in other ways it resembles pretty much the world view of the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.’14 158 Institutions of Memory: Memorials, Museums, National Heroes Although these explicit references were publicly known, they did not raise general doubt about the chosen design. During the following decades of remodelling — and even destruction and rebuilding — of the Museum, Tange’s design wasanever altered. And although never dis- cussed publicly, its ambiguous meaning became part of the museum’s message. "‘ The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum opened just in time for the tenth anniversary of the bombing but still consisted of only the central building, the Shin/5km,” which means archive or ‘resource collec- tion'.15 The visitors were mostly people from Hiroshima, survivors who had lost their families and friends through the atomic bomb. The museum did not present them with some unknown horror but with their own past.17 For years, people would go there to remember their dead, bringing whatever they might have found in the ruins to be pre- served as part of the collection. The museum’s collection went back to a semi-private initiative led by the geologist Nagaoka Shogo (1901-73). Nagaoka, who was then working for the city administration, and a group of citizens (known as the genbaku shin/o hozonkai since 1964) col— lected more than 6,700 objects between September 1945 and the open- ing of the Museum in 1955. The collection included bricks, molten glass, roof tiles, etc., mostly material artefacts from the ruins of Hiroshima. In 1949 these volunteers organized a temporary exhibition, which was later transferred to the museum. Like its predecessor, the Shiryfikan focused on the specimen, the remnant of the past. After the opening in 1955, the collection remained rather chaotic and unorgan- ized. Parts of the museum were used for industrial exhibitions and the only remaining hall struggled to contain a permanently growing collec- tion. This inspired the first maior remodelling of the Peace Memorial Museum. One detail of the revision and concomitant discussions shall exemplify the change as a whole. THE FIRST REMODELLING 1972—75 — ENFORCING THE REALISTIC In June 1972, Hiroshima City Council decided on a new way of present- ing clothes that had been worn by people exposed to the atomic bomb. Up to this point, only six simple wooden ‘display dummies’18 had been used. Four of these represented housewives, wearing a dress or working trousers, and young high school students, wearing labour service uni- forms. The remaining two figures were soldiers in military uniform. The dummies were arranged in three glass cases, each accompanied by an explanatory note. While the two cases with the female dummies were placed next to each other and were thus frequently shown in newspa— per articles, the soldiers were displayed at a different place of the exhi- bition and hence often ignored. These simple dummies were to be replaced by wax figures, a mother with her child and another woman fleeing the fires.19 For those parts of The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and its Exhibition 159 gills-ire 9.1: The display dummies prior to the remodelling. Courtesy, Chfigoku m rm. the body, which had been directly exposed to the bomb’s radiation, the artisans used paint and special substances to imitate injuries and burns?" The hair was dishevelled and charred. The new arrangement showed the figures with their garments on in one glass case. A coloured photograph of the burning city became the background for the figures. Instead of the former static display the dummies were now shown in movement, stumbling away, dragging the child with them, stretching out their arms like somnambulists in the realm of nightmares. Hence, the 1972 arrangement went far beyond the information conveyed by the mere clothing. it showed the effects of the atomic bomb on the human body and the situation at the time of the explosion, i.e. its his- torical context. Much effort was put into the details of this dramatic change. Specialists for wax figures came from Kyoto and met with eyewit— nesses.21 The scene was even given a specific time and place. One of the artisans explained: ’We have avoided a dramatic expression. Wax works have been used for medical preparations for a long time; these dummies also are medical material.‘22 Reference to the apparently neutral and legitimate realm of science could not conceal the fact that the figures introduced a new approach into the exhibition. This turn provoked a hot controversy on the proper ways of remembering, which the Chfigoku Shinbun named the 'realism controversy' (riarukci rowel” The pros and cons brought up in this debate on representing the past cast an 160 Institutions ofMemory: Memorials, Museums, National Heroes I: \m it Figure 9.2: The new arrangement. Courtesy, Ciifigoku Shinbun. interesting light on contemporary war remembrance in general and remembering Hiroshima in particular. I Mayor Yamada SetSuo, who had initiated and advocated the project, put the supporters’ stand like this: ‘The current arrangement is not in accor— dance with the actual situation after the bombing. I want to bring it as close as possible to reality, to truth.’24 Yamada presented a new exhibition concept, which did not see the Shiryfikan primarily as a ‘resource collec- tion'. Traces of the past were disappearing from the city’s face and a gen- eration was growing up which did not know the war, so Ya mada intended to mend the growing gap between past and present by means of approx- mation. The ‘realistic’ (tiara) mode of representation meant a likeness to the original, the true event (makoto). By connecting these two terms, Yamada claimed the ‘truth’ for his preferred representational mode. Nagaoka Shogo, who had laid the foundations of the Museum's collecn tion and served as its first curator, opposed this idea: ‘The first goal [of the Museum] was to address the cruelty of the atomic bomb and to propagate i l The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and its Exhibition 161 peace using the material actually exposed to the bomb.’25 In Nagaoka’s thinking, the historical remains of the bombing lay at the core of the Museum. They were a historical source of understanding as well as mean- ingful relics. These relics bore a fragment of the past and hence provided the only legitimate access to the ’truth of the atomic bombing’, a bridge between the viewer and the lost past. ‘It is a misunderstanding to say’, he continued, ‘that because the actual objects are unsatisfying one could strengthen them through models. People from all over the world do not come to see models but objects of the atomic bombing. ’25 In Nagaoka’s understanding, what was unique to Hiroshima was the actual experience of the bombing to which both people and objects testified. The authentic genbaku shiryo possessed an ’aura’ that allowed the spectator, i.e. the museum’s visitor, to bridge the gap between his present and the lost past; such an ’aura' could not be evoked by a reproduction. That put the sur- vivors and the relics in a unique position to convey a vanishing past. Hence it is not a surprise that the Council of Atomic and Hydrogen Bomb Victim Groups (Nikon Gerrsuibaku Higaisha Dantai Kyokai; in short: Hidankyo) opposed the new display techniques. Moritaki lchiro, then chairman of the Hidankyo, explained: ’The burned clothing is sufficient. No matter how hard we try to reconstruct, artificially, the situation of that day, we can never represent it!” instead of ‘realistic' he therefore called the representational mode suggested by the administration ’artificial’ (tsukurimono),23 in contrast to the survivors‘ own authentic experience. By emphasizing authenticity and experience, the opponents defined the source of legitimacy and the addressee of the Museum: 'Even though it may not be as strong [as the replicas], each and every artefact contains the truth of the atomic bombing in its silence and contains the longing for peace of those surviving families who donated it.’29 Such an exhibition would place the victim in its centre, as both its creator and its addressee. By opposing a reconstruction—based exhibition the sur- vivors put their own experience and identity as victims at the forefront. For them, only remnants of the past were left, and those remnants, peo- ple and things alike, bore a blank, the 'silence’, which referred to the lost. Yet the blank did not mean deficiency but was the mark of their authenticity and therefore possessed the power to convey their message. In accordance with this, the objects were usually referred to as ihin, meaning not simply a leftover of the past, but a legacy and therefore an obligation. The ihin, the only remains of those who vanished in the bombing, made a claim. By representing those who were no longer pres- ent, the ihin demanded that the dead should not be forgotten. This demand was the mnemonic heritage to the future. Lessening the impor- tance of the object within the Museum would be tantamount to negli- gence towards that heritage. Supporters of the wax dummies saw those fragments and their silence as obstacies to their goals: ‘[The display dummies] do not have the power to express the magnitude of the atomic bomb. In order to keep claiming 162 Institutions of Memory: Memorials, Museums, National Heroes the prayers of Hiroshima [we need] the wax figures, which can recon— struct the situation at the time of the bombing even more realistically.’30 'Reconstruction’ (saigen) replaced the ’remnants’ (thin). This display tech- nique, fostered byqthe Museum’s administration, was not limited to the wax figures. The early 19705 design included a diorama of the city in 1940 as well as a life-sized reconstruction of a pre—war homes"1 Yamada Setsuo stated: ’I want this catastrophe, in which more than 200,000 peo- ple died, to burn itself stronger into the minds of the spectators, and the Museum to become more efficient.’32 If the event was to be remembered it had to leave a trace in people's minds. His eyes were set on the new audience for which the exhibition would have to prepare. Since the late 19605, the percentage of foreigners visiting the Museum had increased significantly.33 However, young students on their annual school excur- sions still comprised most of the visitors to Hiroshima.34 The increasing wealth of the 19605 and 1970s supported this expanding domestic tourism, which reached its zenith in the late 19805.35 The new visitors, both students and foreigners, had experienced neither the war nor the atomic bomb. in Yamada’s thinking, the appropriate way of adapting to the new audience was to provide a ‘realistic’ representation. What these people needed was neither mere information nor some remnants to trig- ger their memories, but something else: 'The clothing isn’t bad, but the display dummies can’t convey the misery of the atomic bombing pre- cisely without a facial expression.’36 The properties of the human face (hyojo) conveyed emotions, which were seen as an effective and legiti~ mate way of connecting with the past, leaving a burned mark in the pub- lic memory. Since this past was vanishing, the similarity of a replica and the emotions thereby conveyed were the best means to achieve the ’re— experiencing’ of the past (tsui taiken). The opponents did not criticize an emotional appeal in general. Almost everyone agreed that the question of the final meaning of the Hiroshima bombing could not be answered by scientific data. it had to do with the human experience and with suffering, that is, emotions. What did appal the opponents was the idea of reconstructing or reliv- ing the past as an — at least to some degree — achievable and desirable task, even though it meant depicting the atomic bomb experience as the ultimate evil. Many survivors opposed such a technique, which would constitute an apotheosis of their sufferings. For them, the mere idea that what was forever their unique experience could be relived was an inSult to the victims and proved the administration’s ‘superficial tourist con— sciousness.“ The victims, quitelike the relics they were defending, had experienced the bomb. In their eyes, approximation could not bridge the gap and likeness could not recreate the past. The fragmented state of the past and the silence deriving from the traumatic experience were reflected by the mode of representation: the object itself. The victims' fight against the wax figures has therefore a strong connection to the survivors’ political fight to be officially acknowledged as victims.38 1 The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and its Exhibition 163 The quarrel between the two factions continued for a long time and at one point entered the official agenda of a city council hearing, dur- ing which the opposition (communists and socialists) showed them- selves as fervent opponents of the wax figures.39 But the mayor insisted on his decision and the change was put forward, apparently without any concessions to the opponents.40 Still, the reactions of the first visi— tors give evidence that the change was a matter of political power rather than public consent. THE SECOND REMODELLING 1989494 w QUESTIONING THE MEANING OF HIROSHIMA The next major remodelling of the exhibition did not occur until the late 19805. Once more, as in the early 19703, it was one particular aspect of the changes that provoked a public discussion. And again this occur— rence was exemplary of the transformation as a whole. The topic of the debate was Iapan’s role as a perpetrator in the war. This discussion had occurred before in the history of the Museum but never as fervently as in the late 19803.‘11 In 1987, fourteen non-governmental organizations demanded that the exhibition had to show the connection between Hiroshima and the Japanese war atrocities. The so—called 'perpetrator’s corner discussion’ (kagaisha komi ran) falsely evokes the idea that the citizens wanted every detail of the war to be explained, thereby changing the atomic bomb exhibition into an exhibition of the 15 Years War (1931—45). Their goal was an ’exhibition corner with materials on the military city of Hiroshima as a perpetrator’, i.e. a specific account of militarism or eth- nic discrimination concerning Hiroshima.“- The protesters demanded that Hiroshima’s role as a military city with a thriving weapons indus- try, as well as the situation of the Koreans in Hiroshima, be explained in detail. The Peace Memorial Museum had never gone beyond the events of 6 August except where it dealt with exclusively civil aspects of pre— and post-war history. Yet Hiroshima‘s military past was indeed exten« sive. The army had played a crucial part in the city’s development, beginning with the quartering of the 5th Division in 1873 and extend- ing throughout Japan’s imperialistic expansion and the Pacific War.43 ’Hiroshima was a flourishing military city and many people from the Korean peninsula were deported. If the Museum doesn’t present the problem from the point of view of the perpetrator, it cannot convince"?1 Supporters of a perpetrator's corner argued that the atomic bomb could not be described satisfactorily unless it was depicted within its imperial- istic, racist and capitalist frame work, in other words, understood as structural violence rather than a singularity cut off from history. The supporters pointed out that civilian life in pre-atomic bomb Hiroshima was also part of this setting, since its wealth was primarily the result of Japanese militarism. The 19705 design with its reconstruction of a 164 Institutions of Memory: Memorials, Museums, National Heroes pre-war home as well as the wax figures, had focused on the civil aspects, thereby making the exhibition a Hiroshima Museum of Victims. Still, when the leaders of the NGOs demanded a widening of the museum’s focus they did not try to justify the atomic bombing. To the contrary: ’In order to express the horror of war and of the atomic bomb, their sense— lessness, it is necessary not only to condemn the bomb but also to think about the reasons why it was dropped."‘*5 The bomb had been dropped within the context of the Pacific War that was started by Japan and hence part of the story of the bombing. Any fragmentary history ofthe bomb- ing would lend support to those who denied their responsibility in line with official Japanese denials of war atrocities and would nourish the newly arising historical revisionism. Taking a critical stance .towards Japan's militarist past, on the other hand, would offer the possrbiirty of criticizing the American decision to make use of the bomb. Until that time, the Museum had mentioned neither the decision-making process in general nor the reason for choosing Hiroshima in particular. The exhi— bition was limited to the explosion itself, giving scarce information on civilian life in Hiroshima before the war. The critics’ argument promoted Hiroshima’s anti-nuclear mission as a part of an overall anti-war move- ment. Condemning Hiroshima meant condemning war in general. Munakata Motoi, a spokesman of the movement, said: ' "No more Hiroshimas" means to prevent a new rising of the military city of Hiroshima and of a military base in the front rank of an Asian invasion. That is why it is important to know the past exactly!“5 Naturally, the initiative met with severe conservative and nationalist opposition. ‘The perpetrator’s corner leaves a seed of evil in Japan’s future', they insisted. ’Perpetration is a concept which the victors made into the premise of the Tokyo Trials in order to convict the defendants unilaterally!“ This line of argumentation is part of a whole set of histor- ical revisionism that appeared in the 19805. Ueno Chizuko's writings on the ‘comfort women’ offer a sharp analysis of the revisionist argument: The issue is the recovery of national pride. Their claim is truthful his- tory, which readily rejects a ’historical view of self-demonization’ and maintains pride in their country. This is their claim. For whom on earth, for what purpose a ‘truthful history’? The ‘truthful history’ covers up the diversity and conflicts among the ’nation‘ by creating just one legitimate ‘national history’. On whose side are they?“18 in the case of the museum's exhibition, the revisionists were certainly not on the side of those whose memories were being repressed, like the Korean victims who until today struggle for equal compensations. The administration of Mayor Araki and the museum's direction also opposed the changes, although their reasons were different. Museum Director Motokawa explained: ‘lt is impossible to demand an exhibition of national war responsibility from a single [local] administration..’49 The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and 1' ts Exhibition 165 This argument misunderstood the actual request, which emphasized those aspects of war responsibility that were linked to Hiroshima. The mayor's secretary Ikeda Masahiko who was the administration’s repre- sentative to the committee deciding on the new exhibition pointed out another — maybe the most important -— argurnent: ‘Because you could — if the perpetrator’s part is emphasized too strongly — say "And that’s why the bomb was dropped!,” we do not emphasize the perpetrator’s part. Also, in our view an exhibition which depicts the military city would simply be a history of Hiroshima.’50 Frequently, the public was con- cerned that explaining the causes of the bombing could be mistaken for a justification of the event. That might be the reason why the decision- making process concerning where to drop the bomb had not been part of the exhibition until then. Even though a well-balanced exhibition was difficult to achieve, Ikeda’s following statement points to the dan- gers which the Museum faced if they continued ignoring the topic: 'Japanese imperialism bothered its neighbours. But if we overemphasize this point, the misunderstanding arises that the bombing of Hiroshima was right.’51 The euphemistic term ‘to bother’ or ’to annoy’ (meiwaku) for the invasion of Asia indicates the argument’s frequent connection to right-wing rhetoric, which downplayed Japan’s role as an aggressor and thereby avoided any forthright acknowledgement of responsibility. Such a stance invited criticism for exempiifying ’victim consciousness’ (higaishu ishiki). ‘Victim consciousness’ refers to a post-war discourse that supported the idea of a peace-loan nation by telling the Japanese past as a history of victims. Although this concept is well known among Japanese critics, this time it was raised by the International Herald Tribune. In April 1990, the IHT reported on the Peace Museum’s exhibi~ tion and the debate over the perpetrator’s corner. It placed these events in the context of Japan‘s still unsolved problems with its past, eg. the textbook controversy, the diplomatic problems with China and Korea, and the shooting of Motoshima Hitoshi, the Mayor of Nagasaki in 1990.52 The IHT argued that, ‘[s]ome see the Hiroshima dispute as another chapter in a continuing story of rightist and peace groups trying to exploit the memorial’.53 They would instrumentalize the victims in order to advance their political agenda, stressing the aspect of Japanese suffering during the war. Fukushima Takayoshi, the second mayor, dis- agreed: ‘The exhibition and the victim consciousness are two different things. We pray for eternal peace but do not attempt to support a victim consciousness. We do not believe that America is only the perpetrator and Japan only the victim!“ Fukushima questioned a taxonomy, which drew a clear line between victims and perpetrators. Explaining the atomic bomb did not necessarily mean to stage a ‘victim consciousness exhibition’. According to this line of argumentation Fukushima would have had to comply with the critics’ demands and support an exhibition that conveyed a more complex concept of victim-perpetrator relations. If the narration of the exhibition was limited to the mere suffering while 166 Institutions of Memory: Memorials, Museums, National Heroes leaving out the historical context, the victims became indeed vulnerable to political exploitation. Thus the perpetrators would go uncharged and the narration could become the basis for a new nauonalrsm and possrbly for new harm. If the museum was to stand up to its ideal of remember- ing the victims, it had to defy any political abuse. I h Yet, taking a non-political stance had been one of the prem1ses of t e broader Japanese anti-nuclear movement ever srnce the World Peace Conference in 1963 when the Communists insisted on communistcoun- tries’ legitimate right to own and use nuclear weapons. W1th1n the bounds of the Peace Museum, peace was promoted as an ideal that should transcend political frontiers. This dogma left a lasting Inherent contradic- tion and was a frequent source of trouble, because remembering the atomic bomb without touching political issues proved to be an 1mpossr- ble task. The case of Motoshima Hitoshi had shown that any serious com- mitment to the cause of the anti-nuclear movement meant putting oneself at the front line of current politics. Many agreed that ‘no more Hiroshimas’ also meant ‘no more Okinawas’ or 'no more. Chernobyls, and accepted the need for a markedly political stand, opposrng, for exam- ple, their country’s policy of supplying energy via nuclear power plants. Since its topics, war and peace, are political issues themselves, the Hiroshima Museum is inevitably a political institution. By condemning the atomic bombing the museum would either have to question the logic of war and thus the state’s monopoly of violence or would end up With inherent contradictions, which would make their cause incredible. ironically, what solved the dispute in the end was not a thorough insight into the mechanics of violence and power but a result of these mechanisms themselves. Through US news c0verage, the debate took on an international dimension and became even more passionate. This probably led Araki, the reluctant mayor of Hiroshima, who sympathrzed with the conservatives’ cause,55 to comply at least to some degree. When the remodelled Shiryokun opened in 1991 it contained a new account of Korean victims, but it still failed to fulfil the citizens‘ demands. W1th the election of a new mayor of Hiroshima, who was head of the Peace Culture Foundation,56 the museum’s policy did change. Hiraoka Takashi was an acknowledged specialist on Korean issues and used influence to change the story told by the museum. In 1994, the exhibruon was re- opened, fulfilling all the demands brought up by the NGOs seven years earlier. When visiting the museum today one encounters one of the most balanced japanese accounts of wartime and post-war Japan, one that includes numerous foreign and national counter-memories. CONCLUSION The historical outline of the exhibition given above reveals multiple lay- ers of diverging war memories overlapping each other. The founding of the Peace Park and the museum's early exhibition indicate that the com- The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and its Exhibition 167 memorative project of Hiroshima was — although affected by interna- tional interests — initiated on a local level and designed for local needs. It was the site where hibakusiia could mourn their dead and it also pro- vided the site where they would face their traumatic past. In order to mend the fissure severing the hibakusha from their environment, peo- ple needed to give the bomb a meaning and, if possible, a proper place in the present. The Shiryo‘kan was designed to be that place.“ The remodelling period of 1971 to 1975 marked the time when the nation’s interest in the atomic bombing could no longer be ignored. For Japan, it was a period of economic high-growth and political recovery, even though the victims of the atomic bomb were largely excluded from this rise to wealth and power. By defending the aura of the remnants, sur- vivors were fighting what they saw as a political abuse of their past that threatened to deprive them of their last resort, their singular experience. By the early 1990's, the Shityokan finally had become a full-fledged his- tory museum (hakubutsukan or chinretsukan), including pre- and post- war developments. The discussion on the 'perpetrator‘s corner' reflected a turning point in post-war Japan at the end of the Showa period. Attempts to redefine the present through new accounts of the past sprang up among commoners and intellectuals, like the 'self—history’ (iibunsiii) boom of the mid-19805. These new accounts ranged from unprecedented open-mindedness and expressions of responsibility, on the one hand, to a new historical revisionism that opposed any recona ciliation with the wartime past, on the other hand. One reason why people experienced a historical crossroad might be the generational shift. People who knew nothing of the war outnumbered the survivors by then. The museum participated in the controversy and finally adapted to a new audience, which did see the Hiroshima bombing as a historical event that was not part of their life story. Hiroshima remembrance is often linked to discourses on post-war national identity and victim consciousness.58 Despite the museum's rightful placement within this national discourse, it is important to point out the private and local aspects of Hiroshima remembrance in order fully to understand both the problems inherent to national iden— tity discourses and the dynamics of remembering. Remembrance and commemoration are no mere devices for the purpose of enforcing a national discourse, although one might argue that they only exist within a social framework. The atomic bomb victims are a “community of memory’ sharing a common past (even though not an old one). Their experience is the identity-founding bond of memory, which worked against a nation’s tendency to blend divergent memories into one smooth narration. These two concepts of memory (of the nation and of the group) were doomed to create conflicts and fights, as shown in the manifold disputes between local authorities and private groups. Although the original purpose of the Memorial Park was to create a space of unison urban se1f~definition, it eventually became the site for [inbw—Jpgp‘amflmWVEfimwgrfl/u _. mm... w.“ a. .17.. tr. .4. 7:. .11.. EmWWMWm-umméawW—twwamwmmraw-me‘vflimW-Jfi‘ m 168 Institutions ofMemory: Memorials, Museums, National Heroes conflict, an ambivalent place that fed the newly arising nationalism while, at the same time, challenging it and its stories of homogeneity. 1 \DW‘JGNUI 10 11 12 13 14 15 1t: 17 18 19 NOTES I want to thank deeply the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Toshiba International Foundation as well as the staff of the Chfigoku Shinbun Peace Library. This study would not have been possi- ble without their generous support and help. Chfigoku Shinbunsha (ed.), Nenpyo Hiroshima 40 nen no kiroku (Hiroshima: Chugoku Shinbunsha, 1986), p. 55. Chfigoku Shinbun, 5 August 2000. The nation-wide Gokokn shrines are strongly connected to the shintoist-nationalist ideology of wartime Japan. Yet the reason to choose this place was probably its setting right under the centre of the explosion. The ideological connotations of the site were apparently no obstacle. For the Hiroshima Peace Memory City Construction Law (Hiroshima Heiwa Kinen Toshi Kensetsu Ho) and its interpretation see lbid., pp. 190—4. Chfigoku Shinbunsha (ed.), Nenpyo, p. 190. lbid., p. 49. lbid., p. 55. lbid., pp. 198, 207. lnoue Shoichi gives an interesting analysis of the history of Tange's design. See lnoue Shoichi, Kto, kiccha, japanesuku a Daito-A no posuto modan (Tokyo: Seidosha, 1987). Chfigoku Shinban, 20 February 1952a; Chfigoku Shinban, 20 February 1952b. Names from lnoue, Alto, kicchu, iapanesuku, p. 286. In the 19903, the Kokaido was renamed Kokasai Koryfi Kaikan after it had been pulled down and rebuilt. lbid., p. 286. lbid., p. 290. lbid., p. 294. The Kinenkan would also host the ‘Hiroshima Recovery Exhibition’ (Hiroshima Fakko Taihakurankai) in 1958. Lisa Yoneyama, 'Postmodernism and the Symbols of History: The Relationship between Collection, Display, and Materials in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Museum of Kamigata Performing Arts’ in Angus Lockyer et ai. (eds), Japanese Civilization in the Modern World XVII: Collection and Representation (Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology, 2001), p. 140. _ Hiroshima-shi (ed.), Hiroshima sliislii — Zaiseihen (Hiroshima: Hiroshima- shi, 1983), p. 232. Chagoku Shinbun, 24 June 1972. Sankei Shinban, 17 December 1972. The two soldiers were apparently not remodelled. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and its Exhibition 169 2° Clifigoka Sliinbun, 24 June 1972. 21 Yomiun‘ Shinban, 25 August 1972. 22 Chfl'goku Shinbun, 31 July 1973. 23 Chfigoku Shinbun, 24 June 1972. 24 Ibid. 25 Ibid. 35 Ibid. 37 lbid. Although Moritaki was chairman of the Hidankyo, his statement does not necessarily reflect the attitude of all hibakusha. However, Moritaki did present the Hidankyo's official position, speaking out for many survivors. The newspaper records support this view. 28 Chfigoku Shinbun, 31 July 1973. 29 Ibid. 3" Asahi Shinbun, 16 July 1972. 31 Chiigoku Shinban, 31 October 1972. 32 lbid. Yamada Setsuo himself was an atomic bomb survivor and supported their case, e.g. help for Korean bomb victims. But his primary goal as mayor and city official was the city’s international political mission. 33 Chi—igoku Shinban, 9 April 1967. The number has been increasing ever since. In 1985 foreigners made up 5,7%, in 2000 already 8,7% of all visi- tors. Chfigoku Shinban, 21 May 1986. 34 Zaidan Hojin Hiroshima Heiwa Bunka Senta (ed.), (Zai) Hiroshima Heiwa 35 36 37 3B 39 40 41 42 43 4-1 45 4G 47 48 49 50 Banka Santa 20 nen shi — Santa no ayumi (Hiroshima: Hiroshima Heiwa Bunka Senta, 1997), p. 83. For example, in 1985, 39,7% of the visitors were students. Hiroshima Heiwa Kinen Shiryokan (ed.), 30 men no aynmi (Hiroshima: Hiroshima Heiwa Kinen Shiryokan, 1987), p. 21. ' Sankei Sliiriban, 17 December 1972. Chfigoku Shinbun, 16 July 1972. Chfigoku Shinban, 7 August 1973. Chiigoku Shinbun, 16July 1972. Chfigokn‘Shinbun, 31 July 1973. Asahi Shinbun, 11 March 1990. Clifigoku Shinban, 26 October 1987. Asahi Shinban, 11 March 1990. Mainicni Shinbun, 4 March 1988. Asahi Shinbun, 11 May 1990. lbid. Mainiclii Shinbnn, 4 March 1988. ileuo Chizuko, Nashonarizumu to jenrla (Tokyo: Seidosha, 1998), pp. 50—1. ' Asalri Shinbnn, 11 May 1990. It would be interesting to ask who it" not a local or private group should advance such criticism. If opposing nuclear weapons included criticism of the nation who but some non-national entity could advance such a stance? Mainichi Shinbun, 4 March 1988. 170 Institutions ofMemory: Memorials, Museums, National Heroes 51 Asahr‘ Shinban, 11 May 1990. 52 Motoshima was shot and seriously wounded by a right-wing radical because he had publicly stated that the Shfiwa Emperor bore responsibil— ity for the war. _, 53 International Herald Tribune, 20 April 1990, p. 2. 54 Asahi Shinbun, 13 May 1990. " 55 Asahi Shinbun, 11 May 1990. _ 56 The Peace Culture Foundation (Heiwa Bunka Santa) was in charge of the museum but was also part of the city administration. Its staff came from the regular town employees. ’ ‘ 57 This is true in a geographical sense. There were other ‘places like art, literature, etc. ‘ I I 53 James J. Orr, The Victim as Hero: Ideologies of Peace and National identity in Postwar Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2001). 10 A Usable Past? Historical Museums of the Self-Defence Forces and the Construction of Continuities ANDRE HERTRICH INTRODUCTION :1 this chapter I will analyse the exhibitions of museums of the Japanese Self-Defence Forces (SDF or iieirai) and their representation of the Imperial Army and Navy.1 Officially the SDF present themselves as entirely new organizations, founded in the 19503, that are not con- nected to Japan's pre-war military. Starting from the rearmament processes in the 19505, I will describe the three Self-Defence Forces‘ (Air, Ground and Maritime SDF) contradictory relation to their past and illustrate my observations with the presentation of military history in the SDF’s Public Relations Centres. The positions taken in these publicly orientated places differ profoundly from those taken by the only semi- puhlic historical museums in SDF facilities. While the Public Relations Centres tend to deny or at least to downplay any connection between the SDF and the Imperial military branches, the non-public museums display items related to the Japanese military before 1945 rather promi- nently and thus construct continuities from the Imperial Army and Imperial Navy in Japan‘s post-war military history. WHAT ARE THE SELF-DEFENCE FORCES? In 1954, the Japanese Diet passed the Defence Agency Law and the Self- Defence Forces Law and thus established these institutions as central pil- lars of Japan’s national security. To that date, post—war Japan had not possessed any armed forces, since the Imperial Army and Imperial Navy had been disarmed and dissolved in the aftermath of the Second World ...
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6.2 - Stefanie Scafer, ‘The Hiroshima Peace Memorial...

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