Osaka & Kyoto, Japan –
Japan became the undisputed pioneer of peace museums in the post-World War II era with the establishment in 1955 of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. The third INMP conference was held in November 1998 in Osaka and Kyoto under the title, ‘Exhibiting peace: the contribution of museums to world peace’. For the first time, the conference took place in existing peace museums: the Osaka International Peace Centre, and the Kyoto Museum for World Peace at Ritsumeikan University. ‘Peace Osaka’ was opened in 1989, the Kyoto Museum three years later.
The conference owed much to the enthusiasm and support of Dr. Hajime Katsube, director of the Centre in Osaka; Professor Ikuro Anzai, director of the Museum in Kyoto who took the initiative for the conference; and Professor Atsushi Fujioka, the secretary-general of the conference’s organizing committee, also of Ritsumeikan University. The conference was notable for the large number of Japanese participants and for the very generous welcome that was extended to overseas participants. The latter, numbering about 80, were invited at no extra cost and as an extension of the conference, to join a two-day study trip to Hiroshima or Nagasaki, or a three-day trip to Okinawa. The conference and field visits were an unforgettable experience for all of the participants; for many, this was their first visit to the country and its peace museums.
A substantial volume of Presentation Papers was made available at the start of the conference and an equally impressive volume of proceedings, titled Exhibiting Peace, was published in 1999 in both English and Japanese editions. These and similar volumes of subsequent INMP conferences constitute a major source of information on the subject and are a lasting legacy of the network.
For most of its existence, the network has been greatly indebted to Professor Ikuro Anzai, to the Kyoto Museum for World Peace, and to Ritsumeikan University. It is also indebted to Dr. Kazuyo Yamane who represented Grass Roots House peace museum in Kochi City at the 1992 conference and who later was appointed Vice-Director of the Kyoto Museum for World Peace. One of the results of the 1998 conference was the creation that year of a Japanese Network of Museums for Peace (JNMP), later re-named Japanese Citizens’ Network of Museums for Peace.
Beginning in July 1999, the network started publishing a biannual newsletter in both Japanese and English editions, called MUSE. It has continuously been published (unlike the INMP newsletter) – the 34th issue in English appeared in January 2017. MUSE is the most comprehensive source of information about Japanese museums for peace; all issues can be read on the website of the Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage at www.tokyo-sensai.net/muse/. Throughout, Kazuyo Yamane has been centrally involved as an editor and translator with the assistance of Ikuro Anzai, and Masahiko Yamabe, formerly curator of the Kyoto Museum and latterly a researcher at the Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage. Regarding translation of MUSE as well as of the INMP newsletter, mention must be made of the volunteers involved, first and foremost Yoshiko Tanagawa, a long-time volunteer at the Kyoto Museum (who established Translators Without Borders).
A smaller network of large, official peace museums – the Japanese Association of Museums for Peace (JAMP), later re-named Association of Japanese Museums for Peace (AJMP) – had been founded already in 1994. The Kyoto Museum for World Peace at Ritsumeikan University is the only museum represented in both JNMP and AJMP networks, a reflection of its commitment to networking as well as of its central position among the country’s many and diverse museums for peace – itself the result of the vision and passion of its long-time director, Professor Ikuro Anzai. We also express our gratitude here to Ms Yuriko Shimano, his long-time secretary for her help and support over many years.