Interview with Takuo Takigawa, new director of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, on museum’s next efforts

by Kanako Noda, Staff Writer

Takuo Takigawa, 60, is the newly-appointed director of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, located in Naka Ward. As the main building of the museum reopens on April 25, after extensive renovations to the exhibition space to create a stronger focus on authentic artifacts from the atomic bombing, Mr. Takigawa sat down for an interview with the Chugoku Shimbun. He responded to questions about the museum’s direction for the future and how the A-bomb experiences can be handed down to younger generations. He said that the museum will pursue another effort to record talks made by tellers of the A-bomb experience, and revealed the idea of establishing an advisory board to aid with the museum’s management in the future.

You assumed the post of director in April. How would you describe your vision for the museum?
The museum is charged with conveying the reality of the atomic bombing to the world — the embodiment of the spirit of the Hiroshima people — and handing this down to the generations that follow. Toward this end, we will continue making persistent efforts to collect, investigate, and research all evidence linked to the atomic bombing. We will strive to share the sorrow and suffering of individual A-bomb victims and their family members, to the extent we’re able, and have our exhibits evoke strong impressions in visitors.

The survivors are aging. How will you proceed with efforts to convey their A-bomb experiences to others?
The average age of the A-bomb survivors who are sharing their experience of the atomic bombing has reached 84, and how to hand down their efforts to the next generation is an urgent concern for us. From this fiscal year, we are initiating a new project in which we plan to capture their testimonies in 60-minute videos. At the moment, we have 37 survivors who will take part in recording these videos and we expect to complete this work over the next two years. Working with the Tourism Department of the City of Hiroshima, we also want to invite more schools in the Kanto region to visit the museum on school trips by reaching out to more schools there.

In September, the General Conference of the International Council Of Museums (ICOM) will take place in Kyoto. During the conference, an off-site meeting of an ICOM committee will also be held at the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima. How do you plan to take advantage of this opportunity?
It is an important chance for us to have experts with discriminating eyes look at our museum. We would like to hear their opinions on our facility and our exhibits from various viewpoints and we hope that they will share the strong points of the museum and the Hiroshima area widely to the world. On September 5, we will be hosting an ICOM panel discussion with representatives from such places as the Gernika Peace Museum in Spain, and this event will be open to the public. I’m hoping that many people will join us on that occasion.

You mentioned the importance of establishing an advisory board to solicit opinions from experts on the administration of the museum.
When the advisory committee discussed the renewal of the museum’s exhibition space in March, it made this recommendation. We need to listen to a variety of views with regard to current museum operations, including management, exhibits, and public awareness activities. We would like to pursue this idea with the intent of developing an advisory board that has some flexibility for obtaining opinions from experts in the field depending on the particular issues at hand.

(Originally published on April 25, 2019)