(June 16, 2008)
by Masahiko Yamabe, Curator
The Center of the Tokyo Raid and War Damages was established in March 2002 as an affiliated research organ of the Institute of Politics and Economy. Funds for this purpose were obtained through private donations and the facility continues to be supported through donations and memberships. The land for the building, which is located in an area hard hit by the air raids, was donated by a single generous supporter.
Widespread bombing, including the firebombing of Tokyo on March 10, 1945, claimed the lives of over 100,000 people and resulted in over 3,000,000 displaced from their homes. With a firm determination to “never repeat the tragedy of war and air raid damages,” the Center communicates the reality of the past and conveys its desire for peace in the present. The facility exhibits artifacts and documents that the Association to Record the Tokyo Air Raid has collected since the 1970s as well as new items that have been donated to the Center.
In the spring of 2007, the Center building was renovated and a new wing. As a result, the exhibits have been expanded and a new lecture room can hold up to 100 people. Exhibits currently include drawings of the air raids by survivors; maps of the affected areas; documents on aspects of the bombings, including information on incendiary bombs and air defense; documents connected to relief activities and the treatment of the dead; and leaflets dropped by the U.S. military. The Center also includes a re-creation of a room at the time of an air raid blackout. In this special room, the history of the campaigns for compensation by the sufferers of war is recounted and messages of peace written by Katsumoto Saotome, writer and director of the Center, and others are displayed.
Visitors to the Center enjoy free access to the book collection in the library. Research findings intended to clarify the destruction of war, including that of air raids, is also presented through reports and symposiums. A gathering called “Remembering the Great Tokyo Air Raid” is held on or about March 10 every year.
Address: Kitasuna 1-5-4, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Days closed: Mondays, Tuesdays, and the holiday period from December 28 to January 4
Admission: Adults: 300 yen; Junior high and High school students: 200 yen.
Children under 12 are free.
(Originally published on May 19, 2008)
A survivor of the Great Tokyo Air Raid points to a map as she shares her account of the bombing.
Inside the museum building