Museum of Peace and Human Rights (Japan)

(April 7, 2010)

by Takashi Hashimoto, Human Rights Planning Division, Human Rights Department, Sakai City

Sakai City Peace and Human Rights Museum was established in 1994 under the banner of the Declaration of the Protection of Human Rights and the Declaration for Peace and the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons with the mission of disseminating and handing down to future generations the horror of war, the preciousness of peace, and the importance of respecting human rights.

The museum is popularly known as Phoenix. This name is linked to the history of Sakai City, which was devastated by the two civil wars of 1399 and 1615 as well as by the massive air raids of 1945 but was reconstructed each time thanks to the determined efforts of the citizens of Sakai.

The museum exhibits focus on the "importance of life" and comprise three thematic zones: Human Rights, The Environment, and Peace. A wide array of imagery and items are used so both children and adults can understand the idea of peace and human rights by watching, listening to, and responding to the exhibits.

The zones for Human Rights and The Environment offer imagery and other displays to convey the importance of respecting our differences and handing down a healthy planet to future generations.

The zone for Peace provides a diorama and strong imagery to enable visitors to gain a simulated experience of the massive air raids over Sakai that claimed more than 1,800 lives in one night. In addition, an exhibit relates people's daily lives during World War II and layers of scorched earth are on display. All attest to the importance of building a peaceful society where the tragedy of war is never repeated.

Address: 1426 Fukaishimizucho, Naka Ward, Sakai City, Osaka (inside Sophia Sakai Planetarium)
Phone: +81-72-270-8150
Homepage: www.city.sakai.lg.jp/city/info/_jinken/
Days closed: Mondays (When a national holiday falls on Monday, the museum is also closed the following day), national holidays (When a national holiday falls on Sunday, the Museum is closed the following Tuesday), December 29-January 3.
Admission: Free

(Originally published on April 5, 2010)

Click on the photos below to enlarge the images.

The Environment zone features exhibits with various imagery.

The Peace zone provides an exhibit which evokes the atmosphere of Sakai City and other aspects of World War II.

In this exhibit, visitors peek through the hole to see the picture on the wall, becoming mindful of the distinction between seeing a part of the picture and seeing the whole.

Inside this device is a diorama and imagery which enables visitors to gain a simulated experience of the tragedy involving massive air raids that hit the city.

Layers of scorched earth show the scars of three wars.