Kike Wadatsumi no Koe Museum (Japan)

(Jan. 21, 2011)

by Taketomo Takahashi, Director of the Museum

Inspired by the 1949 best-selling book “Kike Wadatsumi no Koe” (“Listen to the Voices from the Sea”), a compilation of letters and notes written by student soldiers of college age who perished in World War II, Nihon Senbotsu Gakusei Kinen-Kai (Japan Memorial Society for the Students Killed in the War) was founded the following year. Initially, the members of the Society simply sought to establish a memorial hall to remember the fallen student soldiers, but as the breakout of the Korean War became imminent, the anti-war sentiments of the Society naturally grew into a stronger goal.

In 1993, half a century after the students were sent to the front, the Society launched a fundraising campaign to construct a memorial museum. From that point it took a long 13 years until the museum was realized. With contributions from 1,400 people, the main building for the museum was completed on December 1, 2006.

With its founding principle “Never repeat the tragedy of the fallen student soldiers,” the main building aims to hand down to future generations the thoughts and emotions of those students who were forced to face death, as well as messages opposing and renouncing war.

The exhibits are displayed in chlonological order so that the students’ writings and belongings that their bereaved families have donated to the museum can be viewed alongside the suffering of the people of other countries during World War II. The section entitled “Korean Student Soldiers Corner” is dedicated to Korean students who were sent to the front shortly after their Japanese counterparts departed, and encountered a miserable fate. Despite its smaller scale, it is of no less significance.

As time passes, memories of the tragedy of war may fade. We earnestly invite everyone to visit the museum, especially young people of the same age as the students who lost their lives without attaining their educational goals as well as younger students in junior high and senior high school.

Finally, running a private museum of this kind brings financial challenges. We would greatly appreciate any assistance from those who appreciate our cause.

Address: First Floor, Akamon Abitacion 29-13, 5-chome, Hongo, Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo
Phone: +81-3-3815 -8571
Homepage: http://www.wadatsuminokoe.org
Open: 1:30 p.m.- 4:00 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
Days Closed: National holidays, Year end and New Year holiday period, Summer vacation
Admission: Free

(Originally published on January 17, 2011)

Click on the photos below to enlarge the images.


Prologue to ‘Listen to the Voices from the Sea’

Fallen studens’ writings and belongings on display

Portraits of the fallen students (Photo by Satoshi Tsubuku)

Articles related to the fallen Korean student soldiers

A group of university students listen to the background of the museum exhibits prior to their tour.