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Peace Museum's Response and Exhibit on History Textbook Issue and Their Peace Education : Challenges and Roles as Peace Museums in Japan

Mihoko Yamamoto

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This paper aims to present research on the so-called “peace museums” in Japan in order to evaluate the roles of those institutions through their exhibits and responses to historical issues in Northeast Asia, especially focusing on the history textbook issue. Half of “peace museums” in t...
This paper aims to present research on the so-called “peace museums” in Japan in order to evaluate the roles of those institutions through their exhibits and responses to historical issues in Northeast Asia, especially focusing on the history textbook issue. Half of “peace museums” in the world are located in Japan. Yet despite so many “peace museums” in Japan, tension between Korea, China, and Japan often rises, especially surrounding historical issues. A couple of approved history textbooks at schools in Japan have erased some description regarding Japanese aggression during World War II. The dissonance between this phenomenon of “peace museums” and high tension on historical issues raises the question of what kind of history and peace “peace museums” describe, and what roles they play as “peace museums” to contribute toward peace in the neighbouring countries. In order to tackle these questions, this paper attempts to examine responses of “peace museums” to historical issues and how they exhibit the history textbook issues and World War II.     In the five chapters, first, Japan’s history textbook issue is explained, as it is referenced in the following discussion of this paper. Changes to history textbooks beginning in 1982 launched a big argument and drew criticism from other countries. The system for selecting textbooks in Japan will be also explained. Schools’ textbooks must be approved by the Ministry and the involvement of teachers in the selecting process is very limited. Instead, the board of education is in charge. A case from Taketomi in Okinawa region will be shown which demonstrates the problematic involvement and intervention of the Ministry in the selection process.     The next chapter will explain the background of establishing “peace museums” in Japan. The definition of “peace museums” will be also clarified. As for case studies, four selected “peace museums” in Japan will be shown as well as their narratives of peace and World War II at each museum; Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (Hiroshima), Kyoto Museum for World Peace, Ritsumeikan University (Kyoto), Osaka International Peace Center (Osaka), and Grass Roots House Peace Museum (Kochi). “Peace museums” do not only open exhibits to visitors but also they organize various activities. In addition to the outline of the four museums, their educational involvement will be explained to examine their attitude to peace education. After capturing the character of each museum, the challenges for peace education will be discussed. Some museums are facing revision issues on their exhibits. On-going processes at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Osaka International Peace Center will be focused on as examples, and potentially problematic elements in the revision process will be discussed.     The end will conclude with the roles of “peace museums”. Through the textbook issue, responses to historical issues at exhibits, and educational involvement of “peace museums”, certain roles and possibilities of “peace museums” will be presented. It is also expected for readers to evaluate those “peace museums” in Japan and compare them with “war museums” in their own countries.
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Abstract 1

Index 2
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Abstract 1

Index 2

Acknowledgement 3

Introduction 5

Chapter 1. Japan’s History Textbook Issue 9
1-1 Japanese Selecting System of Textbooks at Schools 10
1-2 Taketomi Case in Okinawa 10

Chapter 2. Historical Background and Concepts to Establish “Peace Museums” in Japan 12
2-1 Background of Establishment of “Peace Museums” 12
2-2 “War Museums” or “Peace Museums” 13
2-3 Categories of Peace Museums 15

Chapter 3. Case Study 16
3-1 Outline of Museums and Narratives of Peace and War in EXhibits 16
3-1-1 Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum 16
3-1-2 Kyoto Museum for World Peace, Ritsumeikan University 20
3-1-3 Osaka International Peace Center 26
3-1-4 Grass Roots House Peace Museum 31
3-1-5 Findings of their Perception of Peace and War 34
3-2 Educational Programs and Device 36
3-2-1 Learning Kit for Children/Students 37
3-2-2 Support for School Teachers: Workbooks and Pre-visit to a Museum 40

Chapter 4. Challenges to Peace Museum 40
4-1Peace Museums: Revision Issues 41
4-1-1 Transparency of the Process of Reform the Exhibitions: Peace Osaka 42
4-1-2 Transparency of the Process of Renewing the Exhibitions: Hiroshima Museum 43

Chapter 5. Evaluation of Roles of Peace Museums 44
5-1-1 Evaluation by Responses to History Textbook Issue 44
5-1-2 Evaluation by Visitors’ Responses to Peace Museums 45
5-1-3 Evaluation by Educational Involvement 46

Conclusion 47

Appendix 50

References 51