Himeyuri Peace Museum plans second renewal after first in 2004 with new exhibits to pass down history

Himeyuri Peace Museum plans second renewal after first in 2004 with new exhibits to pass down history

Museum director Asaka Futenma (left) and Katsumi Maedomari contemplate history at the 30th anniversary lobby exhibition at the Himeyuri Peace Museum in Itoman City on January 4

January 5, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Chikako Maemori


On June 23, the Himeyuri Peace Museum in Itoman City will mark 30 years since its opening. On January 4, the Ryukyu Shimpo learned that the museum is planning to renew its exhibitions in 2020.

This year, the museum will begin planning for the renewal in earnest as part of undertakings to mark its 30th anniversary.

This will be the second renewal after a first in 2004, and the museum plans to decide on new exhibits with input from the survivors.

“It is an important opportunity for the survivors and museum staff who were born after the war to work together,” museum director Chokei Futenma, 59, explained with excitement.


Many schools bring students on class trips to the museum.

“Fifteen years have passed since the last renewal,” explained curator Katsumi Maedomari.

“For junior high and high school students, the war feels further away than ever.”

She said that going forward, the museum aims to curate its exhibits in ways that junior high and high school students will be able to understand.


The Himeyuri Peace Museum was founded in 1989 to advocate the importance of peace and commemorate 227 students and teachers from the Okinawa Shihan Women’s School and Okinawa Daiichi Women’s High School who were mobilized to care for wounded soldiers during the Battle of Okinawa.

It became known nationwide as a place where visitors could hear the surviving Himeyuri students in person give testimony as “witnesses” about their experiences.


In 2004, the museum overhauled its exhibitions in order to make them more accessible to the younger generations.

It increased explanatory texts and added testimony video footage for ease of comprehension.

At the end of March of last year, more than 22.19 million people had visited the museum, but the number of visitors has decreased in recent years.


The museum was built by survivors and has been a place where survivors teach the next generations about the horrors of war.

Since its founding, former Himeyuri teachers and students have served as directors of the museum, but last year the museum got its first director born in the post-war era.

“I want to run the museum with an eye toward the future,” says director Futenma.


(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)


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