Quake memorial museum opens in Iwaki to help foster mindset of remembrance

31 May 2020

A municipal museum opened in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Iwaki on May 30 to hand down memories and lessons from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and ensuing nuclear accident. Dubbed the "Iwaki 3.11 Memorial and Revitalisation Museum," the facility is located in the Usuiso 3-chome district of the city. It has come into being as a base to nurture regional disaster management consciousness through the display of quake-related materials, speakers' stories and other efforts.

The municipal government set up the museum in a tsunami-hit area where a town demarcation project had been undertaken after the disaster. It displays a blackboard, a power distribution board, a time clock and other items actually used at the old Toyoma Junior High School buildings which were later demolished. The tsunami hit the school hours after a graduation ceremony was held on March 11, 2011. There are messages left on the blackboard written by then graduates, such as "Shuku Sotsugyo" (Congrats on Graduation) and "Arigato" (Thank You).

The museum exhibits panels showing the developments of reconstruction arranged in chronological order, with a large screen replaying video footage of the tsunami. It also has touch screens to allow visitors to learn about disaster management. On Saturdays and Sundays, a speaker is scheduled to appear twice a day.

An inauguration ceremony was held on the opening day, with Iwaki Mayor Toshio Shimizu and other officials cutting a ribbon. "We'd like the museum to become a facility where generations who don't know the disaster learn lessons," said Usuiso district head Yukinaga Suzuki, 67. In Iwaki, about 470 residents either were killed by the tsunami or died due to factors related to the quake and nuclear accident.

The museum is a two-story, steel-framed building with a total floor space of some 550 square meters. The project cost about 380 million yen. The facility is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Mondays. Admission is free. During the coronavirus pandemic, the maximum number of people who can enter at one time is limited to 25.

For inquiries, call the museum at 0246-38-4894.


[Photos]
Within the museum, a large screen displays video footage of the tsunami. On exhibit below the screen is a blackboard from the dismantled Toyoma Junior High School buildings.


(Translated by Kyodo News)