16:47 JST, September 26, 2021
With 76 years having passed since the end of World War II, the number of people who are able to offer personal accounts of their experiences during the war is decreasing. Because of this, there is growing interest in “wartime ruins” to serve as silent storytellers.
The Fukuoka Prefectural Board of Education in 2017 began to better grasp the war ruins, the full extent of which had been largely unknown. The board managed to identify 624 wartime ruins and 1,025 monuments of consolation and loyalty by making inquiries to the Kyushu Historical Museum in Ogori, Fukuoka Prefecture, local governments and other organizations, examining historical documents and conducting field surveys over three years.
A report on a survey covering all of the 1,649 war sites in Fukuoka Prefecture was published in 2020, and 700 copies, including additional printings, sold out. The contents were eventually digitized and made available on the prefecture’s website.
Seinan Gakuin University professor Shinji Ito, who served as a member of the wartime ruins research committee for the project, defines these remnants of war as public cultural assets that dot the landscape of daily life and can be used to pass on memories of the conflict.
Because their academic value is not yet established, many of them have been damaged over time amid land development projects and deterioration, and many are now in danger of being completely lost.
Ito made the following recommendations: “It is essential and of the highest priority to place them proactively within the framework of administration of cultural properties. These remnants should be used as cornerstones for maintaining a society that will not repeat war.”
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