6/2 Daigofukuryūmaru Museum: Calling for Peace?

After the end of WWII and during the cold war, the US, Japan, and other countries were having a large number of A-bomb and H-bomb testings and seeking for a peaceful use of nuclear power. Daigofukuryumaru (第五福竜丸) was near an H-bomb testing near Bikini Island, and its staff member Kuboyama was the first Japanese victim of an H-bomb. The reading we did for this Lucky Dragon No.5 had a lot of discussion about different stakeholders, including politicians, doctors studying radiation diseases, fishermen/citizens, and the media. A complicated incident with many political implications, the Lucky Dragon was oversimplified as a symbol of calling for no use of nuclear and world peace at the Daigofukuryūmaru Museum.

The museum takes the perspective of citizens and selected many exhibits that called for compassion, the heartbreaking picture of Kuboyama’s funeral, for example. The picture captured Kuboyama’s children and family crying, especially the younger daughter. Children are a big part of the appeal: Kuboyama’s older daughter’s letter, encouraging letters sent to Kuboyama from all over the country, and moreover, the origami decorations sent by school children along with their wishes for peace/no nuclear bombing attached to the origami. The message is clear: think about our children. Because of the concern for family health and children of radiation contamination, women and housewives became leaders of the grassroots anti-nuclear movements after the incident of Lucky Dragon, while the government was trying to close the deal as soon as possible to get nuclear technology support from the US. The reading we did was very helpful for understanding the complexity of the incident and looking at the museum critically.