Pearl Harbor, Japan museums collaborate on anniversary of V-J Day

  • Contributed

    The Battleship Missouri Memorial and the Chiran Peace Museum have partnered together as sister museums across the Pacific via a virtual signing ceremony. Seen here is a portion of the “Divine Wind: Kamikaze and the Battle for the Pacific” exhibit about the Mighty Mo in Pearl Harbor on O‘ahu.

HONOLULU — The Battleship Missouri Memorial and the Chiran Peace Museum have partnered together as sister museums across the Pacific in a virtual signing ceremony.

Representative of the relationship between the United States and Japan, this union commemorates the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and the April 1945 Tokko “Kamikaze” attack on the USS Missouri.

“The Battleship Missouri Memorial is incredibly honored and fortunate to be joining this partnership with the Chiran Peace Museum just in time for the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II,” said Mike Carr, president and CEO of the USS Missouri Memorial Association.

“As we head into the next 75 years, may the Mighty Mo continue to remain a symbol of peace and hope, and a representation of the strong ties and partnership between Hawai‘i and Japan.”

Further focusing on peace through cultural understanding and historical perspective, this relationship also builds on the existing Kamikaze exhibit on board the Mighty Mo. First opened in April 2015 in honor of the 70th anniversary of the attack and military burial at sea that followed for the Japanese pilot, the newly remodeled Kamikaze exhibit features artifacts from the Chiran Peace Museum.

“In this special year, two museums that represent those who gave their lives during this terrible conflict are coming together in the spirit of reconciliation and a shared spirit of friendship,” said Deputy Consul General Shinichi Yamanaka on behalf of the Consulate General of Japan in Honolulu.

“It represents all of your efforts to reconcile between two countries, and I sincerely appreciate such an incredible effort.”

Now on display is the recently remodeled Kamikaze exhibit, located on the ship’s second deck, opening alongside the 75th anniversary of the attack earlier this year. The exhibit sheds a renewed focus on the honorable actions of Captain Callaghan and crew of the USS Missouri, who ordered a military burial at sea for the young pilot amidst the attack.

“Divine Wind: Kamikaze and the Battle for the Pacific,” the exhibit’s formal name, has been redesigned with a new emphasis on visitor flow and increased artifacts on display.

Among the new artifacts are farewell letters and poems from pilots to family members and loved ones, personal photographs and information, historical images and uniform items. Artifacts on display are from both the historic collection of the USS Missouri Memorial Association and Chiran Peace Museum, located in Minamikyushu, Kagoshima, Japan.

Since opening in January 1999, the Battleship Missouri Memorial has attracted more than nine 9 million visitors from around the world.

Located a ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial, the Mighty Mo completes a historical visitor experience that begins with the “day of infamy” and sinking of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and ends with Japan’s formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 2, 1945.

The USS Missouri had a career over five decades and three wars — World War II, the Korean War and Desert Storm — after which it was decommissioned and donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

The association operates the Battleship Missouri Memorial as a historic attraction and oversees her care and preservation with the support of visitors, memberships, grants and donations.

The Battleship Missouri Memorial is taking additional steps to assure guests have a safe and healthy experience touring the Mighty Mo. All visitors to the Pearl Harbor attraction should abide by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety guidelines while on site.

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