Record of the Bombing

Film installation

The bombing of Tokyo by the US military on March 10, 1945 killed around 100,000 people and rendered the entire downtown area of the city a scorched earth. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government enacted an ordinance in 1990 to designate this day as “Tokyo Peace Day.” The “Tokyo Peace Memorial Museum Basic Concept Advisory Committee” was established in 1992, and in 1994, the “Tokyo Peace Memorial Museum Basic Plan” was announced. Over 5,000 artifacts and documentary materials were collected in preparation for the museum’s opening, and video materials were also created by filming interviews with 330 survivors of the air raid. However, in addition to the collapse of the bubble economy, the museum became a political issue. Conservative members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly opposed the policy of the exhibition, which was to begin with records of bombings by the former Japanese Army during the Sino-Japanese War, claiming it was based on a “masochistic view of history.” The museum’s budget was frozen in 1999. Requests to exhibit the collection materials, still kept in a museum in Tokyo, have not received approval. This work instead displays captions created from the list of collected items and transcriptions of the interviews, following the exhibition plan of the suspended memorial hall. It recreates a “Memorial Hall of the Imagination” which at first glance contains nothing, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo – located in the area the air raid took place.