Both exhibit contents and design will be engaging, representational, and educational.
The exhibition is comprised of three major components: Introduction and Overview, the scourges of war, and post-war reflections. All research-based contents will be curated using the principles of authenticity and humanity values while achieving its educational goals.
Through digital media, photos, documents, and artefacts, visitors will not only gain an overview of WWII in Asia but also a better understanding of humanity through different human stories and reflections. In both design and curation, the Asia-Pacific Peace Museum will explore creative ways of displaying the scourges of war in an attempt to inspire and engage visitors to reflect and take actions in pursuit of peace and reconciliation.
Introduction & Overview (1/F)
Overview of World War II in Asia
This gallery highlights the key elements of the War, aiming to provide the visitors some basic knowledge of the Asia-Pacific War such as the time, scale and major lessons to learn. The overview of the war will be presented through an artistic display of images, quotes and statistics juxtaposed to demonstrate its impact on the people across Asia-Pacific during and after the war years.
This gallery aims at providing an understanding of how Japan was aspired to become an imperial power, a militarist state and colonizer in Asia, which finally led to its war of aggression throughout Asia. Pre-war political and economic conditions of China and Korea will be juxtaposed with those of Japan in providing a comprehensive understanding of how Japan’s aggression progressed.
Japanese Militarism and Aggression
This gallery summarizes the aggression of the Japanese Military starting from its occupation of NE China from 1931 to 1945, the end of the war. Major war events will be depicted on animated historical maps in chronological order juxtaposed with historical documentaries in depicting the fear and horror of war on civilians – children, youth, women and men alike.
Scourges of War – Violence Against Humanity (1/F)
This section identifies the brutal and violent acts against humanity during the years of Japanese aggression in Asia Pacific region.
This gallery depicts the brutality and humiliation against humanity during the massacres inflicted by the Japanese military. Three major massacres - the Nanjing Massacre, Sook Ching Massacre, and Manila Massacre are highlighted in this gallery. While providing the scale of death and casualty, primary sources and testimonies will be used to exemplify the intensity and extensiveness of violence inflicted upon civilians. Stories depicting the suffering, human tenacity to survive and courage to help others will be highlighted to flicker a ray of hope in darkness.
1. World War II: China's Forgotten War, 2015 | Director: Vicki Lin | View the video
2. John Rabe: The Good Nazi of Nanking, 2014 | Director: Annette Baumeister | View the video
3. National Archives of Singapore Oral History Story: Chan Cheng Yean | Source: National Archives of Singapore | View the video
4. Witness statement concerning ‘sook ching’ massacre | Source: National Archives of Singapore | View the video
5. The Battle of Manila: 75 years after one of WWII's deadliest battles | Source: Deutsche Welle | View the video
Japanese Military Sexual Slavery
This gallery aims to bring out the issues of systemic sexual violence against young women during the war years and throughout the region of invasion. In portraying the personal stories of the victims and the oppressive conditions and environment of they had to endure, visitors will be engaged emotionally in their pain and sufferings. The gallery also explores how the post-war cover-up and denial led to life-long traumas to the women, and their courage to break the silence.
Biochemical Warfare and Human Experimentation
This gallery explores the development and use of biological and chemical weapons and human experimentation by the Japanese military during the war. Questions about medical ethics, dehumanization, racism and the post-war cover-up will be explored.
1. The Devil’s Gluttony – the Truth of Unit 731 Unveiled, 2014 | Source: China Intercontinental Press五洲传媒 | View the video
2. Newspaper article: Unmasking Horror -- A special report.; Japan Confronting Gruesome War Atrocity | Source: The New York Times, March 17, 1995, Section A, Page 1 | Read the article
Prisoners of War
This gallery portrays and explores the mass killing and ill-treatment of the prisoners of war while in captivity by the Japanese military, contextualized against international rule of law. Questions on the immediate and long-term impact on the POWs and post-war silence will be raised.
This gallery examines the mobilization of both vulnerable civilians and prisoners of war into slave labourers, documenting the dire conditions and abuse they experienced. The role and responsibilities of Japanese corporations particularly the manufacturers of military supplies, and their correlation with the government will be examined.
Canada at War
This gallery highlights the connection between Canada and World War II in Asia and the issues of legislated racism through different stories of Canadians involved:
The response of Canadian media and government to WWII in Asia
Young Canadians who fought in Hong Kong and suffered in captivity
Chinese Canadians who volunteered to go to war for Canada when the need arose
Japanese Canadians who were interned in their homeland
Japan Turned Defensive
This section focuses on the period when Japan’s aggression turned defensive - the firebombing of Tokyo and other Japanese cities, the Battle of Okinawa, Kamikaze fighters, the Atomic Bombs and the Surrender. Personal stories of the victims and the scale of casualty and death will exemplify the message “In war, there is no winner”.
Post War (2/F)
This section explores the post-war responses in Asia and the West from the end of the war to current days. The impact of justice served, historical denial and memory are all related to the pursuit of peace and reconciliation between the perpetrating and victimized states. Global political, social and economic development after the war help contextualise the post-war response.
This gallery explores the war trials, treaties and lawsuits after the war till today that were attempted to put a closure to the atrocious history and the war crimes of the Japanese Imperial Army. Questions like “was there a real closure?” and “has justice been served for the victims?” will be examined.
This gallery explores the phenomenon of “apology” and the contradictory acts of denial by the Japanese government and ultra-nationalists, the cover-up of war crimes with the support of the American and Allied governments, and why.
This gallery explores how the Asia-Pacific war has been forgotten and remembered in political, academic, education and social justice aspects in different parts of the world. Individuals and groups that are pivotal in the remembrance, peace and reconciliation movements will be honored as they are voices for those who were silenced, dismissed, and denied.
Visitors will be invited to have a quiet time to contemplate and reflect on what they see and learn from the permanent exhibits.