On March 14, Hiroshima City announced tentative plans to remove molded plastic mannequins depicting the horrors of the atomic bombing from its Peace Memorial Museum by 2016. The proposed removal is in line with a review suggesting displays within the facility be switched to include more that depict actual articles belonging to the deceased and other real items from the period. Opinions from visitors to the museum are split on whether or not the mannequins should be removed.

The three mannequins in question are of an adult woman, a college-aged woman, and a small boy shown wondering through the blast aftermath in a severely burned state. Originally made from wax, the mannequins have been on display at the museum since 1973, and in their current form since 1991.

The topic of their removal came up at the city council’s budget meeting on the 14th. One of the council members stated, “A questionnaire conducted by a travel agency reveals that some people have found the display frightening.”

But, isn’t that the point?

Yoshifumi Ishida, who is in charge of ensuring education about the horrific event continues, said, “We are considering a policy stipulating the mannequins would not be displayed after renovations are completed.” The museum is scheduled to undergo improvements in fiscal years 2016 and 2017.

Behind the planned removal lies a basic policy formulated in 2010 by a commission of experts who reviewed and debated the merits of the museum’s displays. These guidelines suggest more emphasis should be placed on displaying real items such as roof tiles and items belong to the deceased. Concrete exhibit plans are to be finalized this month.

It’s not rare for Hiroshima children who have visited the museum as part to their peace studies to continue talking about how frightening the mannequins were for many years. However, opinions from museum visitors are split on the subject of their removal. Lamenting their potential removal, Miyoko Nakazato, 77, who was visiting the museum from Tokorozawa City, Saitama, on March 14, said, “The mannequins are necessary for conveying the horrible realities of the bombing.” Meanwhile, Shotaro Higashi, a college student from Tsuru City in Yamanashi, opined, “Actual pictures and relics from the bombing leave a stronger impression. Displays with imitations aren’t needed.”

Source: Chugoku Shimbun