(1) Daigo Fukuryu Maru Exhibition Hall 第五福竜丸展示館 (map)
This museum consists almost entirely of the Daigo Fukuryu Maru (“Lucky Dragon 5”), a Japanese fishing boat that was subject to the fallout of an American nuclear test in 1954. The ship’s crew of 23 suffered acute radiation syndrome (ARS), with one member eventually dying. The ship has been a museum since 1976. It is located in Yumenoshima park in Koto-ku, a 10-minute walk from Shin-kiba station.
Museum and vicinity map:
(2) Tsukiji Market and Yumenoshima fish graveyard
In an excellent Japan Times article (“Lucky Dragon’s lethal catch“) we learn that, upon returning to Japan, some of the fish from the Daigo Fukuryu Maru somehow made it into Tsukiji Market, with at least two tuna believed to have been sold and eaten. It wasn’t only the Lucky Dragon’s catch that was affected. The Japan Times article notes:
“856 Japanese fishing vessels, with upward of 20,000 crew members were exposed to radiation from that test. The price of tuna plunged due to fears over radiation, and some 75 tons caught from March through December 1954 were found to be unfit for consumption and were destroyed.”
Wikipedia has a picture of a plaque commemorating the contaminated fish 「汚染マグロ」that are said to have been buried below Tsukiji Market;
Information from the Daigo Fukuryu Maru museum, including a photo of fish being buried:
A memorial for the ‘dead’ fish (‘Tuna mound’ マグロ塚) is located in Yumenoshima park, just outside the Daigo Fukuryu Maru museum (source).
(3) Taro Okamoto’s “Myth of Tomorrow” 明日の神話
This enormous mural, painted by one of Japan’s most famous painters, is on display in one of Tokyo’s busiest stations (Shibuya Station, near the Inokashira line entrance / map):
The mural depicts the effects of an atomic bomb; the Lucky Dragon 5 is shown near the bottom-right of the canvas. This mural, incidentally, was almost lost to history – it was left in storage outside Mexico City and wasn’t discovered until 2003. Other works by Okamoto centered on the impact of atomic bombs, including “Men Aflame” (1955):
For more on Okamoto, see: “The ‘informel’ whirlwind that swept across Japan” (Japan Times)
Because Godzilla was, in part, inspired by the Daigo Fukuryu Maru events, I’ll round out today’s list by mentioning the various Godzilla statues that can be found in and around Tokyo. For example, this one outside of Toho Studios in Setagaya-ku, near Seijogakuen-Mae Station.
See full list at: Hot on the monster’s tail: meeting Godzilla ゴジラ in Tokyo
- Where did the explosion start in Akira?
- Tokyo’s archaeology of World War II 東京の第二次世界大戦の考古学 (WW2 sites)
- This is a soul shake これを魂振りという: Doctor Atomic Symphony & Symphony No. 6 “Hiroshima”
- American and Japanese Atomic Cinema 1951-1967 (Google Books)
- Article about the reclamation of Yumenoshima (Island of Dreams) in 1986
- Kabuki radiation 歌舞伎の放射線