Life in Japan during and after World War II - the period from 1935 to 1955 to be exact - is the focus at this small historical museum. Completely renovated in January 2013, the museum offers a unique glimpse into everyday life during this turbulent period, with themed exhibits incorporating old photographs, household objects and clothing from the era. The substantial collection of posters, advertisements, books and magazines also serves as a showcase of mid-century Japanese graphic arts and design.
The first section of the museum - one entire floor - is devoted to life during wartime, with sections covering conscription, life under government control, food rationing, changes in the education system, and preparations for urban air raids.
A second floor covers the post-war period, with a theme of economic hardship followed by gradual recovery facilitated by the revival of industry. Antique rice cookers, washing machines, radios and black-and-white TV sets hint at Japan's future as a manufacturing power later in the century.
There's also a large audio-visual library where you can access thousands of photographs and newspapers via computer terminals. In total, the museum displays some 700 selections from the museum's collection of over 18,000 items. While there isn't much in the way of English-language labeling, the free audio tour is well put together and adds quite a bit to the experience.
The museum's official name is the National Showa Memorial Museum, and it is managed by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
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