Another aspect of Rabbit Island: the scars of the war
Ohkuno-shima (大久野島), a small island located in Hiroshima prefecture in Japan, has been attracting more and more people as “Rabbit Island, ” in which about 700 rabbits live.
There you can not only enjoy seeing wild rabbits but also hot springs and sea bathing, thus Ohkuno-shima is one of the most popular spots among non-Japanese people.
However, until about 1984, almost no one knew the existence of the island.
This is because, that the existence had been hidden as the island in which the scars of the war were left.
１. The island that was erased from a map
Now, media and news deal with the island as the unique island with many wild rabbits living harmoniously with human, and more and more people know the island.
However, can you believe that lethal gas, one of the most inhuman weapons in the world, was made in the island from the period from 1929 to the end of the war.
At the time, international laws prohibited to create lethal gas weapon, thus the creation was done in secret, so the island was erased from the map of Japan, which is the reason why local people didn’t know the existence of the island.
The factories of lethal gas weapons were burned as it hid the fact of creating them.
Now, lethal gas was completely eliminated and no machine to make the weapon was left.
Burned concrete is the only trace of the factories.
The scene seems that the trace continues to advocating the importance of peace.
In 1990s, the plan was starting to demolish the left trace of the factories in Ohkuno-island, but a junior high school students who came to visit the island for peace study launched a campaign for collecting signatures for maintaining the negative heritage in the island, because it has a great importance to give students the chance to think deeply about peace.
As a result, the local government decided to leave it, but not preserve actively.
２. The need to pass down the responsibility as an assailant
The people who participated in making lethal gas in Ohkuno-island feel the strong responsibility to pass down the negative history as an assailant.
There are many who feel guilty as a person who did it, and keep telling the truth.
A woman clearly said, she was the one of them who know the pains from the war, and that’s why she thinks that she needs to pass down the responsibility as an assailant.”
This is what Reiko Okada stated.
She published a book which aims to tell the history to younger generations.
Yasuma Fujimoto, the one who participated in creating the gas, told in a TV program that he must continue to tell the truth because few people want to tell it.
I visited a museum in which there are various materials about the creation of lethal gas, and found the fact that the island has less traces of creating lethal gas than before, as the popularity of the island as a tourist destination increases.
The local government of Takehara city seems that it feels the responsibility to preserve the negative heritage of the island, even though the number of the people visiting the island goes up.
It said that it received many people’s voices that the heritage should be preserved forever in the island.
But in this moment, whether it will be passed to the next generation has not been decided.
How was it?
Every year, the number of people who went through the war is decreasing.
When the remains and the documents are the only ones left to tell the history of the island, how they can keep telling the regret and pray for peace?
I think it’s time to think about it.