At the time of Japan’s defeat in World War II in 1945, an estimated 6.6 million Japanese people remained in various regions outside Japan—northeastern China, the Korean peninsula, the Southern Pacific, and many other regions. To ensure their smooth and swift return to Japan, the Japanese government designated 18 ports, including the ports of Kure and Maizuru, as entry facilities for Japanese military and civilian repatriates. The Port of Maizuru, situated on the Japan Sea Coast, received military and civilian repatriates mainly from northeastern China, the Korean peninsula, and Siberia.
The first repatriation ship “Unzen-maru” entered the Port of Maizuru on October 7, 1945. Since then, Maizuru received approximately 660,000 people in the 13 years until the last repatriation ship “Hakusan-maru” entered the port on September 7, 1958. Many repatriates arriving in Maizuru had been interned in Siberia and other regions in the USSR even after the end of the war.
The Maizuru Repatriation Memorial Museum was opened in April 1988 with support and donations from citizens of Maizuru, former repatriates, and people from around the country. Exhibiting historical materials related to the internment and repatriation, the Museum continues to impart messages of the repatriates, their earnest aspirations for permanent world peace, and the misery of war, which we should never repeat.
The Maizuru Repatriation Memorial Museum has a unique and extensive collection of 12,000 materials related to the internment and the survivors’ repatriation. Priceless materials, such as overcoats used by internees in Siberia, were donated to the Museum, together with various documents, including certificates of repatriation. Of these items, over 1,000 are displayed at the permanent exhibition.
Coffee, tea, snacks, and souvenirs are available at the coffee shop in the Museum.