Need Your Support for Building the Museum

Utoro, Uji-City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.
This is where the Utoro Peace Memorial Museum is being built. The museum is being built for the purpose of commemorating the history of Japan and the Korean Peninsula as well as the history of the ethnic Zainichi Koreans who have long been living in Japan. With the museum, we also want to record the history of collaboration between the citizens of South Korea and Japan who have overcome the hardships and nurtured friendship through the Utoro issue.

When the Korean Peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945), a large number of Koreans were mobilized as construction workers to build a military airfield in Utoro. However, the construction plan was suspended when Japan was defeated in the Pacific War. Abandoned and having nowhere else to go, these Korean workers and their families continued to live in Utoro with severe poverty and discrimination. When the land of Utoro was sold to a developer, the residents had to live with a fear of eviction and losing their livelihood.

Utoro residents organized themselves to speak up for their lives and rights.
Their voices were heard and supported by the conscientious Japanese citizens who felt responsible for their nation’s colonial violence against Korea and the continuing discrimination against the Koreans in Japan to this day. Moreover, the international society also became keenly aware of the Utoro issue after the United Nations released a report condemning the discrimination against the Utoro residents.

Furthermore, the South Korean Government decided to give financial support to Utoro because their citizens continued to raise awareness to help protect Utoro residents’ livelihood and history as their fellow country persons. As a result, the Utoro land issue was resolved and residents became able to have a stable and peaceful community. At last, the government of Japan, Kyoto Prefecture, and Uji City, started to implement the housing project to build a large apartment complex, roads, and water and sewage systems in Utoro. The poor living conditions in Utoro is now a thing of the past.

Utoro used to be a town borne out of a war where “marginalized” ethnic Koreans made their living. At the same time, it was a town where courageous people spoke against discrimination and gained a tremendous support from the Japanese, the South Korean citizens, and ethnic Zainichi Koreans for its unique history and residency rights. This historical event signifies that peace and respect are shared between the peoples of the Korean Peninsula and Japan and that we are able to create a “small unification” in our community as a foundation for a more just society and a bright future. This is precisely why we are building “the Utoro Peace Memorial Museum.”

Utoro Peace Memorial Museum will not only pass down the history of the Utoro, but also will play an important role in providing a community space for people in Japan and the Korean Peninsula and beyond, to meet, mingle and deepen mutual understandings, for the future generations. We truly hope the museum will show the visitors of the importance of human rights, peace, and coexistence in a genuinely meaningful way.

Thank you for having your interest in our museum.
We truly appreciate your support for our Utoro Peace Memorial Museum.