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Exhibition of digitized wartime photos organized by Japan researchers to be held in NY & More Breaking News

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University of Tokyo graduate school professor Hidenori Watanave is seen in this file photo taken in Tokyo on April 27, 2022. (Mainichi/Miyuki Nakajima)


TOKYO — An exhibition featuring a digital archive of images showing wartime damage will be held on Aug. 6 and 7 at the University of Tokyo’s New York Office, aiming to bring together peace activities conducted in Japan and the U.S.


The exhibition “Convergence of Peace Activities,” organized by a research group led by Hidenori Watanave, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s graduate school, will feature a large archive of images produced with advanced technology. This includes the “Hiroshima Archive,” “Nagasaki Archive” and “Satellite Images Map of Ukraine,” which the professor is working on.

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Watanave is also involved in joint research with The Mainichi Newspapers Co. and Kyoto University on “Wartime Photograph Archive” — a project compiling pictures taken by Mainichi Shimbun correspondents. A related exhibit and a VR section will give people views of scenes captured immediately after the atomic bombings.


There will also be lectures by A-bomb survivors, or hibakusha, and a social event from 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 6 (EDT), the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. Nagasaki A-bomb survivors Sueichi Kido and Masako Wada, and Hiroshima in-utero A-bomb survivor Jirou Hamazumi will share their stories.


“The world is facing a growing risk of accidental nuclear war due to Russia’s military aggression. On the other hand, the rapid progress of online activities resulting from the coronavirus pandemic is ‘fusing’ the activities and technologies of various people from the bottom up, and is having new impact,” Watanave said.


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University of Tokyo graduate school professor Hidenori Watanave, right, and Kyoto University professor Toshihiko Kishi explain the “Wartime Photograph Archive” project in Tokyo, on May 18, 2022. (Mainichi/Kenji Ikai)


Diverse peace activities are expected in Japan and the U.S. in August, as a review conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is held in New York, while Hiroshima and Nagasaki will mark the 77th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs on the cities.


Watanave commented, “We hope that through this exhibition, people will feel the message of the hibakusha to future generations and the vitality of the activities of young people.”


The exhibit will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is free. Registration is required for both in-person and online participation. For more information, visit the Hidenori Watanave Laboratory website at https://labo.wtnv.jp


— Joint research on Wartime Photograph Archive


The “Wartime Photograph Archive” project features pictures taken overseas by Mainichi Shimbun correspondents during the war, combined into a digital archive that makes it easy to visually grasp conditions at the time while following correspondents’ footsteps. When finished, the collection will include over 60,000 photos taken in mainland China and Southeast Asia, ranging from the Second Sino-Japanese War to World War II. It is expected that the project will be completed in 2025, the 80th anniversary of the end of WWII.


Watanave and Toshihiko Kishi, a professor at Kyoto University’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies, joined others in research on the project this year. After creating digital copies of the photos and analyzing them, metadata will be added to create a digital archive. After this, visual storytelling content using a digital globe will be developed.


The project aims to generate opportunities for people to think about war and peace across regions and generations, in tandem with newspaper articles and workshops using large screens.


In the forthcoming exhibition in New York, a prototype version of the storytelling content that follows the footsteps of correspondent Hisatake Abo will also be on display.


(Japanese original by Miyuki Nakajima, Intellectual Property Business Headquarters)

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