Uzbekistan Opens New  Museum Commemorating WW2 Japanese POWs

On 30 April, Uzbekistan Minister of Ecology, Environmental Protection and Climate Change Aziz Abdukhakimov  joined by Ambassador of Japan to Uzbekistan Hatori Takashi, founder and director of the museum, Jalil Sultanov, and representatives of the Japan Society in Uzbekistan to celebrate the opening of a new museum in Tashkent commemorating Japanese prisoners of war.

Over 20,000 Japanese POWs captured by the Soviet Union during the second world war, were interned in Uzbekistan between 1945-1950. During this period, the prisoners were dispersed across the country to construct buildings, dams, and roads in regions including Angren, Bekabad, and Kokand, and in Tashkent, built the Alisher Navoi Opera Theatre, the Mukini Theatre, the Central Telegraph and Ministry of Culture, as well as barracks still in use today.

According to estimates, 817 died in the process.

The new premises, under construction since 2023, replace the original museum founded in May 1998.

Housing photographs, documents, and artefacts, such as prisoners’ workwear and a wooden crib made for the local market, the collections testify to the lives of Japanese POWs in Uzbekistan, and given a new lease of life, are expected to become a major draw for Japanese tourists visiting the country.

Times of Central Asia

Times of Central Asia

Laura Hamilton MA, is the former Director of the Collins Gallery at the University of Strathclyde. She first visited Kyrgyzstan in 2011 to research and curate a major exhibition of contemporary textiles and fashion. Since 2012, she has worked as an editor on over thirty translations of Central Asian novels and collections of short stories. In more recent years, her work has focused on editing translations of Kyrgyzstan's great epics -'Ak Moor', Saiykal', Janysh Baiysh', 'Oljobai and Kishimjan', 'Dariyka', 'Semetey' and 'Er Toshtuk' for The Institute of Kyrgyz Language and Literature, and the Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University.

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