National Hansen's Disease Museum, Higashimurayama

#4 of 18 in Things to do in Higashimurayama
Specialty Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
The National Hansen's Disease Museum (国立ハンセン病資料館, Kokuritsu Hansen-byō Shiryōkan) is a museum in Higashimurayama, Tokyo, Japan that is dedicated to education about Hansen's disease (leprosy) and to eliminate discriminatory practices against its sufferers. It was formerly (1993–2007) named "His Imperial Highness Prince Takamatsu Memorial Museum of Hansen's Disease".

The museum's purpose, located next to one of Japan's remaining leprosy sanatoriums, is to:

To promote awareness of leprosy

To represent and preserve the history of leprosy in Japan

To show what persons affected by leprosy have achieved

To help restore the dignity of persons affected by leprosy

To demonstrate the importance of human rights and the linked need to end prejudice and discrimination
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  • Well into the 20th century, leprosy was a major public health issue in Japan and the government responded by creating a number of public and then later national sanitariums and encouraging and...  more »
  • I really understand the history of leprosy. There are quite a lot of exhibits on display here, so it's hard to get around, but even if you just go half way around, you'll see how painful the discrimination of leprosy is. It is informed that the disease called leprosy has brought a lot of discrimination in the human society after coming here. Humans feel quite resistant to things they don't know, but that was the cause of leprosy discrimination. Without examining the actual condition of leprosy itself, it is thought that the appearance of the leprosy patient is ugly, and it has tried to make it from the society. I thought this was a really sad thing. Now, with advances in medical care, leprosy patients have become extremely rare. There have been such tragic events in the past caused by illness. The more I think about it, the more I can feel the misery of discrimination.
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  • It is a national museum in the whole garden. Admission is free of charge. On the first floor, the history of the museum is posted along with the original newspaper articles and documents. The second floor is divided into three zones, and (1) historical exhibition 2 sanatorium exhibition 3 Contemporary exhibitions are exhibited in a wide range of ages. There was a VTR and exhibition that reproduced the state of the sanatorium, and I was able to feel the life in the sanatorium with reality. In addition, not only the symptoms and the treatment method of the disease were told about the disease, but the difference in how to catch the disease in the past and now was posted clearly, and it was able to deepen the recognition of the history at that time more. I went hiking from the station casually, but I was able to spend a lot of time thinking about human rights unexpectedly. In the museum, there are also easy-to-understand materials written with yomigana so that children can understand it easily. It is recommended for a wide range of ages.
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