Jump to content
Thai Visa Forum

Remembrance Of War: Thai-Japan Friendship Memorial Hall


Recommended Posts

Remembrance of war: Thai-Japan Friendship Memorial Hall

By English News

20121227112415-640x390x2.jpg

MAE HONG SON: -- During the Second World War, the district of Kun Yuam in Thailand's northern Mae Hong Son province was a gateway which Japanese troops relied upon as a means to enter Burma (now called Myanmar). Not as well known as the infamous Thai-Burma Railway, but probably more important in Japan’s war effort against England, Mae Hong Son was very important for the transfer of troops and war materials.

Today, traces of World War II are still evident, as local authorities here have turned the area into a historical park with memorabilia and monuments in remembrance of the war, and the need for peace.

1truck-500x334.jpg

The rusted-out frames of Japanese trucks and military equipment used during the War found five years ago in Mae Hong Son are now exhibited at the Thai-Japan Friendship Memorial Hall, which helps remind local residents and tourists of the hardships experienced during wartime.

4memorial3-500x334.jpg

Japanese and other uniforms, alongside weapons used during those times are carefully kept, and are showcased at the memorial site.

2mayor-500x334.jpg

“We hope that this Thai-Japan Friendship Memorial Hall will serve as another tourist destination, that it will be educational for the youth, as well as for interested tourists and family members whose ancestors may have experienced the war,” said Winai Jeenabutr, Kun Yuam mayor.

6memorial3-500x334.jpg

A modest ceremony was held in November officially opening the park, but Mae Hong Son-- a small province in northern Thailand-- hopes to be a big bigger on the tourist horizon, and help Thai and international visitors to better understand what happened here, more than half a century ago.

9-500x334.jpg

Mae Hong Son is not as known or as much travelled to in comparison to other tourist attractions in the North. Yet, hopefully, the opening of this historical friendship memorial site will make the misty mountains a more attractive and compelling destination than before-- the province will be able to host tourists from many places all year round. (MCOT online news)

tnalogo.jpg

-- TNA 2012-12-27

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been to the Museum at Khun Yuam... a dusty room full of decaying relics of the Japanese Occupation. Several of the local Thai women married Japanese soldiers.... and missed them sorely when they left. It's a strange sidelight on the Japanese occupation, and perhaps, for Thais, a better one to remember than the Burma-Siam railway at Kanchanaburi. As far as I remember from the Museum, no foreign prisoners were kept at Khun Yuam.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As a British person living in Thailand constantly being told that Thailand has never been occupied or colonised I think this is in extremely bad taste. Thailand wasnt "officially" occupied because it rolled over and in effect invited the Japanese in.

A tourist destination? Not for many people from Britain, The Commonwealth Countries or the USA I think!!

Makes my (placid) blood boil. Yet another example of Thailand not waking up and not smelling the coffee, as it were.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

"Mae Hong Son is not as known or as much travelled to in comparison to other tourist attractions in the North. Yet, hopefully, the opening of this historical friendship memorial site will make the misty mountains a more attractive and compelling destination than before-- the province will be able to host tourists from many places all year round."

This is what it's all about.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

"Mae Hong Son is not as known or as much travelled to in comparison to other tourist attractions in the North. Yet, hopefully, the opening of this historical friendship memorial site will make the misty mountains a more attractive and compelling destination than before-- the province will be able to host tourists from many places all year round."

This is what it's all about.

Yes. A nice quiet contemplative spot where the Japanese can go to reminisce about the days when their fathers tortured and humiliated mostly British, Anzac, and American soldiers. I dont normally get hot under the collar about this subject, but once again the Thais completely and totally misread most other Nations feelings on matters relating to the war.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thinking about this one more and more. I wonder if organisations like the Royal British Legion which has branches in Thailand, and their Anzac and USA counterparts know about this news, and wonder if they might want to consider some form of protest? I would not know who to contact?

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Thai Japanese Friendship Memorial Hall? Are these people completely insane? Perhaps they could flog it to the Chinese, they apparently still have fond memories of the Rape of Nanjing. Except for Thailamd most of this part of the world was at war with Japan, there again knowing Thailand who knows what they learn in their PC history.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Par for the course now. More tourism for Japanese, look at the Karaoke joints, ASEAN membership importance increasing, better currency exchange etc.

Lets all not forget that Thai resistance to Japanese incursion from Malaysia in WWII lasted only a few hours, and that the government of Thailand actually declared war on Great Britain and the United States on 25 January 1942. This was no proxy government but the government of Phibun (who thought immediate capitulation was better than being over run). The attitude of the government turned in the end, Thai pragmatism at its best. The US did not declare war on Thailand, but the UK, France, Russia did (and received reparations).

Lets also remember more recently the fracas at Sacred Heart where the students dressed as Nazis two or three years ago, that went down well internationally. What the **** were they teaching there as far as catholicism, history or just plain common sense. I guess the Thai love of uniforms simply overturned any form of decency or consideration.

I wonder if they ever looked at the statute immediately in front of the cathedral of the Blessed Nicholas Bunkerd Kitbamrung who was arrested in 1941 as an alleged spy of the French (by the Thai government), sentenced to 15 years, and died in prison of TB in January 1944. Mind you that statue has the most circumspect inscription. Even here they could not tell the whole truth, perhaps if they did the Nazi thing would not have happened.

Lets not even go to Katchanaburi where there are thousands of graves of young Dutch, British and Australian and other servicemen and an unknown number in unmarked graves.

Once again LOS is a land of illusion....Thais never make mistakes......and never admit to them.....

Angry...blood oathmad.gif

Edited by mamborobert
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

As a British person living in Thailand constantly being told that Thailand has never been occupied or colonised I think this is in extremely bad taste. Thailand wasnt "officially" occupied because it rolled over and in effect invited the Japanese in.

Colonized is the accurate one, in the sense that all other SE Asian countries were colonized. I don't think you hear any credible sources claim that it was never occupied. So you can skip being all worked up over nothing. The larger point being that all other SE Asian nations received a fair dose of European influence in several areas, whereas Thailand did not, other than through its own actions. It isn't a chest-thumping exercise, just a potentially relevant historical point.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Par for the course now. More tourism for Japanese, look at the Karaoke joints, ASEAN membership importance increasing, better currency exchange etc.

Lets all not forget that Thai resistance to Japanese incursion from Malaysia in WWII lasted only a few hours, and that the government of Thailand actually declared war on Great Britain and the United States on 25 January 1942. This was no proxy government but the government of Phibun (who thought immediate capitulation was better than being over run). The attitude of the government turned in the end, Thai pragmatism at its best. The US did not declare war on Thailand, but the UK, France, Russia did (and received reparations).

Lets also remember more recently the fracas at Sacred Heart where the students dressed as Nazis two or three years ago, that went down well internationally. What the **** were they teaching there as far as catholicism, history or just plain common sense. I guess the Thai love of uniforms simply overturned any form of decency or consideration.

I wonder if they ever looked at the statute immediately in front of the cathedral of the Blessed Nicholas Bunkerd Kitbamrung who was arrested in 1941 as an alleged spy of the French (by the Thai government), sentenced to 15 years, and died in prison of TB in January 1944. Mind you that statue has the most circumspect inscription. Even here they could not tell the whole truth, perhaps if they did the Nazi thing would not have happened.

Lets not even go to Katchanaburi where there are thousands of graves of young Dutch, British and Australian and other servicemen and an unknown number in unmarked graves.

Once again LOS is a land of illusion....Thais never make mistakes......and never admit to them.....

Angry...blood oathmad.gif

The U,S, might not have declared war on Thailand but we did get to bomb Bangkok.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Bangkok_in_World_War_II

Link to post
Share on other sites

I see no problem with a museum of war history. I just find the BRANDING really odd. It makes me wonder what Thais are taught in school about the nature of the Thai fascist regime in power during that era.

Edited by Jingthing
Link to post
Share on other sites

Something like 40,000 Japanese conscripts died in Northern Thailand and the the border areas.

They have as much right to be respectfully remembered as any one else.

The OP title is probably intended to be in the "future" rather than "past" tense and is hardly worth getting upset about.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been to the Kun Yuam war museum.

I agree the name is inappropriate.

I was surprised that the general overview of how Imperial Japan came to be in Thailand

varied so much form the version westerners are taught at school, perhaps our version is

distorted by victory, but their version sounds like a fairy tale.

I dont remember any of the displays or information glorifying the war, it is mainly just bringing

to peoples attention what happened in that place at that time.

It does a good job of putting a human face on the ordinary soldiers, who are usually demonised

by the opposing side, but in actual fact suffered badly themselves.

My biggest criticism is the general lack of information both in Thai & English.

A large part of the material is just what was left behind during the retreat.

Local people have give these items to the museum but know little about their history.

Many of the displays are just an item in a case.

If you are in the area I recommend visiting, but dont drive all the way from BKK just to see it.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This has come up before and we discussed building of the road CM-Pai-Mae Hong by the Thais to help their Imperial Japanese Army ally attack the British in the Shan State of Burma (which is what happened).

Definitive piece on the museum here:

http://www.kyoto-sei.../no18/David.pdf

Thanks to Andrew Forbes, who years ago uncovered many details of this story.

Edited by chaoyang
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it would be good if the museum had more information in English.

The artefacts on display were collected by the ordinary people of Khun Yuam, who lived in relative harmony with the Japanese troops. To make a direct connection with the atrocities committed by Japanese troops elsewhere is unjust to the ordinary country people there, who were not "at war" with the Japanese, and were not ill-treated by them. Many Khun Yuam women married Japanese soldiers and, as I said above,missed them sorely when they left.

I don't think the title "Friendship Museum" is inappropriate. There was friendship there between villagers and occupying troops, a welcome episode of harmony in a war in which so many horrific crimes were committed. Yes, I lived through the Second World War; I was fed as a child with horror stories of the barbaric crimes of our enemies. Nobody, of course, told me that the Japanese regarded anyone who surrendered as the lowest of the low, and treated them as such. From the Allies' point of view, what the Japanese did was atrocious; from the point of view of their culture (not individual Japanese except insofar as they absorbed their national culture), it was perfectly reasonable behaviour. Expecting Japanese soldiers to behave like English gentlemen is, and was then, unrealistic.

And, before anyone's blood pressure reaches danger levels, I am NOT condoning their behaviour. They behaved according to Japanese culture, while we behaved according to our culture. The fact that their culture seems repulsive to us does not change this.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally knew a Japanese lady who worked with the Japanese occupation in Indonesia. She was ashamed of what the Japanese did in Asia. I think she would be cool with war museums all over Asia, but no whitewash names calling occupation -- friendship. Just call them what they are, about the war. So what if some Thais went with Japanese? Some French went with Germans too. It's totally ridiculous. Japanese knew they weren't in Thailand to be friends of the Thais anymore than the Germans were in Poland to be friends of the Poles. Book suggestion: The Rape of Nanking. Should be required reading for Thai schoolchildren. My blood pressure isn't impacted, don't worry. It's just that that it's obvious if Thais think it is normal to name such a museum FRIENDSHIP, something is really wrong with the education system here. We're in Thailand. We don't have to check our common sense at BKK.

To be clear. I am not implying the allies were saints either. At Hiroshima I would not expect a Japanese-American Friendship museum.

Edited by Jingthing
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've known several Japanese since the war, mainly in the 1960's. Some have been friends. I have been driving a Japanese visitor from Kuala Lumpur to Port Swettenham (in 1962) when he said to me, "I remember this place. I flew over here in my plane during the war." And on my visits to Japan in the '60s, I felt alien as I have never felt in any other country.

But this is not about international issues, not about the British or the Americans and the Japanese. Not really about the Thais and the Japanese. It's about Khun Yuam and the Japanese, which wouldn't make a very good name for their Memorial Hall. It commemorates an island of friendship in a sea of horror.... and I think that is worth commemorating.

No, I don't think the Thais come out of it very well... the ruling Thais. But the simple village people of Khun Yuam reacted in a friendly way, as simple village people usually do, and that is what this Memorial Hall is all about.

What I disagree with in many of the posts on this thread is that they talk in generalisations; Khun Yuam is a particular instance.

By the way, how many of the people who have posted have been to Khun Yuam, and have seen what I am talking about? If I was feeling nasty, I might even say, how many of you even know where it is.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What happened there wasn't related to WW2? Were the Japanese occupiers having a holiday? Again, I think it's about the name. It sounds like a way to not offend Japanese but instead they've offended a lot of OTHER nationalities, probably Chinese more than any other. If there was harmony between the occupiers and some of the villagers then that's part of the museum. I've been around that province (I WAS on a holiday) but don't recall that location specifically, as if that really makes a difference. I think it is massively naive to assume the name you put on such a museum, albeit limited and provincial, doesn't make a much bigger political/historical statement.

Edited by Jingthing
Link to post
Share on other sites

What happened there wasn't related to WW2? Were the Japanese occupiers having a holiday? Again, I think it's about the name. It sounds like a way to not offend Japanese but instead they've offended a lot of OTHER nationalities, probably Chinese more than any other. If there was harmony between the occupiers and some of the villagers then that's part of the museum. I've been around that province (I WAS on a holiday) but don't recall that location specifically, as if that really makes a difference. I think it is massively naive to assume the name you put on such a museum, albeit limited and provincial, doesn't make a much bigger political/historical statement.

It's not a bad name, what's wrong in some Thai - Japan friendship ???

".........now exhibited at the Thai-Japan Friendship Memorial Hall, which helps remind local residents and tourists of the hardships experienced during wartime."

There is no need to remember only the hate and there is equally no need to read into this something that it is not.

It is a simple provincial museum.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

What happened there wasn't related to WW2? Were the Japanese occupiers having a holiday? Again, I think it's about the name. It sounds like a way to not offend Japanese but instead they've offended a lot of OTHER nationalities, probably Chinese more than any other. If there was harmony between the occupiers and some of the villagers then that's part of the museum. I've been around that province (I WAS on a holiday) but don't recall that location specifically, as if that really makes a difference. I think it is massively naive to assume the name you put on such a museum, albeit limited and provincial, doesn't make a much bigger political/historical statement.

Of course it was related to WWII. Have they really offended anybody..... except people whose view of the world hasn't changed since 1945? Is the enemy all evil in a war, and your own side all good? The world would never get anywhere if we couldn't progress beyond that.

I lived in England during WWII, so I was in the other war. My father, who fought in both wars, used to say, "The only good German is a dead German." While the war was going on, this was the way the Allies all had to think. But now the war has been over for 67 years; the Germans and Japanese are on our side, and our attitude has to change. We should indeed remember the Holocaust and the Japanese concentration camps, and the depths to which human beings were able to sink, BUT now these countries are our friends, and we should also memorialise good things which happened during the war.

You say it makes a "much bigger political/historical statement." I'm sorry, Jingthing, but I find that to be pretentious rubbish.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Friendship is good. Museums are good. Naming museums about war -- friendship -- is DAFT. Agree to disagree.

Up to you.

But please don't assert a significance that is not there in this case of a small provincial museum.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Friendship is good. Museums are good. Naming museums about war -- friendship -- is DAFT. Agree to disagree.

Up to you.

But please don't assert a significance that is not there in this case of a small provincial museum.

You asked politely, and that's nice, but really, I can't agree to changing my own opinion which is strongly held. Imagine a bus tour of Chinese people seeing that place. Do you think they would think the Friendship name in the context of WW2 museum would have no meaning? I'm not suggesting countries previously at war or previously occupied can't be/shouldn't be friends. Not at all.

(BTW, if some people think my opinion about this is "pretentious rubbish" I can totally live with that.coffee1.gif )

Edited by Jingthing
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...