The period between the 1930s to the 1970s impacted today's Japan and the world in many ways. How did people live during a time when significant changes took place throughout society? Gallery 6 looks at two themes of this period: its life and culture and the movement of society and the world surrounding it.

These themes will be presented through visual images such as films, commercials, and newscasts. models, and dioramas, and merchandise and publications from the period.

War and PeaceThe Postwar Lifestyle Revolution

War and Peace

During the second half of the 19th century--when Japan appeared on the international scene led by Europe and the United States--and the first half of the 20th century, Japan experienced many wars such as the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars during the Meiji period, World War I in the Taisho period, and the Asia-Pacific War in the Showa period. At that time, Japan’s modernization had yet to catch up with Europe and the United States; the national goal was to enhance the wealth and military strength of the country (fukoku kyohei). This came with a price, not only for Japan but also for other countries.

This section also focuses on the living conditions of people during the period of occupation, a turning point in Japan’s history: from the end of war to the coming into effect of the Treaty of Peace with Japan.

Reconstructed Model of the 57th infantry regimental barracks
This 1/50 scale model is based on information in documents from 1928.
Banners to Celebrate Enlistment
These flags were given by relatives and acquaintances to be flown in front of homes and train stations as men left for the war.
Life-size reproduction of a street stall in a black market
Black markets, like this one, appeared throughout Japan after the end of war. This reproduction is based on photographic documentation.

The Postwar Lifestyle Revolution

Strong economic growth was a surprise in postwar Japan, from the middle of the 1950s to the beginning of the 1970s. It was supported mainly by chemical and heavy industries; large parts of the population streamed into cities from farming and fishing villages. A convenient and comfortable lifestyle, with electric appliances, was the beginning of urban life that led to modern society. Here, we look at the image and the meaning of "postwar Japan" by focusing on the mass culture of the time, including films, television programs, commercials, and magazines.

Reconstructed model of submerged Tagokura Village
This is a 1/500 scale model of a mountain village that was submerged under water due to the construction of the Tagokura dam in 1956.
Life-size reconstruction of a housing complex of the Japan Housing Corporation
This is a life-size reconstruction of an eat-in kitchen in the Akabanedai housing complex that was built in 1962.
Reproduction of a TV studio
TV commercials from the 1960s to the last half of the 1970s are shown to reflect this period.