View of rest house of Heiwadai Park.jpg

Heiwadai Park (平和台公園) or Miyazaki Peace Park is a municipal park in Miyazaki, Miyazaki on Japan's Kyushu Island. A popular honeymoon destination for Japanese couples, the park's Peace Tower has generated controversy because of its place in Japanese history.

Park descriptionEdit

Heiwadai Park is located in the Shimokitagata-cho region of Miyazaki City.[1] It has an area of 68.8 hectares (0.266 sq mi). The park houses the Miyazaki Shrine, which is devoted to Emperor Jimmu who by legend is from the Miyazaki region.[2]

HistoryEdit

The park was constructed in 1939 to commemorate the 2600th anniversary of Japan's Imperial establishment.[1] The Hakko Ichiu tower, later renamed the Peace Tower, was built in 1940.[3] When princess Takako Shimazu honeymooned there in 1960, the park became a favorite destination for Japanese newlyweds.[3] Hibiya Park was designated Heiwadai's sister park in 1965, in a ceremony in which Heiwadai received doves from Hibiya.[1]

Haniwa GardenEdit

 
Haniwa Garden

The Haniwa Garden, 9,000 square metres (2.2 acres) in size, is located north of the Peace Tower. A central feature of the Haniwa Garden is more than 400 haniwa (terracotta clay figures) which are placed along paths within the garden.[2] These are earthenware replicas of burial haniwa originally excavated at the site.[1] These figures take the form of animals, boats, dancers, houses, and warriors.[2]

Peace TowerEdit

 
Contemporary view of Heiwadai Tower

A 36-metre (118 ft) tower was constructed in 1940 to memorialize the installment of Japan's first emperor, Jimmu.[3] The original name was Hakkō ichiu Tower, meaning "Eight World Regions Under One Roof," a slogan of the Imperial Japanese Army.[2] Designed by Jitsuzo Hinago, the tower was created from stones gathered from around the then-current extent of the Japanese empire at a cost of 670,000 yen.[3][1] The writing "Hakkō ichiu" was removed after the Japanese defeat at the insistence of the U.S. military.[3] The tower was the inception point for the torch relay of the 1964 Summer Olympics.[3] Subsequent to the Olympics, which coincided with worldwide interest in the Japanese Imperial family, the local tourism association successfully petitioned the Miyazaki Prefecture to re-install the "Hakkō ichiu" characters.[3]

The tower has been a point of some controversy, as many Japanese citizens wonder how a structure created specifically to convey Japanese might during a period of conquest can now be a symbol for peace.[3] Some people consider the lack of documentation regarding the militaristic genesis of the tower to subtract from the structure's re-imagined power as a symbol for peace.[3] Other survivors of the period have stated that the tower allows the horrors of war to be passed down through generations.[3]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Heiwadai Park". Miyazaki City Tourism Association. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Berlitz (2017). Berlitz Pocket Guide Japan. Apa Publications Limited. p. 216. ISBN 9781785730269.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Motomura, Hiroshi (February 10, 2015). "Miyazaki's controversial Peace Tower continues to cause unease". Japan Times. Retrieved March 21, 2018.

Coordinates: 31°57′00″N 131°24′58″E / 31.950°N 131.416°E / 31.950; 131.416