Zen, Alive. Fukui

Recmended articles

Fukui may not be full of large shopping malls or sightseeing destinations that attract large groups of tourists from overseas, but the lush environment, terroir and distinct climate of Fukui have led to the creation of our outstanding traditional slow food and sake cultures, while Fukui's history and climate have shaped our traditional arts and crafts. Our deep Zen-like spirituality has been handed down from generation to generation, becoming the cultural and historical heritage that lives on today.

Learning about the Value of Life

at the Port of Humanity Tsuruga Museum

Learning about the Value of Life

I started the day with a train ride, taking the JR Hokuriku Main Line down to Tsuruga Station, then riding a community bus (a small bus operated mainly for locals, to meet local transportation demand) for about 10 minutes. My destination for today: the Port of Humanity Tsuruga Museum, located at Tsuruga Port.

Tsuruga Port

The area along Tsuruga Port features a park with beautiful greenery, offering a place for locals to relax and enjoy themselves.

Tsuruga Port was an international port from 1902 through 1941, serving as a hub of transportation to and from Europe. This port accepted orphaned Polish children in 1920 and Jewish refugees in 1940 — the only place in Japan where these people could come ashore.

Tsuruga Museum

The Port of Humanity Tsuruga Museum features panels and videos that present not only the history of Tsuruga Port, but also stories from those days and other information, helping us to understand the value of life even today.

The precious materials on displayThe precious materials on display

The precious materials on display include newspaper articles from the time about the orphaned Polish children arriving in Tsuruga, hardships experienced by the Jewish refugees during their travels, and their arrival. There are also many heartwarming stories about interactions they had with local residents.

about Chiune Sugiharaabout Chiune Sugihara

There is also a section about Chiune Sugihara, who issued transit visas to Jewish refugees to allow them to travel through Japanese territory. Jewish refugees fleeing persecution by the Nazis flocked to the Japanese Consulate in Lithuania. Sugihara, who was the consular agent at the time, contacted the Japanese Foreign Ministry for the issuance of visas, but he was not granted permission. This troubled him so much that he ultimately decided to disobey the ministry and issue the visas. These visas saved the lives of many refugees as a result of his decision, and have come to be known as the “Visas for Life.”

Visas for Life

Tablet computers with audio guides in six languages, including English, Chinese, Korean, and Russian, are available at the museum. Ask the staff for details.

Tablet computers with audio guide

Even as times change, it is important that we never forget the value of life and the value of peace. Experience a place in Fukui where the spirit of doing what is right — the spirit of Zen — lives on, where you can look deep within yourself.

Port of Humanity Tsuruga Museum

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