Daigo Fukuryu-Maru Exhibition Hall

Daigo Fukuryu-Maru Exhibition Hall

Lucky Dragon and Atomic Tuna Memorial

I didn’t get to visit this during my time in Tokyo, but it is on my list for next time!

This is a large building that holds the “Daigo Fukuryu Maru” (Lucky Dragon #5) fishing boat. On March 1, 1954, twenty-three crew members were tuna fishing far out to sea, in the North Pacific, when a fine white substance began falling. The fishermen gathered it up curious as to what it could be. Later that night they began to get sick. One died and others were hospitalized over the next year. It wasn’t until later that they learned that the substance that was falling around them was nuclear fallout from an experimental United States detonation of a nuclear bomb on Bikini Atoll. The U.S. government neglected to tell fishermen, locally stationed U.S. personnel, and inhabitants in Micronesia of the danger. The strength of the explosion was misjudged and wound up being a thousand times stronger than the one that destroyed Hiroshima.

When the boat and crew returned to Japan it set off panic; the ship was quarantined until it could be considered safe. It eventually returned to active service before being slated to be scrapped. It was reconstructed and used as a practice vessel for the Tokyo University of Fisheries and was finally retired in 1967.

The Tokyo government built a hall to house the vessel to raise awareness of the tragedies connected to nuclear bombs. Next to the boat, there is a marker that commemorates the burial of 450 tons of tuna that was contaminated and not able to be utilized for human consumption. Additionally, there is a memorial for Aikichi Kuboyama, the actual engine of the boat. Oddly enough, this incident was one of the inspirations for the movie, Godzilla.

Helpful Information

Best Time to Visit: This exhibit can be visited from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily except for Mondays.

Important Information

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Kristal Ham

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