Whole view of “Komainu” (stone-carved guardian dogs) in Osaka-jo castle
Close view of “Komainu”
It is for the existing explanation that Osaka- city government set up
We appreciate your cooperation with signs for establishing the explanation
board that is written about the certain history of “Komainu” (stone-carved
guardian dogs) in Osaka-jo castle.
“Komainu”, which is placed at Nishinomaru north gate of Osaka-jo castle, is a national cultural treasure of the Min era of China. But why are they in Osaka-jo castle now in Japan?
On July 7th, 1937, Japanese army seriously began invading Chinese territory, triggered by the Marco Polo Bridge incident (Rokokyo incident). In the same year, on December 13th, the Japanese army invaded Nanjin (the capital of China at that time) and they massacred a great number of Chinese people then. The end of July, during the invasion of China, they bombed and occupied Tianjin area. And they plundered “Komainu” from in front of the office buildings of Tianjin.
In 1938, “Komainu” was often displayed as “a trophy of the victory” or used for whipping up war sentiment at “Sino-Japanese holy war exhibition” held at Nishinomiya baseball stadium and the outer gardens in Hyogo prefecture.
After that “Komainu” had been long left neglected in one corner of Osaka-jo castle.
In 1982, with a survey of Osaka-jo castle, we found the fact that the “Komainu” was stolen by Japanese army from China. On January 1st, 1983, Japanese citizens began the signature campaign for demanding to return “Komainu” to China and to build “a copy of ‘Komainu’” for making it as a symbol of peace and giving waring of Japanese militarism or an aggressive war.
Responding the Japanese citizen’s request, Chinese government regarded the request as a friendship between Japan and China. Thankfully, they donated “Komainu” to Osaka city as “a sign of friendship” again.
However, there aren’t any historical notes on the explanation board of “Komainu”. The board explains about “Komainu” as follows.
“This pair of ‘Komainu’ is a cultural heritage of the Min era of China. It has 3 meters high and a weight of 2.9 tons. During China- Japan War, it was brought to Japan and placed inside of Osaka-jo castle where there was the 4th Japanese army headquarters at that time. After the war, it had long left at the east side of Yamazatoguchi Demasugata. In 1984, when Chinese government donated “Komainu” Osaka city again, it placed the place where it is now. Since then, ‘Komainu’ promotes cordial relations between China and Japan and it has been a symbol of friendship of the two countries. On a memorial monument, next to ‘Komainu’, ‘中日友好 萬古長青 (the friendship of China-Japan forever)’ is written. It means a hope for keeping the eternal friendship between China and Japan. This is written by Song Zhi Guang who was an ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China in Japan at that time.”
Reading the description, we can never know why “Komainu” was brought to Japan from China. The description is possible to make people to think that like some Japanese antique art dealers had bought “Komainu” —one of the important cultural properties in China— and preserved it to protect from the war. There aren’t any words of reflecting on invasion of China.
With such description, how can we regard “Komainu” as the symbol of friendship between China and Japan?
On May 22nd 2014, Osaka Komainu Association members submitted “the petition and description to demand for establishing the explanation board that is clearly written about the certain history of “Komainu” and the determination never to make war with China” to Chairman of Osaka city and the Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto at that time.
However, Osaka city members refused our request without any reasons. Moreover, in April 2015, they removed exhibition of “Nanjin Genocide” and “comfort woman” from the war museum called “Peace Osaka” placed in Osaka-jo castle. (It is operated by a foundation “Osaka international peace center” supported by both Osaka city and prefecture)
Osaka city members should inform Japanese youth the true history of “Komainu”. We don’t forgive the act of revising or hiding the history. Making the certain explanation board is necessary for us not to make the same sin of militarism again and to make Japan, Asia, the world peace in the future.
Therefore we are now doing the signature campaign again for establishing the explanation board that is clearly written about the certain history of “Komainu” and the determination never to make war with China.
We need your cooperation for our peaceful world.
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Osaka-jo Komainu Association