2. Mitaka in the 1930s: War Memories and Monuments

The War Years – 1931 – 1945

What was happening in Mitaka during this time?

Mitaka population growth 1925 – 1942

    • 1925  6,800

    • 1931  8,218

    • 1936  11,806

    • 1940  20,111

    • 1942  35,734

    • 2005  175,000

How to explain the sudden population growth in the late 1930s and early 1940s?

Opening of Mitaka Station (now on the Chuo line): 1930

Mitaka: from farming village to center of Japan’s military-industrial complex

In 1936 there was only one factory in Mitaka, but soon thereafter Mitaka and neighboring Musashino attracted many factories and industrial research institutes —

Many of these new industries were connected with the war effort: electronics, aviation, chemicals, optics, wireless communication, and precision tools.

One example is Nakajima Aircraft, founded by Nakajima Chikuhei (1884-1949) in 1919. The Musashino factory was built in 1937. The Musashino factory featured state-of-the-art facilities. Construction on the Mitaka Research Center began in December 1941. The building that housed the Mitaka Research Center is now the main classroom building of International Christian University, founded in the immediate postwar period in order to offer a more peace-centered educational experience to Japanese youth.

Websites:

On the Nakajima Aircraft Company:

http://www.ne.jp/asahi/airplane/museum/nakajima/naka-cont-e.html

On the history of ICU:

http://www.icu.ac.jp/en/liberalarts/major/major07/index.html