Imperial War Museum to showcase Japanese WWII artifacts

London: A new display of items related to Japan`s role in World War II has opened at the `Imperial War Museum` in London following a major revival of the building.

The display which focuses on the end of the war has a Japanese Zero fighter which was discovered in a jungle on Taroa Island in the Pacific Ocean 50 years after the conflict, as its centrepiece.

Historian Ian Kikuchi who helped to curate the objects for the museum said that the aircraft was pushed off the runway in 1943 when the Japanese realized they did not have the necessary resources and parts to keep it flying.

"The Zero stands for early Japanese victories and also later defeats. This example of the Zero is visually arresting and intriguing," says Kikuchi.

He added that the museum decided to display the aircraft for the first time because its skeletal appearance vividly symbolizes the crumbling of the Japanese empire towards the end of the war.

Other items on display for the first time include the British flag that was flown over the municipal buildings in Singapore when Japan surrendered in September 1945.

The curator describes the flag as one of his favorite items as it "encapsulates a great reversal of fortunes".

The display, which is part of the museum`s exhibition covering key snapshots from World War II, also includes a selection of swords surrendered by Japanese officers to the British.

The exhibition also includes a bed sheet embroidered by a prisoner of war during captivity, propaganda leaflets dropped on Japan and aerial photos of Tokyo used for US bombing raids.

An amount of USD 68 million was spent on rebuilding the museum which took one and a half years to get completed.

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