“Jyu-kanbo” Outline & Purpose


[What is “Jyu-kanbo” ?]
  “Jyu-kanbo”(“special hospital ward”) was a detention center for Hansen’s disease patients,which had once existed on the premises of the national sanatorium Kuriu-Rakusenen,Kusatsu town,Gunma Prefecture,Japan.
Despite its name,this “special hospital ward” had been used as a prison for disobedient Hansen’s disease patients,As sixty years have passed since its construction,only the foundations of the actual building still remain until nowadays.

[“Jyu-kanbo” Outline]
  Under the Hansen’s Disease Isolation Policy, patients frequently revolted and escaped.
As a result, in each Hansen’s disease sanatorium, there were confinement cells built still before the World War II. They were called “kanbo” or “hospital ward.” In special cases, disobedient patients were punished more harshly, and were sent to facilities called “special hospital ward” or “Jyu-kanbo.”
This particular “Jyu-kanbo” was built in 1938 and remained in use until 1947.
During that period of nine years, 93 patients judged as rebellious were imprisoned there under the claim of being “hospitalized.” In all, 23 of the 93 patients died. Now, 60 years later, only the main part of the prison remains.

The punishment and execution of the prisoners depended solely on the decision of the head of each sanatorium.
By the law, the head of the sanatorium was given the right to judge and punish accordingly the detained patients.
There were no court trials and, therefore, the human rights of the patients were completely ignored.

[Purpose of “Jyu-kanbo” Museum]
  Jyu-kanbo National Museum of detention for Hansen’s disease patients was established with the intention to contribute to eliminating the discrimination and prejudice against people with Hansen’s disease.
The purpose of the museum is to increase the knowledge about the Hansen’s disease and respect to the value of life.
In order to achieve this purpose,the museum is devoted to collecting and preserving the historical facts concerning the Jyu-kanbo “special hospital ward,”raising the knowledge about the Hansen’s disease itself,and conveying the results of the excavations and research to a wider audience.


Foundational Idea

The Museum hopes to convey the negative legacy of “Jyu-kanbo” and raise respect for human rights through eliminating the prejudice to Hansen’s disease patients and their discrimination.