As delivered to the 6th international conference of the International Network of Museums of Peace (INMP), Kyoto Museum for World Peace, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto (Japan), October 6, 2008

Peace Monuments Around the World

PowerPoint Presentation by Edward W. Lollis, Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

This talk is about peace monuments.

A monument is a physical and permanent way to preserve memory. A peace monument represents positive values and assists in peace-building.

A peace museum is a special kind of peace monument. A museum is special because it’s a complex living institution. But a peace museum is a peace monument: It’s physical, permanent, and promotes peace-building.

At least sixty seven peace museums have been created since 1902 -- and the most recent in 2007. Most peace museums have been created in the last three decades.

This talk is based on worldwide research, particularly a data set of 564 peace monuments for which I can find specific dates of creation. When you look at all peace monuments, you can see that peace museums are only a small part of the total.

In my opinion, peace monuments should be better known. And the role of peace museums would be augmented by helping the public to appreciate the many peace monuments outside their walls.

The purpose of this talk is to increase awareness of peace monuments in all parts of the world.

The talk is divided into five parts:

(1) Some comments on monuments close to my home in the United States,
(2) The history of peace bells,.
(3) A sample of other notable peace monuments over time,
(4) Some recent groups of peace monuments. And, finally,
(5) Some ways in which peace monuments can be made relevant to the average citizen.

(1) Newport, Oak Ridge, Hiroshima

The World Peace Bell was installed not far from my home in Newport, Kentucky, on the eve of the New Millennium. It was cast in France and weights 33 tons.

Another peace bell hangs much closer to my home in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

This bell is engraved with symbols of Tennessee and Japan. On one panel are a mockingbird, dogwood flowers, and the Great Smoky Mountains. On the facing panel are cranes, cherry blossoms, and Mount Fuji. A rainbow of promise ending in an atomic symbol crosses both panels. On the back of the bell are the dates of Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and VJ Day.

The bell was cast in 1993 by Sotetsu Iwazawa at his foundry here in Kyoto.

It hangs in an oak pavilion, whose architect combined elements of both Western and Asian architecture. I think his pavilion resembles the famous Shinto temples at Ise. And its three downspouts for rain water resemble the three downspouts of Kiyomizu Temple just east of Kyoto..

The reason a Japanese bell is in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is due to the leadership of Shigeko Yoshino Uppuluri. Shigeko is attending today’s conference. She is now an American citizen but formerly lived within the sound of the bell at Higashi-Hogan Temple in central Kyoto.

The Oak Ridge bell would not exist without the support of Dr. Alvin Weinberg [1915-2006]. Dr. Weinberg is a famous Manhattan Project scientist who helped enrich the uranium which was used to bomb Hiroshima.

In 1991, Dr. Weinberg visited Hiroshima. He learned about the annual Hiroshima Day ceremony and the religious fervor of its participants. He concluded that a peace bell in Oak Ridge would complement the peace bell in Hiroshima. And that the longevity of both bells would help establish a permanent taboo against the use of nuclear weapons.

Indeed, the bell in Oak Ridge has been used for this purpose. On August 9, 2005 – the 60th anniversary of the non-use of nuclear weapons – Dr. Weinberg and other atomic scientists attended a ceremony at which Shigeko Uppuluri played the koto, and I read from Dr. Weinberg’s writings about “The Santification of Hiroshima.”

The bell is a venue of protests on the anniversary of the War in Iraq. It is also a meeting place for foreign visitors, including the Hiroshima Boys Choir in 2006.

(2) Other Peace Bells

The Oak Ridge bell was preceded by the Japanese Peace Bell which has graced the grounds of the United Nations since 1954. But what is the origin of that famous bell?

It’s not hard to discover that the person most responsible is Mr. Chiyoji Nakagawa [1905-1972], mayor of Uwajima, a small town at the westernmost end of Shikoku Island.

What took me some time to learn is that Mayor Kakagawa helped replace a Buddhist temple bell in 1950 which was called “the Bell of Banzai for Absolute Peace” (Banzai means “long life”). The Uwajima bell is therefore the world’s first peace bell.

[On October 10, 2008, the author learned in Hiroshima that a "Bell for Peace" was hung at Tamon-in Temple (near Hijiyama Park) in 1949.]

Since 1954, peace bells have been erected in all parts of the world. Twenty have been sponsored by the World Peace Bell Association which was created in Tokyo in 1982 by Mr. Tomijiro Yoshida.

Five World Peace Bells are in Japan. But Mr. Yoshida ensured that other bells were placed in Europe, in North America, in Latin American, in Central Asia, and the in Far East.

Three days ago, I visited the Oigo Bell Works in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, and learned that all World Peace Bells -- as well as the 1964 Hiroshima Peace Bell -- were cast there. I saw three additional World Peace Bells which have not yet been presented to host cities.

The WPBA website is no longer on-line, and I would very much like to learn what happened to Mr. Yoshida and to his heroic effort.

[The author visited Mr. Yoshida at the office of the World Peace Bell Association in Tokyo, Ikebukuro, on October 18, 2008, and subsequently updated his website ( The WPBA website remains on-line (]

(3) Other Peace Monuments

As for other peace monuments around the world, there are more than a thousand in my database, and time permits me to name only a few notable examples. And I shall do so in chronological order.

-- American sculptor Jim Havens used the oldest known word for “peace” for a monument to celebrate the end of the war between Iraq and Iran [1980-1988]. But Iran cancelled its order for his work. And Jim donated the stainless steel monument to a school in the Himalayan foot hills of India.

-- Of extant peace monuments, the oldest I’ve been able to find is the Ara Pacis (Altar of Peace) erected by Caesar Augustus in Rome in 9 BCE. This monument is not obscure. Enclosed in a new pavilion, it is in fact a major tourist attraction.

-- There are many examples of peace art in the Renaissance. But I’ll give but one example. In 1338-39 Ambrogio Lorenzetti painted Pax, a female figure of peace, to represent one of the rewards of good order and the absence of war.

-- In my country, the lion and the lamb are powerful symbols of peace, best illustrated by “The Peaceable Kingdom,” painted by Quaker artist Edward Hicks about 1833.

-- Twenty years later, Commodore Matthew Perry [1794-1858] carried an Okinawa temple bell to the United States. This was never considered to be a peace bell. For a while, it highlighted the campus of the U.S. Naval Academy. Eventually, it became a trophy just outside the academy’s largest building. Finally, in 1987, the bell was returned to Okinawa, and a replica continues to serve in the place of the original.

-- The American Civil War [1861-1865] led to a many war monuments – and eventually to a few peace monuments. The “Naval Peace Monument” is the best known because of its location near the U.S. Capitol Building.

-- Thirty two years newer is one the best known peace monument in Europe. It’s in Austerlitz, Czech Republic, and commemorates Napoleon’s victory in 1805 over the emperors of Austria and Russia.

-- King Edward VII [1841-1910] of England was known as “Peacemaker” for fostering good relations with other countries and for arbitrating a peace treaty between Argentina and Chile. His memory is celebrated by peace monuments as far apart as the seaside in Brighton and the Andes Mountains in South America.

-- Home of the World Court is the “Peace Palace” in The Hague. It was constructed in 1913 by the Carnegie Foundation and is still owned by the Carnegie Foundation. [On October 7, 2008, INMP coodinator Peter Van Den Dungen proposed holding the 8th international conference of museums for peace in connection with the centennial of the Peace Palace in 2013.]

-- Peace monuments after World War I commemorate “the war to end all wars.” Russian artist Nicholas Roerich [1874-1947] invented the “Banner of Peace” to protect sites of cultural activity and historical value. And the “Roerich Pact” was signed at the White House in Washington, D.C.

-- In 1927, Dr. Sidney Gulick [1860-1945], a lecturer at Kyoto Imperial University, obtained more than 12,000 American “blue-eyed dolls” for Japanese children. Fifty-eight prefectures replied by sending museum quality Japanese dolls to America. Many were hidden during World War II. But most now occupy their rightful places in museums all over the United States.

-- The world’s first international peace park was created on the border between the United States and Canada in 1932.

-- And the first international peace garden was opened on the same border four weeks later. The border divides the garden into two halves with a “Peace Tower” and patriotic flower beds on each side of the international boundary.

-- In 1937, Pablo Picasso painted “Guernica” for the Spanish pavilion at the Paris International Exposition. The original is now in Madrid. And a full-size replica is at the UN in New York City.

-- In 1955, Hiroshima and Nagasaki inaugurated peace parks. Both parks contain “unintentional” monuments (the Genbaku Dome and Urakami Cathedral), peace museums, statues, and -- of course -- peace bells.

-- Hiroshima and Nagasaki are even memorialized elsewhere, particularly in their sister cities. In the United States, Hiroshima’s sister city is Honolulu, Hawaii. And Nagasaki’s is St. Paul, Minnesota.

-- In 1959, the Soviet Union gave a heroic statue “Let Us Beat Swords Into Plowshares” to the United Nations where it still resides on the East River. The swords and plowshares metaphor is from the Bible (Isaiah 2.4 and Micha 4:3), and many people wonder what the leaders of a communist nation were thinking when they commissioned this statue.

-- One of my favorite peace monuments is Gyarah Murti (Eleven Statues) in New Delhi. This is a larger than life-size procession of ten persons – male and female, young and old, rich and poor – following Mahatma Gandhi during his Salt March in 1930.

-- The world’s largest peace monument sits on a hillside above the United Nation’s University for Peace (UPAZ) in Costa Rica. It was designed by a Cuban artist and erected in 1987.

-- Another favorite of mine is the Garden of Peace in the Tlatelolco district of Mexico City. Created by the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) near the scene of the 1986 student massacre. The garden has a peace bell, a children’s sculpture, and a large agora for performances and meetings.

-- In central Bamako, there is a giant peace monument celebrating the end of Mali’s civil war [1990-1996] but also clearly representing Mali’s place in a world of peace.

-- In Okinawa, the Heiwa no Ishiji (Cornerstone of Peace) honors all civilian and military casualties of the Battle of Okinawa [March 26 to September 7, 1945]. As of June 2008, its walls bore the names of 240,734 individuals.

-- In Paris, a wall of another kind bears the single word “peace” in forty nine languages and eighteen different alphabets in the shadow of the Eifel Tower. Its designer, Clara Halter, also created the Gates of Peace in Hiroshima in 2005.

-- My last example is a new use for an old pedestal. In April 2003, Iraqi civilians and U.S. Marines toppled the statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdus Square, Baghdad. Only seven weeks later, Iraqi artists erected the statue of a Muslim family entitled Najeen (Survivor).

* * *

I have just mentioned eighty different peace monuments. Since this hardly scratches the surface of the subject, I want to return to the data set of 564 peace monuments for which I can find specific dates of creation.

The data prior to 1985 show ups and downs in the creation of new peace monuments and museums. Peaks are associated with World War I and with the beginnings of the League of Nations and the United Nations. The peak in 1955 reflects the creation of peace parks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

But an apparent surge in monument construction has occurred since 1985. This is explained – but only in small part -- by the better availability of information -- largely from the internet. Another partial explanation is the coming into existence of various monument groups.

(4) Peace Monument Groups

I have already mentioned the World Peace Bell Association. This is the first of at least twenty groups which have sponsored peace monuments around the world. Seven of the groups have at least one peace monument in Japan.

Other groups include the Nipponzan Myohoji order of Buddhism, World Peace Rose Gardens, the benefactors of Carl Fredrik Reuersward’s sculpture “Non-Violence,” International School Peace Gardens, the Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga (New South Wales, Australia), Pacific Rim Parks, the Peace Parks Foundation, Worldwide Peace Markers, and World Peace Gongs.

I shall comment on but five examples of these groups:

-- Master woodworker George Nakashima [1905-1990] decided to make four “Peace Tables” from the same magnificent log of American walnut and to place them on four different continents. Three of his tables are now in New York City, in Moscow, and in Auroville, an experimental community in India

-- Gardens for Peace was created in 1988 by Atlanta native Laura Dorsey who was inspired by gardens she saw in Japan while caring for her husband who had been wounded in Viet-Nam. About sixteen Gardens for Peace now exist on three continents.

-- World Walls for Peace was established by Carolyna Marks in Berkeley, California, in 1989. Each Wall for Peace is covered with tiles made from children’s peace art. Eighteen walls exist in four different countries. Tiles were sent to Hiroshima but have perhaps not yet been made into a wall.

-- The original statue of “Reconciliation” resides at the Department of Peace Studies in Bradford, England. Copies of the original have been placed where people suffered from a lack of peace: Coventry, Belfast, Berlin, and Hiroshima. [Conference participants visited "Reconciliation" in Hiroshima on October 10, 2008.]

-- The first World Peace Flame was lit in 2002 on the grounds of the Peace Palace in The Hague. Other World Peace Flames now burn elsewhere in the Netherlands, in Australia, in Wales, and in my home state of Tennessee.

(5) Small Peace Monuments

I want to end by mentioning some ways in which peace monuments can be made relevant to the average citizen.

One way is to make your own peace monument. Prof. Richard Bennett of Fayetteville, Arkansas, made his own “Peace Rock” -- a garden monument -- and bird feeder -- about one meter across. It bears the names of thirty-one famous peacemakers.

An easier way to obtain a peace monument is to “plant” a peace pole. Peace poles are the idea of Japanese philosopher Masahisa Goi [1916-1980], and various organizations in the United States and Japan promote their use.

Some young people in the woods of northern Michigan make their living by crafting cedar peace poles and shipping them all over North America. My wife and I “planted” one of their peace poles at the entrance to our home in Knoxville, Tennessee. The four languages on our peace pole are English, French, Spanish, and Cherokee.

When two planes slammed into the World Trade Center in 2001, a group of citizens in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, decided to erect a peace monument. And -- having seen the Japanese Peace Bell at the UN -- they immediately thought of a peace bell.

They lacked funds to cast a Japanese bell. So they bought a used 19th century Western church bell from a dealer in Michigan. But the results speak for themselves: Exactly two years after the tragedy in New York City, the citizens of Ridgefield Park had their own peace bell. Not exactly Japanese, but the spirit is the same.

Another way for average citizens to appreciate peace monuments is to become peace tourists. As I was en route to Kyoto, conference participant Julie Obermeyer sent me an image of "Peace Traveler,"a slender symbol of "peace tourism" in San Gimignano, Italy. Tourists can visit peace monument concentrations in Hiroshima, in Nagasaki, and at UN Headquarters in New York City.

“A Peace Trail Though London” identifies nine peace monuments which a visitor might see in central London. Bradford, England, has a similar brochure. In 2002 Geneva, Switzerland, published an entire book describing forty three peace sites in and around the city. Vienna, Austria, and Atlanta, Georgia, are reported to be currently working on guides to their local peace monuments.

People can also travel via the internet. About half of my database is now on-line. Just go to This interactive website identifies peace monuments by physical form, by date, and by geographic location in at least fifty different countries.

A third grade class in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, used the internet to visit sixteen peace monuments in eleven different countries.

Then the children decided to build their own peace monument. A thoughtful teacher must have guided them because their finished monument contains most every symbol of peace ever devised: Doves, a laurel branch, the world, a torch, origami peace cranes, multicolor ribbons, multiracial hands, the CND peace sign, the symbols of world religions, and so on. It even has the emblem of Nicholas Roerich’s 1935 Banner of Peace!

Peace monuments are everywhere and for everyone. Visit one today!

The End


(as submitted July 15, 2008)

According to the conference brochure, peace museums "need to pass...memories from generation to generation and to positively utilize them in peace-building." All peace monuments have the same purpose. Peace monuments take many physical forms other than museums. They include obelisks, statues, arches, gates, towers, fountains, parks, gardens, paintings, and plaques.

Such monuments convey a relatively simple symbolic message. And most are static -- lacking the ability of museums to change with changing circumstances. But they are also more numerous and more varied than museums. And they exist in many more places. Collectively, peace museums and other peace monuments help convey the many meanings of peace, counter the culture of war, and increasingly provide for the possibility of peace tourism.

Although peace monuments have existed since Roman times, multiple examples did not occur until the aftermaths of the American Civil War [1861-1865] and World War I [1914-1919]. After World War II [1937-1945], Japanese culture provided the world with many new forms of peace symbolism -- peace poles, pagodas, the origami crane, Sadako Sasaki, stone lanterns, and the peace bell.

In the last fifty years, peace monuments have proliferated on all continents and in ever increasing variety: Abstract sculptures, mosaics, murals, walls, bridges, trails, neighborhood gardens, historic preservations, and even large transborder parks. Many peace monuments are religious or emphasize world peace. Some preserve the memory of specific events or of peace heroes such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Some espouse pacifism or non-violence. Peace monuments have been created to help bring about reconciliation, ethnic harmony, neighborhood tranquility, and environmental peace. Some of the most recent peace monuments are purposely directed toward children.

The author has identified more than 800 peace monuments in all parts of the world -- not counting peace poles, small peace gardens, personal shrines, and "international friendship monuments." His conference presentation will be richly illustrated with color slides of many peace monuments. Some examples are already shown on the author's websites -- and -- and many more will be put on-line before the conference.

Please email your comments & questions to geovisual at Thank you.