How ‘things’ tell a story: Japan museum portrays coronavirus pandemic life through everyday items

TOKYO (AP) — Takeout menus. Directions for attending a funeral. A leaflet from a local shrine, announcing the cancellation of summer festivals.

These humble, everyday artifacts of life in the pandemic have found a home in the Historical Museum of Urahoro, in Hokkaido, northern Japan, a town of just 4,500 residents that lacks a McDonald’s or movie theater.

But thanks to the museum’s curator, Makoto Mochida, it has a repository of the dross of the moment, stuff that may tell future generations what it was like to live in the time of COVID-19 — how life was profoundly changed with social distancing and growing fears over the outbreak.

“I am fascinated by how things connect with people,” Mochida said.

Some people are surprised he’s hoarding what appears to be garbage, said Mochida, who has problems throwing away things at home, too.

“Things furnish an excellent way to accurately archive history,” he said.

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