September 18th History Museum Tours – Shenyang, Liaoning Province, China
September 18th History Museum
九一八历史博物馆 jiǔ yī bā lìshǐ bówù guǎn
About this place
September 18th 1931 is a day that will never be forgotten by the Chinese people, as it was the beginning of the darkest period in China’s modern history. On this day the Japanese army, which had been occupying part of Manchuria (northeastern China) since the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), allegedly bombed a bridge at a Japanese owned and operated railroad crossing. The Japanese then blamed the attack on Chinese rebels. This action, which is now referred to as “the September 18th Incident (九一八事变)” or “the Manchurian Incident” or “the Mukden Incident” (Mukden is the Manchu name for Shenyang), was used as a pretext for the Japanese army to begin its invasion of China.
After the railroad crossing was destroyed, the Japanese launched a full-scale, surprise attack on Shenyang, easily conquering the city. Within a week, the Japanese conquered most of Manchuria, pillaging its cities, and taking the food, and resources for use in Japan. For the next 14 years the Chinese people lived in constant fear and suffered unfathomable atrocities at the hands of the Japanese army.
Shenyang’s 9-18 Museum sits on the exact site of the “9-18 Incident.” The museum is a large, very impressive building, designed to look like an open book. Some exhibits feature hundreds of photographs and documents from the years before the invasion leading all the way up to the war-crimes tribunals of the 1950s. Other exhibits include Chinese and Japanese firearms and artillery, human skeletons found in Shenyang, wax figurines, Japanese torture devices, and concrete sections of the original railroad bridge.
The museum is very well presented, and the dark, somber atmosphere is very suitable to the content of the exhibits. There are some signs in English, but unfortunately most of the information is in Chinese. However, even if you can’t understand the Chinese, the pictures and displays are impressive and moving nonetheless.
Those with an interest in modern history or those studying Chinese should definitely not skip the 9-18 Museum. It’s probably the world’s best collection of memorabilia from this important period of history, which is often overlooked in Western history books. The museum also provides excellent insight into the formation of the current ideas and attitudes of Chinese people, as well as the political relationships between the two East Asian countries. Furthermore, as of 2007, entrance to the museum is free.
For anyone staying in Shenyang, it is certainly worth the time to come here. If you can’t read Chinese, you may want to consider bringing a Chinese friend.
Note: Entry to the museum is free, but it closes at 4:00pm and is closed on Mondays. Plan your time so you can have at least two hours to wander around the museum.
Location: The Museum is to the northeast of the North Train Station, on Wang Hua Nan Jie (望花南街). From Middle Street (中街), it’s about 5km directly north on Xi Shun Cheng Jie (西顺城街). Ask a taxi driver for “jiǔ yī bā bówù guǎn”or take the following buses:
212 from Wu Ai Market
253 from Heping Square
299 from Liaoning University
325 from North Train Station
328 from Ma Lu Wan
Pillar from the Bridge Bombed in the "9-18 Incident"
Photos by Jerry Wang, 2007
Another disaster to China, Nanjing Massacre, in 1937-1938. The Memorial Hall of the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre
Tours That Go to September 18th History Museum
No tour packages, check out the Shenyang Tour Guides that can take you here.
Tour Guides for September 18th History Museum
But "the beginning of the darkest period in China’s modern history"? Umm, only if you forget the largest famine in world history in the 1950s, or the "10 lost years" (what even LOCAL people call it) in the 60s and 70s. And isn't it convenient to forget those, since they were inflicted on the Chinese ...read more
I went to Nanjing Massacre Memorial Museum, it was another disaster to China, to Nanjing people.
Hope the world peace and no war anymore.