On October 9th, 2000, the John Lennon Museum opened at the Saitama prefecture in Tokyo, Japan. The date holds significance because it would’ve been John Lennon’s 60th birthday. However, the museum closed in 2010 with the close cooperation of his widow Yoko Ono. During my college years, I was extremely fortunate to have visited this museum in the summer of 2004.
We had weekends off from my internship and we could not pass up the weekend trip to Saitama and to take in as absolutely as much as we could in Tokyo. We heard that this museum was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and once we walked into the museum, we knew that we were going to feel history come to life while feeling John Lennon’s aura throughout the museum.
There was a beautiful slideshow that gave an overview of his life with a welcome message by his widow Yoko Ono. There were earpieces that would translate the message to English, however, I chose not to use the earpiece because I wanted to hear the message in her native language. In Japan, it is frowned upon to take pictures in places such as museums and Buddhist temples, however, I will never forget to experience the museum. Here are some of the things that we experienced. I am going to type them out in list form.
- Some of John Lennon’s writings in his childhood diary. After reading his handwriting, I immediately noticed that John Lennon always wanted peace throughout the land.
- Plenty of memorabilia from The Beatles, including the actual garb that they wore for the Sgt. Pepper and the Lonely Hearts Club Band album. That was incredible to see.
- John Lennon’s artwork, including a really large chess board where the two sets of chess pieces were of the same color.
- The actual piano that John Lennon had in his storied music video for “Imagine”.
- Some of the FBI memos that appeared to target John Lennon for having ties to Communism.
- I had to get a “War Is Over, If You Want It” t-shirt.
- Upon exiting the museum, “Give Peace A Chance” forever rang in my head as the song is still a battlecry for world peace.
John Lennon was gunned down by a crazed fan. People are still impacted by his death to this day. I wanted to share my memories of John Lennon from this museum at the Saitama prefecture. It is a shame that the museum closed in 2010, but selfishly, I am glad that I got to experience it when I did.