The JEATH War Museum


History : The JEATH museum is an open air museum.
It's structure us a realistic reconstruction of a prisoner of war hut. It was established in 1977 by the present chief abbot of Wat Chaichumpol.
Venerable Phra Theppanyasuthee. This museum is now run by the temple.

The JEATH museum was established to collect various items connected with the construction of the Death Railway by prisoners of war (POW's)
during the second world war, 1942-1943.

The first thing you will see when you arrive at the museum is the bamboo hut with a collection of photographs.
This hut is very similar to those used as living quaters by POW's while they were forced, by the Japanese Army,
to construct the Death Railway linking Thailand and Burma.
Actually, the hut is not an original but it has been built as a copy of an original. Here you will see how the prisoners lived while working on the railway.
Secondly, we exhibit many photographs taken of real situations by Thais and prisoners of war.
The Japanese did not object to photographs in the beginning although later they prohibited prisoners from taking photographs or making any kind of record
because of the bad reflection on themselves. There are also many articles written by former prisoners, their relatives,
their friends and writers who interviewed many of the prisoners telling of the suffering of the prisoners of war.

Thirdly, there are many items such as pistols, knives, helmets, water canteens etc. which were used by POW's.
Here you will also see a large bomb dropped to destroy the bridge over the River Kwae and the railway track
to stop the transportation of the Japanese army between Thailand and Burma.
We call it the JEATH museum for the abbreviation of the names of the six countries involved :
(J)apan, (E)ngland, (A)merica and (Aàustralia, (T)hailand and (H)olland. The Japanese were the controllers of the railway project,
Thailand was involved as the conquered country and the other four countries were involved as POW's on the actual construction
of the 415 kilometre long Death Railway and the bridge over the River Kwae.
The word JEATH also replaces the word Death because it sounds too horrific.

The Death Railway was a strategic railway built between Thailand and Burma. It was 415 kilometres long (303 km in Thailand and 112 km in Burma)
and passed through the Three Pagoda Pass in Sangkhlaburi District, the most northern part of Kanchanaburi Province.
Construction was began on September 16, 1942 at Nong Pladuk, Thailand by approximately 30,000 prisoners of warr from
the above mentioned countries and more than 200,000 impressed labourers from India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore Burma and Thailand.
Of these, moe than 16,000 POW's and 100,000 impressed labourers died of many diseases, due to starvation and lack of medical equipment.
It is said that the first survey by the Japanese engineers predicted that it would take at least five years to finish this railway line,
but the Japanese army forced the prisoners to complete it in only sixteen months. Thus it was completed on 25 December 1943.

The JEATH museum has been constructed not for the maintenance of the hatred among human beings, especially among the Japanese and allied countries,
but to warn and teach us the lesson of HOW TERRIBLE WAR IS.


(Text and black and white photographs taken from 'The JEATH Museum' entrance brochure, color photo's from

The River Kwai Photo Gallery


               Bombs used to bomb the bridge                                                                                                        Bridge over the River Kwai after the bombing