At the time of the atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima, a Chinese Parasol tree sapling was burned, seared on the side of its trunk that was exposed to the horrendous flash of heat of the blast. But the core of the tree remained alive. Over time, the force of life again asserted itself. The tree grew and the side of the tree facing away from the blast grew around the injured portion, as if covering and protecting it. In May, 1973, the tree was transplanted to the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, where it continues to grow, an affirmation of hope and life.
This is a section of a white wall from a house that was 3,700 meters from the hypocenter. The roof of the house had been set askew by the force of the atomic blast, allowing the black rain that fell following the blast to run down the white plaster wall, staining it. Analysis of the stains indicated that the black rain contained radioactive fallout from the atomic bomb blast. This section of wall was donated by Akijiro Yashima, and it is now displayed in the Peace Memorial Museum, Hiroshima.
Photograph of the mushroom cloud rising over Hiroshima taken about two minutes after the explosion. Photograph taken from the Kanda bridge, Furuichi-cho, about 7 kilometers from the hypocenter, the point of detonation.
Early morning, sixty years after the fateful early morning in 1945 -- a view across part of the harbor at Hiroshima, looking toward the city center in the distance, with its skyscrapers and bustling business center. Today Hiroshima is a vibrant city and there is little evidence of the utter destruction that was visited upon this site slightly over half a century ago.
Strings of folded paper, origami, cranes left at the memorial by school children. The tradition of folding and leaving paper cranes at several locations in the peace park at Hiroshima derives from the example and life and death of Sadako Sasaki. Exposed as an infant to the radiation of the atomic bomb blast, Sadako appeared to have been unharmed until she reached the age of eleven, when she suddenly was stricken with the leukemia that claimed her life within nine months. In the story now known by school children worldwide, before her death she attempted to fold one thousand paper cranes, believing that her life would be spared if she could complete the task.
This pocket watch and belt buckle belonged to Jiro Hataguchi, who was at work, at the Hiroshima Railway Bureau, at the time of the blast. His wife and brother found the watch and buckle and bones four days after the exposion under a safe in his workplace, 1850 meters from the hypocenter.
Strings of paper cranes left at the Memorial Mound in the Peace Memorial Park.
The Hall of Rememberance is a quiet space with subdued lighting, conducive to the prayer and contemplation to which it is dedicated. It is a round space, suggestive of a chapel, perhaps. On the walls are a photographic panorama taken from a spot close to the center of the blast. The panorama is made of tiles, 140,000 of them - one for each of the persons who died from the blast and its effects by the end of December, 1945. In the center of the space is glowing truncated cone with water constantly flowing down its sides, a symbolic statement reminding us of the suffering of the victims."
We hereby mourn those who perished in the atomic bombing. At the same time, we recall with great sorrow the many lives sacrificed to mistaken national policy. To ensure that no such tragedies are ever repeated, we pledge to convey the truth of these events throughout Japan and around the world, to pass it on to future generations, and to build, as soon as possible, a peaceful world free from nuclear weapons.
View 3. A-bomb Dome in the Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima.
This photo of the hypocenter, the point of detonation of the atomic bomb, was taken in the autumn of 1945. The bomb had exploded in the air, approximately 600 meters above the Industrial Promotion Hall. -- The devastation caused by the blast and the fires that followed was total. It is said that the city was reduced to ashes covered by a crust of materials melted by the heat, that the city appeared to be covered with lava. -- A survey completed in 1946 assessed the physical damage in these terms: Of 76,327 buildings in the city of Hiroshima at the time of the blast, 47,989 (62.9%) were totally collapsed and burned. 3,818 (5%) were totally collapsed. 18,360 (24%) were half collapsed and burned, damaged beyond repair. The staggering total of the damage figures is that of the 76,327 buildings in the city, 70,147 (91.9% of all buildings in the entire city) were burned or collapsed by the blast beyond any possibility of repair. -- This image is a section of a photo that is now a wa
This is another of the very rare photographs of the immediate aftermath of the bombing. The photo, taken by Yoshito Matsushige, shows victims huddled at the west end of the Miyuki Bridge, 2,270 meters from the hypocenter, about 11:00 a.m., August 6, 1945. In the book, The Viewfinder Clouded with Tears, Mr. Matsushige writes, "I fought with myself for 30 minutes before I could take the first picture. After taking the first, I grew strangely calm and wanted to get closer. I took about ten steps forward and tried to snap another, but the scenes I saw were so gruesome my viewfinder clouded with tears."
At the top of the monument, which is nine-meters high, is this bronze statue of a young girl, perhaps a reference to Sadako Sasaki. In her hands, she lifts a golden crane above her head. The crane carries dreams for a peaceful future. -- On the sides of monument are bronze figures of a young boy and another young girl.
This detail of the base of the monument shows part of the Korean inscription on the column, the tortoise supporting the column, as well as strings of paper cranes and maps of Korea left by visitors to the monument.
The A-bomb devastated nearly all administrative agencies and destoyed official documents. Thus, the exact number of deaths due to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima remains unknown. Many victims were never identified. -- According to a document submitted by the city of Hiroshima to the United Nations in 1976 entitled 'For the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and the Reduction of All Armed Forces and All Armaments,' an extimated 140,000 (plus or minus 10,000) people died as a result of the A-bomb between August 6, 1945, and the end of December that year.
The atomic bomb dropped at 8:15 a.m., August 6, 1945, exploded at an altitude of approximately 580 meters over the city of Hiroshima. It emitted heat rays, blast, and radiation. In the vicinity of the hypocenter, heat from the bomb raised surface temperatures to 3,000 to 4,000 degrees C. and generated a blast that bkew 440 meters per second (aoubt 984 miles per hour). Simultaneously, an enormous amount of radiation was emitted. These three forms of energy instantly destroyed the entire city, indiscriminatey taking many precious lives.
Near the point of the Peace Memorial Park, close to the blast hypocenter, is the Memorial Mound. The many bodies that lay strewn in the area near the hypocenter and the bodies pulled out of the river were brought to this site and cremated. Shortly after the end of the war, a vault and a memorial mound were built at the site. In 1955, a permanent vault and mound were built and unclaimed ashes from other sites throughout the city were brought here. It is estimated that the ashes of nearly 70,000 victims lie in the vault, victims whose ashes were unclaimed because the identity of the victims was unknown or because the entire family had perished and there was nobody to claim the ashes.
Innumerable monuments in Hiroshima mourn the loss of those who died in the A-bombing. Monuments have been erected not just in Peace Memorial Park, but in parks throughout the city and alongside roads by neighborhood associations, schools, public offices and companies. Inscriptions on graves conjure memories of 'that day.' Some tell of entire families wiped out.
The former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Halll, as it has stood since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. In front is one of the three rivers that runs through Hiroshima. This site is just down the river from the bridge that was the intended target for the atomic bomb.
This photograph, taken by US Army investigators on November 13, 1945, shows a woman's back and arms disfigured with growths called keloids. These growths hindered the movement of joints and were the cause of great suffering, both physical and emotional.
Each year on the anniversary of the A-bomb explosion, a memorial ceremony is held in front of the cenotaph. The stone crypt in the cenotaph is opened each year and the names of persons who have died in the previous year from bomb related illnesses are added the the register of names kept in the crypt. This photo shows family members crowding around the crypt, hands clasped in prayer, on August 6, 1952. The annual ceremony continues to this day. It is estimated that approximately 340,000 persons were exposed to the A-bomb blast on August 6, 1945. By the end of December, 1945, 140,000 persons had died, either from the blast or from radiation illness. On August 6, 2004, the number of names of victims enshrined in the Cenotaph was 237,062, having swollen to that number over time because of the slow development of some forms of radiation caused illnesses, such as some forms of cancer. (This photograph, now in the Peace Memorial Museum, was provided courtesy of the Chugoku Shimbun ne
On August 6, 1945, at 8:15 am, the first atomic bomb in history exploded approximately 600 meters above and 160 meters to the southeast of the Hiroshima Prefecture Industrial Promotion Hall. Because the blast was almost directly above the building, some of the walls remained standing, as did the iron structure of the dome at the top of the building. After many years of controversy, in 1966, the Hiroshima City Council passed a resolution calling for the preservation of the ruins in perpetuity, as a reminder of the tragedy of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. In December, 1996, the A-bomb Dome, as it now is called, was registered on the World Heritage List \"...as a historic witness to the tragedy of human history\'s first use of a nuclear weapon and as a universal peace monument appealing for the abolition of nuclear weapons and the realization of lasting world peace.\"
These origami paper cranes were among those distributed at her funeral. In a story now known worldwide by millions of school children, Sadako Sasaki was exposed to the atomic bomb as an infant of two years age. She appeared to have escaped harm from the exposure, until ten years later, when, in her sixth year in elementary school, she suddenly became ill with leukemia. She was hospitalized and fought for her life for eight months, before succumbing to the leukemia. During her illness, she continually folded paper cranes, believing that they would help her to recover, and the paper cranes have come to be a symbol of both tragedy and hope. Sadako's death gave birth to a movement to erect a monument in the Peace Park to all of the children who perished in the A-bomb explosion.
This model in the Peace Memorial Museum shows the area between and along the Honkawa River and the Motoyasu River. Since the end of the Edo period (1867) it had been the downtown shopping and entertainment district of Hiroshima, as well as an area of historic temples and shrines. -- Because of the threat of air-raids, several streets were being cleared of buildings during the summer of 1945, to create fire lanes. On the morning of August 6, many middle school students lost their lives because they were in this district that morning, working on the demolition of buildings to create the fire lanes. -- At the head of the islnd may be seen the "T" shaped bridge that was the actual target of the atomic bomb dropped by the Enola Gay. On the bank of the river, slightly to the right of that bridge is the copper-roofed building with a dome, the Hiroshima Prefecture Industrial Promotion Hall, that was almost directly beneath the actual point of detonation of the bomb, the hypocenter. The
Photographs of the immediate after-effects of the A-bomb are very rare. This photo was one of perhaps half a dozen or fewer taken by resident Yoshito Matsushige. It was taken at about 11:00 a.m., on the morning of August 6, at the west end of the Miyuki Bridge, Senda-machi, about 2,270 meters from the hypocenter. It shows survivors of the blast seeking aid for burns and other injuries. The photo has been enlarged to a mural sized image in the Peace Memorial Museum.