A sobering image of the young girl, Sadako Sasaki, in her coffin at her funeral on October 26, 1955. Although she had appeared to have escaped harm from the A-bomb blast at the age of two, she succumbed to leukemia ten years later. This image is in the Peace Memorial Museum, Hiroshima, courtesy of Shigeo and Masahiro Sasaki.
Approximately 240,000 names of victims who were exposed to the atomic bomb in Hiroshima are written in the Hiroshima Register of Deceased Atomic Bomb Victims. It is stored in the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims (Memorial Monument for Hiroshima, City of Peace). -- A room in the National Peace Memorial Hall houses a searchable registry of the names and, when available, photographs of the victims. The photographs of the victims are displayed serially on this wall panel monitor. The photos include persons of all ages and stations in life; the bomb destroyed lives indiscriminately.
People fleeing the fire, The 6th around 8:40 a.m. 1,300m from the hypocenter, Near the Yokogawa Bridge. The heat rays ignited the wooden bridge. All around the neighborhood was a sea of fire. As the conflagration grew, it generated frequent fire storms that greatly increased the momentum of the flames. The blaze bore down on the fleeing survirors.
Passage from the Memoir of Yasuko Imai (female) â€œThe morning sun shone into the reception room, lighting up a corner where a young man lay facing the wall. He turned his eyes â€“ which probably were losing vision â€“ toward me and mustered his strength. â€˜Nurse,â€™ he called, and I stopped. He said, â€˜I got here before all these other people, canâ€™t the doctor see me yet?â€™ I said, â€˜Iâ€™m sorry for the delay. Iâ€™ll get the doctor to see you right away. You must not give up.â€™ He said, â€˜Excuse me, but please give me water.â€™ He died when he drank a sip of water. I picked up the cup with trembling hands. I could no longer control my feelings. Tears flowed onto my monpe work trousers. How he must have wanted to call out, â€˜Mother!â€™â€
Even far from the hypocenter, dark areas on fabrics burned instantly from the thermal rays and railroad ties burst into flame. At 600 meters, the heat melted together these ceramic roof tiles, indicating an instantaneous flash of temperature well in excess of 1200-1300 degrees Centigrade (perhaps 2200-2400 degrees Fahrenheit), the temperature at which clay roof tiles would begin to melt.
Mrs. Koharu Hirakawa wa a teacher at Hjiyama Elementary School. She was exposed to the bombing while riding on a truck carrying the belongings of her pupils to the evacuation site in the countryside. her body was never found, but her belongings were handed over to her son about 4 months later. (Donated by Mihoko Naito and Akira Hirakawa.) 1,390 meters from the hypocenter, near Sumiyoshi Bridge.
Downtown Hiroshima, engulfed in fire, glowing red, floating in the dark Night of the 6th. -- As seen from Koi, 2,500 meters from the hypocenter. Drawn by Gizo Shimomura.
Immediate effects from the heat and from the force of the blast and of the ensuing fires in Hiroshima. The glass bottles in this image were melted and deformed by the heat of the atomic bomb blast and the heat of the resulting fires, which consumed Hiroshima as an immediate after-effect of the initial explosion. The stacks of coins on the left in the image were fused together by the heat. The temperature required to cause these effects may have been in the vicinity of approximately 1500 degrees Fahrenheit and, obviously, the effect of this heat on human victims was unspeakable. These items are on display in the Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima.
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.
Trapped in a fallen house, this mother and child were surrounded by fire and calling for help. August 6, around 9:00 am, Tanaka-machi, about 1,000 meters from the hypocenter.
These locks of hair belonged to a first year student at Aki Girls High School, Teruko Aotani, who was 13 years old. She was working at a demolition site 900 m from the hypocenter, Koami-cho. She was severely burned over her entire body by the blast, but still managed somehow to return to her home, where her mother cared for her until she died in the morning of the 7th, the day following the blast. Her mother cut these locks of hair, some of which are singed, as a keepsake. (Donated by Masae Himuro.) Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
This aerial photo of Hiroshima was taken on August 9, 1945. (Use the magnifying glass tool in the left of the tool bar to enlarge the photo.) The legend in the upper right provides the key for the graphic colors -- buildings in the area in red were totally collapsed and burned, those in the pink area were totally collapsed, those in the yellow area were half collapsed and burned / irreparably damaged. The area of irreparable damage extended out as far as 4 kilometers and beyond. Between the blast damage and the ensuing fires, the devastation of Hiroshima was essentially total.
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.
This wooden sandal (geta) belonged to a 13-year old girl, Miyoko, who was a first year student at First Municipal Girls High School. Like Teruko Aotani, she was exposed to the atomic bomb blast at a demolition work site. Her body was never found, but her mother found this sandal two months after the explosion and recognized immediately as one having belonged to Miyoko, because she had made the straps herself, using material from her kimono. Miyoko was 500 m from the hypocenter, Zaimoku-cho (now Nakajima-cho). (Donated by Tomiko Inoue.)
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 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."
The Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Aomic Bomb Victims was erected by the national government in rememberance and mourning of the victims of the atomic bomb explosions at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The hall is built below ground level, with this element above ground. A pool of water, symbolizing the terrible thirst experienced by the victims of the blast, surrounds a circular glass shaft that is a sky light for the interior of the Hall. On the top of the light shaft is a sylized face of a clock, showing forever the time of the explosion in Hiroshima, 8:15 a.m. Around the pool are bits of tile and brick fused by the heat of the explosion, pieces found in the immediate vicinity of the Hall during its construction.
Passage from the Memoir of Sumiko Yoshii (female) â€œThe doctors were overwhelmed. Finally, it was my sisterâ€™s turn. The doctor looked at her and said, â€˜This one is beyond hope.â€™ He applied something that looked like vegetable oil to her burns and went on to the next. Suddenly, my sister said, â€˜Sumi-chan, the doctor just said I was going to die, didnâ€™t he?â€™ My sisterâ€™s voice gradually weakened and finally stopped. Then she said quietly, â€˜Thereâ€™s a soft breeze. It feels good.â€™ Then, suddenly, as if slipping into sleep, she murmured, â€˜ Ah! I hear the sacred voices of heaven.â€™ So began her eternal slumber.â€
Shinichi Tetsutani (then 3 years and 11 months) loved to ride this tricycle. That morning, he was riding in front of his house when, in a sudden flash, he and his tricycle were badly burned. He died that night. His father felt he was too young to be buried in a lonely grave away from home, and thinking he could still play with the tricycle, he buried Shinichi with the tricycle in the backyard. -- In the summer of 1985, forty years later, his father dug up Shinichi's remains and transferred them to the family grave. -- This tricycle and helmet, after sleeping for 40 years in the backyard with Shinichi, were donated to the Peace Memorial Museum. (Donated by Nobuo Tetsutani.) 1500 meters from the hypocenter, Higashi-hakushima-cho.
Sea of flame near the hypocenter, Afternoon of the 6th. -- The scene at the Aioi Bridge, 300 meteres from the hypocenter. Flames totally engulfed the area near the hypocenter and countless victims lay on the ground. Beginning shortly after the blast, the city burned all day and into the night.
This photos shows the frame of the Odamasa Store that had stood on Ebisu-cho, 840 meters from the hypocenter. The steel framework of the building has been completely twisted by the extreme heat of the explosion and the ensuing fires that swept the city. Photographed in mid-August, 1945.
â€œThe Hall of Rememberance - The Hall of Remembrance is provided for recollection of the victims, prayer for the peaceful repose of their souls, and contemplation of peace.â€ -- The Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, and a similar monument in Nagasaki, were founded by the Japanese national government recently. The Hall in Hiroshima was founded in 2002, and is housed in a stunning architectural achievement designed by Kenzo Tange. -- The center contains several elements, including the Hall of Rememberance, a staggering exhibition of the names and photographs of the victims of the explosion, and a library devoted to collecting and preserving memoirs of the victims.
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.
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.