This watch is on display in the Peace Memorial Museum at Hiroshima. It is one of a number of objects that speak silently and powerfully of the tragedy of August 6, 1945. The watch stopped at the instant of the explosion, 8:15 a.m. The watch belonged to Mr. Kengo Nikawa, who was exposed to the bomb on his way to assigned work on a demolition site in the center of the city. He was 1640 meters away from the hypocenter -- the point of ground zero -- at the time of the explosion and suffered severe burns. He died on August 22. (Donated by Kazuo Nikawa.)
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 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
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