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.
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.)
The plaque at the site of the Childrenâ€™s Peace Monument reads, â€œThis monument stands in memory of all children who died as a result of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The monument was originally inspired by the death of Sadako Sasaki, who was exposed to radiation from the atomic bomb at the age of two. Ten years later Sadako developed leukemia that ultimately ended her life. Sadakoâ€™s untimely death compelled her classmates to begin a call for the construction of a monument for all children who died due to the atomic bomb. Built with contributions from more than 3,200 schools in Japan and donors in nine countries, the Childrenâ€™s Peace Monument was unveiled on May 5, 1958.â€
The cenotaph at the heart of the Peace Memorial Park contains this stone chest. The stone chest contains a registry of the names of the known victims of the A-bomb blast. At each annual memorial service, the names of those who have passed away in the preceding year from the effects of the blast or from radiation-caused disease are added to the registry. On August 6, 2001, the list included the names of 221,893 victims who had been identified by relatives. Including other victims who were never identified, it is estimated that the death toll from the A-bomb at Hiroshima now stands at about 240,000 persons. - The cenotaph was designed by architect Kenzo Tange, then a professor at the University of Tokyo. The form of the cenotaph suggests the form of the roof of an ancient form of a house (see image ecasia000870), providing symbolic shelter for the souls of the victims. The inscription on the monument reads, "Let all the souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil."
School children leaving paper cranes that they have folded at the memorial.
Detail of the memorial to the children who perished in the atomic blast on August 6, 1945, showing the statue at the memorial and strings of paper cranes left by school children visiting the memorial.
At the moment of the atomic bomb explosion in Nagasaki, Koji Shirabe, a first-year medical student at Nagasaki Medical College, was at the college anatomy laboratory. He was wearing a pair of trousers given to him by his cousin. He was reduced to a skeleton by the fires following the blast and was able to be identified only because of this unburned portion of the trousers, which still carried the name of his cousin, Yamamoto. (Donated by Junko Shirabe)
Flowers and paper cranes left at the memorial.
Article from the New York Times, June 20, 2005, about articles written in September, 1945, by American correspondent George Weller. In the articles Mr. Weller described what he witnessed in Nagasaki shortly after the end of the war. The articles were censored by Douglas McArthur's censorship office and have only recently, 2005, finally been published. Click above to read the text of the New York Times article.
Artistâ€™s explanation: â€œAfter noon on the 6th, crowds of people were walking through the fire, torn and exhausted, toppling over. -- Evening of the 6th, the ground at her feet burning, a woman holding a dead baby was burned to death still standing. Night of the 6th, many people trapped under rubble were calling for help, then were consumed by fire and burned to death. -- Morning of the 9th, a dead body floating in the river; swollen and skinned, white eyeball dangling out, tongue protruding; the only thing the body wore was something resembling hair around the neck.â€ -- The scenes depicted in this image were 180 â€“ 3600 meters from the hypocenter, Dambara-ohata-cho, Kawara-machi, Matsubara-cho, Oau 4-chome, and occurred in the period, August 6 â€“ 9, 1945. The artist, Shoichi Furukawa, was 32 at the time of the bombing, 63 when he drew this picture.
In a chapter of Japanese history that has only recently begun to be discussed openly, Japan colonized Korea in the decades leading up to the Second World War. Before and during the war, many Koreans were brought to Japan, many of them as conscripted laborers. At the time of the A-bomb explosion in Hiroshima, there were many Koreans in Hiroshima and it is estimated that as many as 20,000 Koreans may have died in the explosion. Given the enmity between the Japanese and the Koreans, and what some would label a prejudice against Korean nationals, the Japanese perhaps did not initially acknowledge fully the loss of Korean lives at Hiroshima. The plaque in this photo, at the monument erected on the edge of the Peace Memorial Park in 1970, describes the plight of the Korean victims.
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€
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."
On August 6, 1952, seven years after the bombing of Hiroshima, five war orphans unveiled the cenotaph for the victims of the A-bomb blast. It is known as the Memorial Monument for Hiroshima, City of Peace. Approximately 1,000 persons attended the unveiling ceremony. Each year, on August 6, the memorial service is held in front of this monument located in the Peace Memorial Park. In this photo from 1952, one can still see private houses that had been rebuilt after the war in the area that is now the Peace Park.
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.
Near the A-Bomb Dome, seen in the background here, is a memorial to children who perished in the blast. A number of middle- and high-school students were working as volunteers in factories or clearing fire lanes in the the city on the morning of the bomb blast.
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.
Because of the summer heat, it was crucial to cremate the bodies of victims quickly, although it was difficult because of the enormous number of bodies. Temporary cremation sites were set up throughout the city to cremate the bodies that were being brought continuously. In this photo we can see the bodies being piled one upon another with firewood to burn the bodies.
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.
Strings of paper cranes left at the Memorial Mound in the Peace Memorial Park.
Passage from the Memoir of Tamiko Tsunematsu (female) -- â€œThe flames licked closer and closer, but my mother and I were not able to save either of them. [My sister called out,] â€˜Mother, Tami-chan, hurry and get away. I will die here.â€™ Right after she said those words, my sister seemed to lose consciousness. â€˜Rei-chan, Iâ€™m sorry. Forgive me, forgive me!,â€™ I sobbed. As I walked away I looked back, calling out â€˜Forgive me, forgive me!â€™ I felt as if I would go mad. Mother and I held hands tightly. Then we looked back at our home neighborhood and put our hands together in prayer. The whole of our neighborhood was up in flames all around.â€
The first wave of the horrendous toll taken by the atomic bomb explosion was, of course, the concussion of the explosion and unearthly intensity of the heat of the explosion. These immediate effects were followed months and years later by illnesses resulting from exposure to radioactivity, such as the death of Sadako Sasaki, who succumbed to leukemia ten years later. In this image we see the unimaginable horror of the burns resulting from the blast, which generated heat rays so intense that they charred the patterns of fabrics on to victims' skin.
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.
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.