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€
In this view from the Peace Memorial Museum, in the middle distance we see the Cenotaph, the memorial to the victims of the atomic bomb, and in the distance beyond it, the Atomic-bomb Dome. The buildings of the reborn city of Hiroshima push in around the Peace Park, perhaps encroaching somewhat but perhaps also serving as a celebration of the resurgence of the city in the aftermath of the atomic attack. Very striking and perhaps seemingly incongruous are the â€œHâ€ shaped structures to the right behind the Atomic-bomb Dome in this view â€“ these are the light stanchions of Hiroshima Stadium, the home of the Hiroshima Carp baseball team, a major league team of the Central League. The stadium is just across the street from the northern entrance to the Peace Park and is perhaps two hundred yards from the Atomic-bomb Dome.
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.
The injuries inflicted by the atomic bomb appeared to be healing by the end of 1945, but a high percentage of those who seemed to be recovering later fell victim to a vast array of aftereffects, including keloid scars, leukemia and other cancers. Since 1946, thousands of people have passed away each year, and the pain and anxiety of many survivors continue.
Within the protection of the monument rising above them are several objects, including a bell, a golden crane, and an inscription carved on block of stone. The golden crane is on the end of the pull for the bell and visitors may grasp it to ring the bell as a prayer for peace. The bell is inscribed with two phrases, â€œA Thousand Paper Cranesâ€ and â€œPeace on the Earth and in the Heavens,â€ written in the handwriting of Dr. Hideki Yukawa, Nobel Laureate in Physics. Beneath the bell is the block of stone bearing a carved inscription that reads, â€œThis is our cry. This is our prayer. For building peace in this world.â€
Children polishing shoes in front of Hiroshima station after the war -- "During the final stages of the war over 20,000 of Hiroshima's children were evacuated in groups to the countryside to protect them from air raids. Theri lives were saved, but many lost their entire families to the A-bomb. There 'A-bomb orphans' were variously estimated to number betweeen 2,000 and 6,500. Residential facilities were set up and attempts were made to care for them, but the sorrow of losing both parents could not be healed."
This PDF document presents the contents of a four page article from LIFE Magazine, September 17, 1945, "Effects of the Atomic Bomb." The seven photographs in this LIFE article were almost certainly the first images seen by the American public of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The photographs show exclusively the devastation of property, although the brief article does describe what we now recognize to have been the effects of radiation sickness and the article does acknowledge the known death toll, as of early September, 1945. Click above, on the phrase, "Access this item," to view the contents of the article from LIFE Magazine, presented here in PDF format.
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.
Detail, rock groups at east end of the garden at Ryoanji, viewed looking to the south-southeast from the eastern end of the veranda of the main building. Early morning, clear day in late spring.
Information provided by the museum label states, "The religion of Jainism has existed since the fifth century B.C. Like other faiths in India, it teaches that an ultimate goal in life is to seek release from continual rebirth; it also, however, stresses individual responsibility in this process. Jainism honors a large pantheon of deities and supportive beings, many of which are borrowed from Hinduism and Buddhism. "The image of Sarasvati, a goddess respected by both Hindus and Jains, once stood in a Jain temple in India. She sits displaying vara mudra (the gesture of charity) with her left hand. In her right hand she carries a book; in her upper-left and right hands she holds a festooned noose and an elephant goad, attributes normally associated with the elephant-headed god Ganesha. He and Saravati are usually invoked together before beginning literary enterprises." -- India, Karnataka -- Gray chloritic schist -- Coll. Art Institute of Chicago (James W. and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection, 224.1997)
Information provided by the museum label states, "In Tibet, the religious teacher (lama or guru) has a special significance. The great Fifth Dalai Lama, sitting in a classic pose of meditation, is honored in this three-dimensional portrait. He is an important figure in Tibetan history because of the key role he played in consolidating spiritual and political rule in the country during the 17th century. He is famous for building the Potala Palace, which towers over the capital city of Lhasa, and for establishing close diplomatic relations with the Manchu court of China. During his lifetime, he was publicly recognized as an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.Ã¢â‚¬ -- Gilt bronze -- Coll. Art Institute of Chicago (Kate S. Buckingham Endowment, 1996.31)
Exterior of Ginkakuji, viewed across the garden pond. Note the framing of the pavilion by shape of the pine tree and note also the size and shape of the bushes in the foreground -- compare these elements to image I.D. No. ecasia000924, photographed a quarter of a century earlier.
Standing near the first caves, one sees a series of caves carved out of the rocky hilllside. Some caves functioned as viharas or monasteries, while others were built as chaityas or prayer halls.
Section of the moss garden on the west side of the hojo, photo taken in 1972. Sense of refreshing cool, moist environment, in contrast to the brilliant summer sun ten feet away in the rock garden. Note the tree root here and compare to the photo from 2005, in which the trees have been removed, but the tree root remains in the lower foreground -- the moss garden, as seen in image ecasia000903, has changed and remained the same.
The pillars inside this cave display many figures of Buddhist monks as bodhisattvas and buddhas. These monks wear the traditional monastic robe covering one shoulder. The bodhisattva holds the lotus, symbol of enlightenment.
View of east end of the garden at Ryoanji, wall on south side of the garden, and weeping cherry tree in blossom on other side of wall. Petals of fallen blossoms gather on roof of wall and in garden on south side. May, 1998.
Reflection of the first floor of the Golden Pavilion in the garden pond. The Golden Pavilion was built by Yoshimitsu, 3rd Ashikaga shogun, in the late 1300s, when he retired from the office of shogun. The pond was part of an earlier, Heian period estate.
Yet another quiet day at the famous rock garden at Ryoanji...
At this shrine, couples pray to the saint, Zar Zari Zar Baksh, for his help in conceiving a healthy child. When the child is old enough, the couples promise tol return and make an offering of thanksgiving. This ritual consists of distributing sweetbreads equal in weight to that of the child. To determine this weight, two metal crates are balanced by a rope hanging over the limb of a large tree in the courtyard of the dargah. Often travelling from great distances, families dress in their finest clothes and bring many family members to share in this festive celebratory ritual.
As described by the museum label,"This sculpture represents the Esoteric Buddhist deity Hevajra dancing and embracing his spouse, Nairatmya, whose name means 'No-soul.' Paired male and female deities usually symbolize compassion and wisdom in Vajrayana Buddhism, but in this instance Hevajra himself signifies both. His multiple hands hold various creatures of the universe, including animals, humans, and other gods. It is clear from this iconography that Hevaijra is a deity of all-pervasive, universal power." -- Nepal, Kathmandu Valley -- Gilt bronze and pigments -- Coll. Art Institute of Chicago (James W. and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection, 768.1978)
Older siblings and cousins entertaining the infant while he waits for the weighing to be completed. [For description of the ritual, see cbind0043.]
Family members wait to perform the ritual thanking the saint for helping them to conceive a healthy child.
Every mosque prominently displays a clock. The clock reminds Muslims of the injunction to pray five times daily. This colorfully painted and decorated clock is located on a pillar just in front of the mehrab and notes the subsequent prayer time.
The museum label reads, "Because she is missing both her head and arms, this figure is impossible to identify. She may be Uma, Sarasvati, or Lakshmi, all popular Hindu goddesses in Cambodia. Typical of the Cambodian sytle, the female figure is unadorned except for the lavishly carved details of her sarong." Angkor Vat style Coll. Art Institute of Chicago (James W. and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection, 226.1997)
Kare sansui garden -- dry landscape garden -- located behind the hojo at Shokokuji, Kyoto. With pebbles laid in the bed of the â€œstreamâ€ to represent water, it is a fine example of dry landscape garden. However, the editor does not know the date of this garden, whether it dates from Muromachi, as does Shokokuji, or whether it is a later addition.