A-Bomb and Us

Introduction of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Reprinted from “Hiroshima Peace Park Guide”

                Edited by Hiroshima Interpreters for Peace (HIP) 2005

Introduction

1. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
On August 6th, 1945, the city of Hiroshima was completely destroyed by a single
atomic bomb, the first ever used on humankind.
Most of the people here died instantly, since this area is very close to the hypocenter.
After the war, the Peace Memorial Park was constructed here, as an expression of our sincere desire for lasting peace in the world.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park


2.Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (A-bomb Museum)
 The East Building mainly features Hiroshima’s history before and after the A-bomb.The relics of the victims and A-bomb artifacts are displayed in the West Building.
We believe that everybody should know the reasons and history behind choosing Hiroshima as the first city to be A-bombed. This helps us to convey how massively destructive and horrible nuclear weapons are, and how precious peace is.
This is why this East Building was opened.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park 
  A-bomb Museum


3. Peace Boulevard (Heiwa Odori)
Before World War II, this area was a residential neighborhood.
Towards the end of the war, many of Japan’s cities were subjected to widespread incendiary bombing almost every day.
Ordinary people were called upon to demolish houses and other buildings, to create firebreaks, which would prevent the spread of fires and secure evacuation routes.
This was known as the emergency demolition operation.
On the day of the A-bombing, people throughout the city had been mobilized for this work. Many 12 and 13 year-olds were also required to join in this effort.
As this area was very close to the hypocenter, the A-bomb killed most of those working here, including the school children.

Peace Boulevard
 Peace Boulevard


4. Memorial Monument for the A-bomb Victims of Hiroshima Secondary Middle School
Both first and second year students were mobilized to the work of demolition of houses. However, the schedule of the bombing day of our second year students was suddenly changed, and we went to sweet potato field on the East Military Parade Ground to pull weeds.
We were exposed to the A-bomb there. Although we were wounded, we could survive.
In contrast, all 300 of first year students, who were working in the center of the city were killed. This monument was dedicated to the victims at the seventeenth anniversary of their death in August, 1961.

A-Bomb Monument for nichu-students
A-Bomb Monument for nichu-students


5.Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims (Memorial Monument for Hiroshima, City of Peace)
Its shape is derived from the design of an ancient Japanese house, and
symbolizes our hope that the souls who rest here will be sheltered from the elements.
The stone chest under the cenotaph contains a register of those who have died since 1945, and who were exposed to the effects of the A-bomb.
As of August 2005, approximately 240,000 names have been recorded here.
It also contains the names of some foreign nationals, including Koreans and American prisoners of war.
The inscription on the front of the stone chest reads: “Let All the Souls Here Rest in Peace;
For We Shall Not Repeat the Evil.”
It is our hope that people everywhere will come to embrace the spirit of these words.

Memorial monument of A-Bomb's Hiroshima 
Memorial monument of A-Bomb's Hiroshima  


6.Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims
The Japanese government built the hall, so that our nation would remember and mourn the solemn sacrifice of the atomic bomb victims, and continue to pray for eternal peace.
It plays an important part in conveying the tragedy of the A-bombing to all the world, and in communicating the harsh reality of our history to future generations.
Can you see that monument over there? It’s a clock, with its hands pointing to 8:15 in the morning. Around the monument are piles of rubble, including roof tiles damaged at the time of the bombing. These were excavated when the hall was being built.
Inside the building, you can visit the Hall of Remembrance. It contains a mosaic, which depicts the city as seen from the hypocenter immediately after the A-bomb fell.
There are 140, 000 tiles in the mosaic, the same as the number of people estimated to have died by the end of 1945.
The hall also has a research library, which is open to the public.
It houses a collection of over 100,000 memoirs written by A-bomb survivors.
You can also view video testimonies, together with photographs and films made both before and after the bomb fell.

Peace Memorial Hall
Peace Memorial Hall


7.Children’s Peace Monument (Tower of a Thousand Cranes)   

This monument is dedicated to all the children who died as a result of the A-bombing.
This monument was erected because of a young girl called Sadako Sasaki.
Let me tell you a little about Sadako.
She was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. She was at her home, about 1.6 km (approx. 1 mile) from the hypocenter. Miraculously, she escaped injury and continued to live as a healthy little girl.
Sadako was very popular and active at school. She was an outstanding runner and was always an anchor in the relay race on school sports day.
However, ten years after the A-bomb, when she was 12 years old, she developed acute leukemia and was admitted to the Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital.
In those days, modern medical treatment was not available, so it was almost impossible to save patients suffering from leukemia. People who developed this illness usually didn’t live for more than a year.
Sadako may have known that she had a very serious illness.
But she had faith in the popular belief that folding a thousand paper cranes will make your wishes come true. Even when she was in terrible pain, she folded more and more of them, hoping that she would get well.
Sadako died peacefully about 8 months after the onset of leukemia.
Her paper cranes are displayed in the museum.
Sadako’s classmates, who had comforted her during her last days, grieved over her death.
In those days, many children just like Sadako died from diseases caused by the A-bomb.
Sadako’s classmates wanted to do something for her and for these other children. That’s why they decided to put up this monument.
The children embarked on a fund-raising campaign, which was supported by the entire nation.
People wrote books and made films about Sadako’s paper cranes, and gradually her story spread throughout the world.
They were made by school children from all over Japan and people from other countries, too. As they folded them, they prayed for peace with all their heart.
The paper cranes, together with this monument, have become a symbol of peace.
Can you see the inscription here?
It says, "This is our cry, this is our prayer, for building peace in the world."

Children's Peace Monument
Children's Peace Monument


8.Memory Tower for Mobilized Students
Boys and girls aged between 12 and 17 were required to work. The 12 and 13 year olds had to undertake building demolition and farm work, and the older children were employed in munitions factories.
On that terrible day, about 8,400 students were demolishing buildings within the city to make firebreaks. Nearly 6,300 of them were killed by the A-bomb.
Their families and friends built this tower in 1967, to comfort the souls of those who perished.
Please look at this copper plate on the back of the monument. The names of 343 schools (including our Hiroshima Secondary Middle School) are carved here, the schools attended by all the mobilized students throughout Japan who perished during the war.
There were about 3.4 million mobilized students in Japan. More than 10,000 of these students died in the war and at least 60% of these were from Hiroshima."

The Students' Memory Tower
The Students' Memory Tower

The School Name List
The School Name List


9.A-Bomb Dome
The building used to be the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, which was opened in 1915.
It was designed by a Czech architect called John Letzel.
Art exhibitions were also held here and it became a focal point for people interested in art, literature and theater.
It was a place close to the hearts of the citizens of Hiroshima.
As the tide of war turned sharply against Japan, government departments and other agencies set up offices here.
This building stood a mere 160m (approx. 500ft) northwest of the hypocenter, and so it was heavily damaged by the blast and heat rays.
The inside of the building was burned out completely.
However, the central part of the building miraculously remained standing, because the blast came from almost directly above.
Hiroshima City was burnt to the ground, and the dome-shaped roof of this building stood out amidst all the devastation.
So it became a landmark where people left messages, hoping that they would be able to find their family members.
As the roof was dome-shaped, this building soon became known as the “A-Bomb Dome.”
After the war, there were two opposing points of view about the A-Bomb Dome. Some people said it should be preserved as a symbol of “No More Hiroshimas.” Others said it should be destroyed immediately, because they thought it was very dangerous; and furthermore, it evoked painful memories.
Finally, there was a public outcry to save the A-Bomb Dome, so that people would never forget the tragedy of the A-bombing. So in 1966, Hiroshima City decided to preserve it for all time.
Preservation work was carried out in 1967, 1989 and 2002, funded by donations not only from Japan but from all over the world.
In 1996, the A-Bomb Dome was added to the World Heritage List.
There are only two World Heritage sites dating from World WarU.
One is the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in southern Poland and the other is Hiroshima’s A-Bomb Dome.

A-Bomb Dome
A-Bomb Dome

A-Bomb Dome
A-Bomb Dome

   


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