I had a big day in Hiroshima and Miyajima today.
I started off with a trip to what they call “The A-Bomb Dome.” (The Genbaku Dome if you want to say it in Japanese.) It’s a famous building that was still standing after the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Other buildings were left standing, too, but they were all demolished later on. This one was preserved in spite of some protests that the city should move on and clear the site.
It’s a very moving site. It’s one of those things everyone should see. I took photos, so maybe you can get a feel for the place.
As I came to the site, I took this shot of the exterior:
Walking around the outside of the building:
More exterior shots:
Some photos of the interior of the building:
There are a bunch of shrines and memorials around the Peace Park area. There’s even one for conscripted Korean and Chinese laborers who died in the blast working for the Japanese against their will.
Hiroshima Peace Memorial, Shrine, and Museum
Moving across the river towards the Peace Park, two last looks at the Genbaku Dome:
I also had a look at the main memorial in front of the Peace Museum.
Approaching the memorial flame:
Getting closer in:
Zooming in a bit more:
Better shot of the memorial flame:
Memorial Shrine from the pond side:
The Shrine is designed so that as you approach it, you can see the Genbaku Dome:
I moved on to the Peace Museum. I find it really hard to put my feelings about this into words. The donated items on display underlined the horror of the bombing. Many of the items were things like “School Uniform of ____-san, who survived the blast but died 2 days later,” or “____-san was never found, but this shredded uniform of his was.” I think the part that hit the hardest were the pictures of the kids who died so horribly.
If you haven’t read it, you should read Hiroshima by John Hershey.
The students from a girls’ junior high school were downtown with some other students helping clear out a demolished area, when they were hit by the blast. It was all very sad, and very horrible.
There were a lot of torn clothes on display– they were torn because they were blown off of the people wearing them. The clothes were found, but the often people never were.
There were also stories about the people who weren’t lucky enough to die right away, but instead received lethal doses of radiation and died soon after. I’ll spare you the details, but they were pretty horrendous.
After I finished visiting the museum, I walked around a bit, and then had lunch, since I had skipped breakfast in anticipation of the museum. (Life does go on.)
I think that every person who can should come to Hiroshima and see this. It’s the sort of thing that changes the way you see the world.
I think this is a good spot to wrap up this post. The Miyajima content will get its own post.