The A-bomb Dome
On August 6, 1945, at approximately 8.15 am, the atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, from a B-29 bomber called the Enola Gay.
The bomb was nicknamed 'Little Boy' and when it exploded 580 metres above the city, the effects were catostrophic.
The blast destroyed nearly all the buildings within a 3km radius and immediately resulted in the deaths of 80,000 people. By the end of the year a total of 140,000 people had died from the blast. In total it is estimated that 200,000 people died as a result of the the blast and the effects of radiation exposure.
The A-bomb Dome was built in 1914 and was originally called the Industrial Promotion Hall. This building was almost at the hypocentre of the blast and has been kept as a memorial to the tragic events that occurred. Seeing it for the first time really puts in perspective the true horror of what happened.
On the opposite bank of the Motoyasu-gawa River, is the Peace Memorial Park. One of the most famous memorials here is the Children's Peace Monument. This is a statue of a young girl holding aloft a giant origami crane. The statue was built in memorial of a twelve-year-old called Sasaki Sadako, who developed leukaemia in 1955. In the hope of becoming better, she started to fold origami cranes with the aim of reaching a thousand, but sadly she died before reaching this figure.
Today many children from Japan and all over the world come and leave paper cranes at the memorial .
The main monument is the Memorial Cenotaph and is designed in the style of protective objects found in ancient Japanese burial mounds. There is also a stone coffin underneath the arch, which contains the names of all the victims of the blast.
Next to the Memorial Cenotaph is the Flame of Peace, which will be put out once the last nuclear weapon on earth is destroyed.
The Peace Memorial Museum is also extremely interesting and provides a fascinating insight into the history of Hiroshima, as well as explanations of why the bombing took place and the effects.
There are also many objects and photographs exhibited, which help to dramatically convey the full horror of what happened. As I walked around there were pictures showing the devastation of the blast and objects such as burnt clothes, bottles and a child's bike, which had been melted by the intense heat.
It is hard to believe that less than sixty years ago, Hiroshima had witnessed such terrible events. All that remains of that terrible day is the A-bomb dome, to remind us of what happened. Now a city rebuilt, Hiroshima provides testament to the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. It's definitely worth visiting if you have the opportunity and I found the whole experience deeply moving.
Here is a short film.
The official website for Hiroshima is here.
The website for the Hiroshima Peace Site is here.
You can see all the photos here.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Posted by steve at 3:18 a.m.