Hiroshima

The memorials for the bombing of Hiroshima are just as spectacular as everyone who’s been say they are, even when the museum was a bit crowded and cramped due to renovations.

The A-Dome, the preserved structure whose dome-like roof somehow remained intact, standing almost alone among the ruin of Hiroshima, is right along the river that runs through the city’s center. It is a striking monument that also serves as a good point of reference for the walls-length panorama of Hiroshima before and after the bombing, as well as in the simulation videos that show the bomb’s path, its point of explosion, and the effects in it had on the city.

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The A-Dome 

Out of all the amazing things in the museum, which included a lot of interactive information about the decisions leading up to the bombing, the bombing itself, the effects of the radiation, and a great portion dedicated to promoting and emphasizing the importance of nuclear non-proliferation, the panoramas along the wall probably struck me the most. So much so I didn’t remember take a photo of them.

The first hall after getting to the second floor of the Peace Museum, where the exhibit starts, features a huge panorama of Hiroshima and what the city looked like before the atomic bombing. In the second room, taking up two large walls of a dark space that holds a circular table map of Hiroshima displaying a short simulation of the bombing on a loop (with smaller structures marking landmarks like the A-Dome), is a panorama of the city after the atomic bombing. A lot of the photos composing the wall picture come from the American military.

I thought these wall photos really gave a good impression of the amount of destruction caused by the atomic bomb. It wasn’t just a few buildings or neighborhoods that collapsed — a lot of Hiroshima contained more traditional, wooden Japanese buildings that were destroyed by firestorms created by the bomb. Aside from a few rare structures, like the A-Dome, which were built to withstand earthquakes, the city was leveled. I think we used the word “leveled” a lot, such that it loses its meaning (like awful, which used to mean awe-full, as in full of awe), but the huge photos on these walls really gave the impression of actual, literal, and awful leveling: an entire city leveled, reduced to nothing but rubble.

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A great memorial, and a not-so-great photo. There was always a line of people waiting to leave small tokens and bow their heads before this memorial, and everyone very good about being respectful, both of the memorial and of the others in line. 

Outside of the Peace Museum, there was another memorial that included an eternal flame where people lined up to make a small donation and a prayer. Another monument I found striking was the Children’s Peace Monument, which was built to commemorate a girl who died of leukemia due to radiation from the bomb, as well as the other child victims. It was a poignant reminder of the effects of the atomic bomb’s radioactive damage.

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The Children’s Peace Monument

Overall, despite the heat, I truly appreciated the museum, memorials, and monuments. It felt like a very respectful and powerful work dedicated to future peace.