Kyoto (Kobe), Japan- An Urban Walkabout
Busan, South Korea- To a Terminal and beyond

Hiroshima, Japan- Peace Memorial

Entering Hiroshima port harbor

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Early on the morning of August 6, 1945, as part of an ongoing effort to shorten the war with Japan and as an alternative to invasion, the United States detonated an atomic bomb approximately 2,000 feet over downtown Hiroshima. Fires and destruction covered a 4+ mile square mile area, and approximately 140,000 people, mostly civilians, died as a direct result, with additional casualties from radiation and other effects. Following a subsequent bombing of Nagasaki, the Japanese surrendered on August 15. 

The people of Hiroshima, to their credit, did not remove all the evidence of the bombing. Instead, they created the Peace Memorial Park as an effort to educate and prevent the future use of such horrific weapons. 

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The A-Bomb Dome is the skeletal ruins of the former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. It is the building closest to the hypocenter of the nuclear bomb that remained at least partially standing. it was left standing as a memorial to the casualties


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The Aioi Bridge in the background was the primary target, but it remained standing after the detonation.

 

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Small local tributes continue to appear.


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Memorial Tower to the Mobilized Students. Young teenagers were used to help protect Hiroshima from attack, including razing buildings, building firebreaks, and supporting workers. Over 6,900 students were killed in the bombing.


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“This monument stands in memory of all children who died as a result of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The monument was originally inspired by the death of Sadako Sasaki, who was exposed to radiation from the atomic bomb at the age of two. Ten years later Sadako developed leukemia that ultimately ended her life. Sadako’s untimely death compelled her classmates to begin a call for the construction of a monument for all children who died due to the atomic bomb. Built with contributions from more than 3,200 schools in Japan and donors in nine countries, the Children’s Peace Monument was unveiled on May 5, 1958. At the top of the nine-meter monument, a bronze statue of a young girl lifts a golden crane entrusted with dreams for a peaceful future. Figures of a boy and a girl are located on the sides of the monument. The inscription on the stone block under the monument reads: “This is our cry. This is our prayer, For building peace in this world.” On the surface of the bell hung inside the monument, the phrases “A Thousand Paper Cranes” and “Peace on the Earth and in the Heavens” are carved in the handwriting of Dr. Hideki Yukawa, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics. The bell and golden crane suspended in the monument are replicas produced in 2003.”


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The Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound is a large, grass-covered knoll that contains the cremated ashes of 70,000 unidentified victims of the bomb.


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Sidenote: Out of respect, I did not photograph inside the large Peace Memorial museum. Once past the crowds and touristy side, the images can be very explicit and heart-breaking. Worth the time and anguish.  

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Hiroshima, Japan
03/29/24

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