Peace Memorials: Hiroshima & Nagasaki
While museums are usually a celebration of achievements, some of them exhibit something quite heavy for their visitors. Rather than showcasing something extraordinary, they remind viewers a painful past with a good will that people take it as a lesson learned and hopefully never happen again.
I ended my visits to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum with a heavy heart where I learned the price had paid with wars.
+ Hiroshima + 1945.08.06. 8:15 am
Perhaps Hiroshima is best known for being the first city (and the only two) in history to be attacked by a nuclear weapon. Before the atomic bombing, Hiroshima was a major urban centre of the Sanyo region of Japan. It is beautifully situated on the Ota River Delta coastline of the Seto Inland Sea with six rivers run through the city centre.
During the World War II, the nuclear weapon was developed as the US government initiated the Manhattan Project. Hiroshima was targeted because at the time the city was a supply and logistic base for the Japanese military, also was a communications centre, a key port for shipping and an assembly area for troops.
When the U.S. Army Air Forces stopped the bomb called “Little Boy” at 8:15 am on 6th August 1945, the destruction was effective. Ninety percent of the city was destroyed and basically led to an end of the World War II. After Japan surrendered, the nation picked up the pieces and rebuilt the entire city from the shambles. Today, 70 years after the attack, the once devastated city has been restored to a thriving modern metropolis of 1.2 million people. Yet it doesn’t mean the painful past has been forgotten. Once we got off the tram at the Genbaku-Dome-Mae Station (the Atomic Bomb Dome), we were walking on the Aioi Bridge. Many thought that the Atomic Bomb Dome was the hypocenter of the bombing, but it was not the case. In fact, the original target was the Aioi Bridge, an unusual T-shaped bridge that straddles across the Ota River, as it was an outstanding target for the air force to easily recognise from the air. In the end, the bomb exploded directly over the nearby Shima Hospital and the Atomic Bomb Dome, which was the only structure that left standing and is now a landmark, and a World UNESCO Heritage Site. The building was built in 1915 as the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. While the force of the blast came from almost directly above the dome. It survived from collapsing like the surrounding structures. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was built in the ground zero as a memorial of the people who were killed and suffered in the incident.
Monuments in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park:
Atomic Bomb Dome
Monument in Memory of the Korean Victims of the Atomic Bomb
Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound
Peace Clock Tower
Children’s Peace Monument
Cenotaph of the Atomic Bomb Victims
Hiroshima Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims
Please visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on the other side of the park as it recorded the history and the aftermath of the bombing. I was not prepared for the visit and the images and information there was a brutal realisation of how destructive war is.
For some shocking photos and exhibits of the museum, you are welcome to visit: http://wp.me/p5Lw9a-1DJ
+Nagasaki+ 1945.08.09. 11:02 am
While Hiroshima was in chaos after the attack, the second (and currently the last) atomic bombs exploded after merely three days. As there was no indication of Japan surrendering, the Allied decided to proceed with dropping another bomb. Kokura, where one of Japan’s largest munition plants was at that time, was the next target. It was eventually spared from the attack due to poor vision over thick clouds; and Nagasaki, a major seaport and a historical city in southern Japan, became the next target.
The name, Nagasaki, means “long cape”. The city is located in the north-west corner of Kyushu with beautiful harbours. I would later introduce some amazing sites in the city, but the first day we arrived we took the city tram and then walked up to the Hypocenter from the Hamaguchimachi Station – where the “Fat Man” was dropped by the U.S. Airforce at 11:02 am on 9th August 1945.
Compared to the Hiroshima Memorial Park, the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, memorials and peace park in Nagasaki is smaller in scale and much less crowded. Somehow the serenity gave me chills as we were walking through the green, knowing that it was the centre where a bomb exploded mid-air over 70 years ago and killed ten thousands of people.
Monuments in Nagasaki
Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims
Nagasaki Peace Park
Peace Statue and Fountain of Peace
Peace Memorial Hall
I do hope the exhibit and horrific photos in the museums would remind people the importance of lasting peace and the abolition of such weapons.
For more picture of my visit to Nagasaki, you are welcome to visit: http://wp.me/p5Lw9a-1DJ
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Peace Memorials: Hiroshima & Nagasaki