I would say the vast majority of humans know what happened back during World War II to the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Most people’s mums have at some point probably jokingly told them to tidy their rooms as it looks like “Hiroshima in here”. But the real life story isn’t all that funny.
My first stop on the Hiroshima memorial route was the Atomic Bomb Domb. It is basically a building whose structure survived the atomic bomb blast and still stands to this day. There are flowers planted all around it, and it is just crazy to think how this exact spot would have been a pile of ash and debris 73 years ago.
In the peace park itself they have various statues and memorial pieces dedicated to the bombing victims. They have a memorial flame and a pond which has a big statue at the end and there were men in suits there bowing whilst people took photos of them – I am unsure as to whether they were relatives of survivors or governmental members, but it looked quite official.
I don’t know about everyone else, but I do have a morbid curiousity when it comes to awful events like this, I find them horribly tragic yet fascinating. Visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was very interesting and saddening at the same time. When you enter the first exhibition they have a projection onto a flat model showing the exact events of that day pm August 6th 1945 and the aftermath of the bombing, it truly was devastating.
Walking around they have information about nuclear weapons and the sheer devastation they can cause. One of the main aims of the museum is to stop nuclear weapons from ever being used again, which I am wholeheartedly in agreement with. They have photos of victims who have suffered severe burns the likes of which you cannot imagine, nor understand how they initially survived such horrific injuries. Although it did say that a lot of the initial survivors died shortly afterwards. Many survivors also died years later, of course due to the effects of radiation – cancer being the main resulting illness. A lot of people lost all of their hair from the radiation and babies were born with defects or were stillborn.
The last section of the museum held cases full of objects and clothing from survivors or people who were killed during the inital blast. There were school uniforms from children, a tricycle from a toddler, diaries from school kids with entries that obviously stop the day before that dreaded day.
There was one display case that held lots of extremely tiny origami paper cranes that a little girl – Sadako Sasaki – who was ill with leukemia from the radiation poisoning, folded whilst in hospital. Traditionally it was believed that if one folded 1000 origami cranes, one’s wish would come true, so Sadako folded them from the wrappers of her medication and any other paper bits she could get from other patients, in the hopes that if she folded enough it would make her better. But very sadly, it didn’t work, and she later passed away.
On a slightly happier note, my visit to Hiroshima just happened to coincide with their annual Flower Festival, which has taken place in the peace park every year during Golden Week since 1977 and was inspired by the celebrations that followed the baseball team Hiroshima Carp’s first championship in 1975. The park was full with flower displays and pretty structures, not to mention tons of food and drink stalls, craft stalls and little nik nak stalls. There were also stages dotted about where they had bands perform and little performances. I wandered about for a while and got myself some street food, another Taiyaki and a beer and sat to soak up the atmosphere!
Along the river bank they had groups of Japanese girls doing traditional Japanese dances in costumes. Immediately I recognises the dance as the Hula, but assumed it may have been a Japanese style of dance similar to the hula. However later when I looked it up I saw that the Japanese just like the hula! And seeing as it was the flower festival I guess it kind of fit in.
All in all it was a beautiful day visiting the Peace Park and the Flower Festival, and of course if you find yourself ever visiting Hiroshima it is natural that you need to visit the Peace Memorial Museum to truly take in the tragic history of beautiful Hiroshima.