4. Hiroshima in Ruins

This is a human being?
Look how the atom bomb changed it.
Flesh swells fearfully.
All men and women take one shape.
The voice that trickles from swollen lips on the festering, charred-black face whispers the thin words,
“Please help me.”
This, this is a human being.
This is the face of a human being.

With a blinding flash, the bomb detonated at 8.15 a.m., 6th August 1945, approximately 600 metres above the city centre. The heat rays and blast burned and crushed nearly all buildings within two kilometres of the hypocentre, taking thousands of lives. Those who managed to survive, their burned and bloodied clothes hanging in tatters, clambered over the rubble to flee the city.

“In an instant, the city was almost entirely destroyed; thousands of precious lives were lost. Junior high school girls and boys were mobilised to help demolish buildings for fire lanes. Most were never identified except by the belongings they left at their worksites, their bodies or ashes never returned to their families. Most of the belongings displayed here were found by family members who, worried for their safety, went searching through the burnt-out ruins. Each of these items embodies human pain, grief, or anger, and silently admonishes us never again to allow such a tragedy.”

This section takes up much of the museum, and is very important in the museum’s narrative of the horror of the atomic bomb and the need for its eradication. There is a charred lunchbox, tattered uniforms, bits of buildings destroyed by the blast, glass bottles melted and fused together, a haunting diorama with wax figures of atomic bomb victims, a model panorama of the city after the bomb, a human shadow on a stone wall… The list of tragedies goes on.

It is clear that the museum wants to show us just how awful the suffering caused by atomic bombing is to its victims, in order to shock the world into never using them again. The message is reinforced by the use of real objects that experienced the blast, which visitors are allowed to handle. The diorama, featuring children with melting faces, is particularly disturbing.

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One Response to “4. Hiroshima in Ruins”

  1. Anne Says:

    very very sad and moving i so want to goto Hiroshima and Nagasaki cos it sufferd too thise is one place ill be visiting iv read about the museum and seen photos and videos of it its heartbraking and the wax figures of those poor poor survivors really choked me ill know when i go ill be reaching for the tissues butwe need to learn from the horrors fo thise museum war is so so wrong its the inniconts that suffer like the pepole these figures portray once normal pepole going about their day to day life adorable cute kids getting ready for school or playing in the sunshine their skin gently warmed by natures rays looking foward to a carefree day their main worry was the false alarms of the sirenes then in a second their lives turned upside down and the once quiet town of Hiroshima and Nagasaki made into hell on earth pepoel screaming in agony looking for their loved ones survivors turned into zombies clambring over the rubble in a daze just too horrific to imagin and so so heart breaking

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