Our main interest in visiting Hiroshima over any other city in Japan, was of course, its history. We were interested by this city’s historical importance and being so close we had to take up the opportunity. It was well worth it.
The city has done a wonderful job memorializing the event of August 6, 1945 and all the people who were killed or otherwise affected by the first use of an atomic bomb. They have taken an area of town at the epicentre of the blast and created a park with numerous monuments to specific groups as well as museums and fountains. It was beautiful and moving.
Seeing the images of the city in the days after the bomb were very shocking. Even though I am sure that I had seen these images before in history class or when watching TLC with my family, they had a much more moving impact when you were standing in the city where it all occurred.
On top of that, it was impressive to look around and realise that this gorgeous city is brand new, as everything had to be completely rebuilt in the years following 1945. The ONLY building that remains from before the blast is the famous Atomic Dome (as seen above and below) or Genbaku Dome as it was called prior to the drop of the bomb.
We were both impressed by the entire feeling of the park and its museums. The memorial park and its museums never pushed a feeling of victimhood. Rather, it attempted to present a complete picture of what happened in the time leading up to and following the bombing. There was a lasting message about the importance of remembrance of what happened and what should never happen again in the future.
Relatedly, something that was really important to us since living in Korea was the recognition of those Korean folk who were affected by the blast. Impressively, there was explicit recognition of the Korean people that died that day who were in Hiroshima under coercion because of the colonial rule by Japan.
Hiroshima is now recognized as the “City of Peace” and actively pursues the end to all testing and use of nuclear weapons.