While Japan was still trying to comprehend the devastation that hit Hiroshima on August 6th, the United States struck again three days later, only this time, on Nagasaki.
August 9, 1945.
Another devastating day in history for the Japanese. On August 9th, another B-29, Bock’s Car, dropped the atomic bomb “Fat Man” over the city of Nagasaki. Nagasaki was not chosen as the primary target for this bombing, but fate and weather brought about its undoing. Clocks stopped at 11:02am. This atomic bomb was meant to be much stronger than the one previously dropped on Hiroshima, but the terrain of Nagasaki prevented it from causing so much damage. Yet, the decimation was still unbelievably horrific!
Both Hiroshima’s and Nagasaki’s atomic bomb museums and peace parks prompt visitors to consider the importance of peace. A Japanese couple had once asked us, while roaming around Nagasaki’s peace park, “how does this make you feel?” And to be honest, I couldn’t come up with an immediate answer. There’s something strange about being able to say that you have visited and explored these cities’ heartbreaking pasts. Yet, no matter how many times you visit these memorial sites, I really don’t think that just one word can describe all the mixed feelings and thoughts of actually being there and seeing those things. Is it inappropriate to be excited because you are exploring this piece of devastating history? Are you ashamed or embarrassed because you come from the country that caused this? Are you saddened? Surprised? Uncomfortable?
Often and frequently, while walking around historical areas in Japan, quite a few Japanese share a piece of their life with us and usually how it relates to the sites we are exploring. Many are okay now with opening up and recalling these stories and stories from 1945, and I find them very intriguing, but when it comes to our turn to answer questions or share how we feel, how do you respond?
Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
a small glimpse into the aftermath
Human injuries caused by radiation:
“The radiation released by the explosion of the atomic bomb penetrated human bodies and destroyed cells in various tissues. The extent of injuries depends on the radiation dose, but the vast majority of all people within one kilometer from the hypocenter died. Since this includes people without external injuries, it shows the destructive capacity of radiation. The damages caused by the atomic bomb did not end at the moment of the explosion. The radiation inflicted deep internal injuries that gave rise to various symptoms in subsequent years. The radiation injuries inflicted that summer of 1945 continue to this day to cause suffering.”
appeals of the atomic bomb survivors
The Remembrance Hall
The Remembrance Hall is a quiet sanctuary where people may silently mourn for the victims of the atomic bombing and make prayers for peace.
- Glass Pillars: There are 12 illuminated glass pillars in the Remembrance Hall. The upper sections of these pillars form the outside walls of a sky light, the center portion of which may be opened . The pillars are positioned so that they form a line which points towards the place where the atomic bomb exploded. Their illuminated forms symbolize calls for peace going out to the skies of the world.
- Registry Shelf for the Names of Atomic Bombing Victims: (Height: 9m; No. of shelves: 27; Capacity of each shelf: 9 volumes). The names of the atomic bombing are kept here. In front of the shelf is a low table where people may lay flower arrangements or paper cranes in tribute to those who passed away. The outer structure is made of glass and the steel-framed inner shelves open semi-automatically. The registry volumes are stored in boxes which maintain their pristine condition by keeping them from ultraviolet light and moisture. The number of atomic bomb victims registered by Nagasaki City, as of August 9, 2012, is 158,754 (recorded in 159 volumes).
- Details on the interior of the Remembrance Hall: The concrete of the walls of the Hall were hand-pressed with cedar panels, giving the surface an uneven and varied texture. The cedar rings are meant to convey a sense of history and the passing of time. There are wood benches that line both sides of the hall where you are free to sit.
- Laying flowers in the Remembrance Hall: Any groups can hold flower-layering ceremonies inside the Hall if they wish. We actually witnessed one during one of our visits here.
Nagasaki Peace Park
This park holds many monuments that reach out to inform the world of the horror of the atomic bombing, raising awareness to appeal for the abolition of nuclear weapons, and for the eventual realization of lasting world peace between countries. It is also designated as a zone to pray for world peace and mourn the victims who died in this tragic event.
Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!