The nightmarish wax figures stand petrified among the ruins, faces burnt black, flesh dripping from their bones, the ghastly red glare of the burning city illuminating the apocalyptic landscape. Nearby is a whitewashed concrete wall streaked indelibly with black radioactive rain; the shadow of a child’s foot burnt on to a wooden clog; hideously deformed body parts preserved in alcohol; a greyish nest that on closer examination turns out to be a head of human hair.
Forty years and 40 million visitors after they were first put on display, the exhibits in Hiroshima’s Peace Museum still have an almost pornographic fascination. The relics, the dioramas, the testimonials of the victims of the first atomic bombing fill the visitor, foreign and Japanese alike, with a sense of horror and revulsion that President Harry Truman could never have imagined when he gave the order to unleash “the force from which the sun draws its power”.
For two generations, this museum and the monument-crowded Peace Park, which links it visually with the skeletal dome of the ruined industrial hall, have been the potent icons of the peace movement around the world. They were the images that invaded the mind whenever – from Aldermaston to Greenham Common – the cry went up to Ban The Bomb, to stop the nuclear arms race before the whole planet became one giant Hiroshima.
And for two generations, this is what Japanese have thought of whenever World War II was mentioned – not the invasion of China, not the bombing of Pearl Harbour, not the battle for Okinawa, but the cataclysm that reduced one of their greatest cities to a pile of glowing cinders, and redeemed their country in a nanosecond from bloody aggressor to bloodstained martyr.
Americans are mostly taught that the war ended when the bomb-bay of the Enola Gay opened at 8:15:17 on the morning of August 6, 1945, and a radioactive fireball a kilometre wide incinerated the ancient castle city.
Most Japanese, sustained from their school days by the myths enshrined in Hiroshima, believe that instant was when it began: the obliteration of an innocent city, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians, a crime against humanity.
On both sides of the Pacific, as the build-up begins for the 50th commemoration ceremonies in August, a bitter and painful reassessment is under way, as the former antagonists in the world’s most terrible war strive to lay the ghosts of Hiroshima that still haunt what in the intervening half-century has become its most important alliance. Historians are disinterring long-buried archives; museum curators are re-appraising their exhibits; politicians, journalists and veterans are railing against the collective, and selective, national amnesia.
Nowhere has this debate been more debilitating, more divisive, than in Hiroshima, a city which has built an international name – from Peace Boulevard to Peace Pet-shop and Peace Pinball-parlour – on its victimhood. The clear-sighted courage of the new generation of custodians of its museums, its shrines and its cenotaph is lighting the way for Japan to finally lay to rest the myths of August, to acknowledge the truth about its wartime aggression and atrocities – and, in turn, to be re-admitted to the community of Asian nations which still fears and mistrusts it.
“My God – look at that son-of-a-bitch go!” — Captain Robert Lewis, co-pilot of the Enola Gay.
A SINGLE HEADLINE on a slab of text in the simple, sombre amphitheatre that houses the Peace Museum’s new display tells the story. “The Truth About The Atom Bomb: 1905-1951.” There, in one line, the greatest myth of all is laid to rest: that the Americans, without provocation, from a clear blue sky one August morning dropped a super-weapon nicknamed Little Boy (after former US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt) on a defenceless civilian city.
The sweltering dog days of August are a sacred time on the Japanese calendar. That is when millions of families return to their ancestral villages to light bonfires to guide home the spirits of their forefathers. It is also when Shinto shrines around the country are thronged with grieving old soldiers, their widows and children, commemorating the end of what they call the Greater East Asian War of 1931-1945 – a war in which 3 million Japanese were killed, and as many as 20 million Allied soldiers and Asian civilians.
On August 6 each year, 50,000 Japanese, or thereabouts, make a pilgrimage to Hiroshima for moving ceremonies in which thousands of doves are released at the instant the bomb was dropped, lanterns are floated down the rivers of the delta city and skeins of millions of coloured paper cranes, folded by schoolchildren all over the world, are draped over the monuments in Peace Park.
Many visitors then move on to the Peace Museum, a stark, stilted structure of raw concrete which is the repository of Japan’s collective memory of that day. Eminent foreigners come here, of course, to pay homage to peace – from Nehru to Che Guevara to Pope John Paul II. But mostly, the throng consists of Japanese parents and teachers escorting schoolchildren who gape and squeal in fright at the chamber-of-horrors exhibits.
The emphasis on the macabre is understandable. When it opened in 1955, the museum presented a revisionist view of history: the Americans for years suppressed the truth about the scale of the disaster and its after-effects. The first reporter into Hiroshima, Australian-born Wilfred Burchett – who made his way here from Tokyo carrying a typewriter, a black umbrella and seven days’ food – was branded a liar when he reported a few days after the bombing, “People who were uninjured in the cataclysm are still dying, mysteriously and horribly, from an unknown something which I can only describe as the atomic plague.”
But last year, for the first time, Japanese visitors to the museum saw a side of the war for which none of their bowdlerised textbooks had prepared them – textbooks in which even the word defeat has been sanitised into shusen, the “ending” of the war. After nine years of angry controversy, the curators opened a new East Wing which places Hiroshima in its historical context. It is nicknamed “Aggression Corner”.
Huge photo-montages portray Hiroshima not as a peaceful civilian city, but as the great military base it had been for half a century. They show the Mitsubishi dockyards where Japan’s warships were built, the munitions factories, the airstrips that supported the Second General Headquarters of Emperor Hirohito’s army. The new exhibition pulls few punches about where responsibility for the war – and thus for Hiroshima – really lies. From the sinking of the Russian fleet in 1905 to the conquest of Korea, and the occupation of Manchuria in the name of the pathetic puppet of the Last Emperor, Japan is shown as a ruthless imperial power.
The “surprise attack” on Pearl Harbour; the “harsh working conditions” of Korean slave labourers; even Japan’s greatest wartime atrocity, the Rape of Nanking, is acknowledged – although the English language caption admits bluntly that “up to 300,000 civilians” were massacred, while the Japanese version concedes only that “several tens of thousands” died.
As for the alleged immorality of bombing a population that included civilians, other historians have pointed out that it was Japan (after Spain’s General Franco) that pioneered this form of warfare, when it pulverised the city of Shanghai in 1937. Its own attempt at a weapon of mass destruction – the “poor man’s atom bomb”, as the Japanese military called it – was germ warfare, which killed many thousands of Chinese civilians with bubonic plague and other ghastly diseases.
“Hiroshima,” says the museum’s acting director, Kenji Ohara, who fought for this new perspective, “had always been a great military base. That doesn’t justify the bombing, but we thought as historians we should get the facts straight.” Other revisionists, like Professor Hiroshi Tanaka of Hitotsubashi University near Tokyo, go even further. “Japan deserved the hardships. It was a war Japan started, and Hiroshima was targeted because it was a (military) centre … I think Japanese are slowly coming to look at their past in a more balanced way.”
“It was like Hell – a scene of utter horror, with a playground full of (schoolchildren’s) bodies waiting to be buried.”– a Dr Morito, writing of Honkawa Elementary School.
HIROSHIMA’S MAYOR is master of ceremonies for the August commemorations. For the 50th anniversary of the bombing this year it will, once again, be Takashi Hiraoka, 67, an avuncular former journalist, who calls for a minute’s silence as the flame flickers on the cenotaph. Not an eternal flame, he hastens to correct the visitor: it will be extinguished when the world’s last nuclear weapon is dismantled.
Hiraoka is one of the new realists who are gradually moving into positions of power in Japan. He concedes that World War II was a war of aggression, and that “the bomb would not have been dropped if we had not invaded China”. But he insists that Hiroshima remains a unique example of the horrors of war because of the scale of the killing and the fact that the bomb continues to this day to take its toll, from cancer and other radiation-caused disease.
This is the second great myth of Hiroshima – that in some way it represents a whole new magnitude of warfare. No impartial examination of the statistics supports this view. It is impossible to be exact about numbers. As recently as last year, a mass grave was discovered at Yoshidacho, 35 km north of Hiroshima, where volunteers with picks and shovels exhumed the bones of 400 forgotten victims. Tens of thousands of Korean slave labourers who were in Hiroshima at the time were not even counted in the official records. The two official estimates usually cited are a November 1945 police report which records 78,000 dead, seriously injured, or missing; and an August 1946 count by the city council, which placed the figure at 118,000. The figure commonly used by Japanese historians today is 140,000, plus or minus 10,000.
But even accepting the highest estimate, the nuclear holocaust of Hiroshima is dwarfed alongside other attacks using conventional weapons. During the ferocious battle for Okinawa – widely seen as a dress rehearsal for a mainland invasion – 265,000 people were killed in a few weeks, including one third of the entire civilian population of the island. This is more than the toll for Hiroshima and Nagasaki put together. In the Nanking massacre, according to the 1948 Allied War Crimes Tribunal, 200,000 soldiers and civilians were butchered, many of them raped, beheaded, disembowelled, impaled and castrated by the Imperial Army. In a single night, March 10-11, 1945, General Curtis LeMay’s B29 bombers burned Tokyo at the stake, killing (he claimed) 197,000 people “scorched and boiled and baked to death”.
Admittedly, with conventional warfare most of the victims are dead within a matter of days. But even here – with the fear of the long-term effects of the blast of gene-smashing gamma rays and neutrons that accompanied the explosion – there are myths and misunderstandings. Many of the 186,540 people whose names are inscribed on the cenotaph honour-roll did not die because of the bomb: the name of a hibakusha (someone who was in or near the city that day) will be added to the list, even if he or she dies in a road accident.
Dr Akira Tari, a smart, Western-educated doctor who is chief of internal medicine at the Red Cross Atomic Bomb Survivors’ Hospital, has 170 beds full of ailing hibakusha, and says the hospital is treating more than 100 outpatients every day. “As they get older, more and more cancers are showing up, due to damage to the carcino-suppressor gene,” he says.
Leukaemia and cancers of the lung, liver and thyroid gland, as well as heart and liver disease, are prevalent.
However, long-term studies in which 200,000 descendants of hibakusha have been monitored, have turned up no significant ill-effects. In the aftermath of the bombing, there was a widespread fear that not a blade of grass would grow for 75 years. Today, Hiroshima is a thriving industrial city of 1.1 million and its younger generations, the children and grandchildren of the bomb, are as healthy and long-lived as any other Japanese – though they may suffer prejudice in matters such as marriage.
Finally, if there were anything intrinsically evil about nuclear weapons, why, one might fairly ask, does Japan continue to keep its own nuclear options open? The country is in the process of building up an enormous stockpile of plutonium to feed its out-of-control, fast-breeder reactor program. No-one seriously doubts that it has the technology to turn this into a bomb many times the magnitude of Hiroshima in a matter of months.
Last year, the Mainichi newspaper unearthed what looked like conclusive evidence – in the form of a secret 1969 Foreign Ministry policy paper which declared, duplicitously: “For the time being, we will adopt a policy of not possessing nuclear arms. But we will maintain the economic and technical potential of producing nuclear weapons … we must protect this (potential) from foreign intervention.”
“Let all souls here rest in peace, for we shall not repeat the evil.” — the enigmatic inscription on the cenotaph by Hiroshima University Professor Tadayoshi Saiga.
EVERYONE TALKS about fighting to the last man and the last round, but only the Japanese actually do it.” This from General Sir William Slim, later to become Governor-General of Australia, after leading the 14th Army to the-then greatest land victory of the war, killing 65,000 Japanese soldiers at the battle of Imphal-Kohima, near the India-Burma border.
The samurai creed inflicted on the Imperial Army – and by the army on the civilian population of Japan – was that it is better to commit suicide than surrender. In Okinawa, the invading Allies had seen horrific evidence of that when thousands of Japanese, women and children included, blew themselves up with hand grenades, leapt off cliffs, or died in Kamikaze attacks.
Japanese historians – and a few Western revisionists including former US Interior Secretary Stuart Udall – maintain there was no need to drop the bomb, because Japan was already beaten and on the point of surrendering. On even thinner ice, they argue – ignoring the fact that Germany had surrendered three months earlier – that its use against an Asian country was “racist”.
Says Mayor Hiraoka: “Japan was finished. It had no ships, no tanks, no planes … surrender would have come before the end of the month.” Like many informed Japanese, he believes there was an American imperative to end the war quickly, before Stalin’s troops could invade, perhaps forcing a Korean-style partition of Japan. However, even here, the evidence is that Truman, in fact, welcomed the Red Army’s intervention: “… we will end the war a year sooner now, and think of the kids who won’t be killed”, he wrote after receiving Stalin’s commitment.
Nor is there any convincing proof that Japan’s belated peace feelers were genuine. Japanese civilians had fought with sharpened bamboo stakes, farm implements and scissors during the battle for Okinawa – and were being drilled for the same fanatical defence of the main islands of Japan, scheduled to begin two months later. “The sooner the Americans come the better; 100 million (people will) die proudly,” was the national slogan.
Chalmers Roberts, the distinguished Washington Post journalist, is closer than most living witnesses to the truth of the matter. As well as having reviewed a mass of declassified data in the National Archives, he was directly involved, as a civilian analyst, in assessing intercepted and decoded Japanese military messages.
Based on these assessments, General George Marshall, the army commander, estimated that the US would suffer anything from 500,000 to 1 million casualties in a battle for the main island of Honshu. That does not include Japanese casualties, which other authorities calculate at anything from 2 million to 20 million.
The facts are that after Hiroshima, Japan did not surrender; the prefectural governor ordered people to fight on. Even after Nagasaki was bombed three days later, many Japanese refused to give up. Recently discovered Japanese archives record that military police officers drove around the smouldering ruins of Nagasaki after Emperor Hirohito’s surrender broadcast, denouncing it as a fake, while residents applauded and shouted, “Banzai!”(May the emperor live 10,000 years.)
No history of any war can ever be complete. No account of any event so seminal to our century as the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima can be unequivocal. I have read only eight of the 100-plus books on the subject in forming this assessment.
However, I have seen nothing as simple or forceful as the first of the three explanations for dropping the bomb recorded in the new exhibit at the Peace Museum. It was “to save American lives”, it now acknowledges. It has been left to a future generation of Japanese to decide whether to add “and Japanese lives, too”.
“I must remind you that you caused this disaster yourselves … the punishment given to Hiroshima was only part of the retribution of the Japanese people as a whole for pursuing the doctrine of war.” — Australian commander of the Commonwealth occupation forces Lieutenant-General Sir Horace “Red Robbie” Robertson, Hiroshima memorial ceremony, 1948.
“Anyone who closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present. Whoever refuses to remember the inhumanity is prone to risks of new infection.” — (West) German President Richard von Weizsacker’s speech to the Bundestag in 1985, atoning for the war.
“If we had known they only had two of them we would have fought on. There would have been no surrender.”
Satoru Tominaka is under no illusions that the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved millions of soldiers and civilians – perhaps 2 million on the Japanese side, half a million Americans.
That was the argument Harry Truman’s generals used. What makes it remarkable is that Satoru Tominaka was on the other side: a lieutenant in the Imperial Navy, based just a few kilometres down the road from Hiroshima in the port city of Kure.
Recently retired after a lifetime working around the world for a major Japanese trading company, Tominaka is certainly no born-again pacifist. He pays homage each August at Yasukuni shrine, where many of his fallen classmates are enshrined.
A neat and studious man who enjoys a joke and a jug of Downtown Napoleon shochu (Japanese moonshine) with his wartime buddies, he looks 10 years younger than his 74 years. His memory of that historic day is refreshed by revisiting Kure, the base where he worked half a century ago.
A graduate in economics and law from the University of Kobe, he volunteered for the navy’s accountancy corps in 1943. It was either that or be called up by General Tojo’s army. “No-one from my university wanted to go into the army,” he says. “We thought they were completely mad. They were the ones who started the war.”
Kure, a small city on a river delta on the Inland Sea, is a place steeped in naval history, still second only to Yokohama as the most important base in the country. As a vital naval base, it had been repeatedly firebombed in the weeks leading up to August 6.
Tominaka’s offices were incinerated just after he and his colleagues had finished transferring their records to a series oftunnels burrowed into the hillside. He doesn’t remember seeing the electric flash – the “pika”- but he did hear the “don”, the great thunderclap that opened the atomic age that morning. He looked up and saw a cloud like a giant jellyfish rising over the mountains that sheltered Kure from the blast.
A few days later, crackling over the radio, he listened as the stilted, squeaky voice of Emperor Hirohito told his devastated nation that the war “has not developed in a way necessarily to Japan’s advantage” – and it must “bear the unbearable” and surrender. Two of Tominaka’s friends took their pistols and committed suicide, rather than obey.
“The bombing was a terrible thing, and it took many lives,” he says today. “But I think it was necessary; we would never have surrendered otherwise. After Hiroshima, we said nothing, even though we knew it was a new type of bomb more powerful than anything we had seen before. Then came Nagasaki. We thought Kanazawa would be next … that’s the only reason we surrendered.”
As for Japan’s “war guilt”: “Certainly, as far as South-East Asia is concerned, we were the aggressors. Anyone who says we were not is a fool. Our history books lie about this and try to hide it. The atomic bombing was not something that happened in isolation. You can trace the history of Japanese aggression and militarism back to 1905 when we won the war with Russia. That began 40 years of folly which ended with the bomb.”
Lee Sil Gun should never have been in Hiroshima that August morning. He should never have been in Japan, for that matter.
Lee’s parents migrated from their native Korea in 1905 looking for work: Japanese occupation forces that year took over their country, forcing them and millions of others off their land.
As many as 1 million Koreans crossed the Japan Sea over the four decades of the occupation, hundreds of thousands of them rounded up and deported as slave labour for the Imperial Army, the munitions factories, coal mines and military brothels.
Lee, then 16, was on his way home after travelling to Kobe to sell rice on the black market. The train came to a halt on the outskirts of Hiroshima, and the passengers got out to continue their journey on foot.
“It was like hell,” he says. “We were stumbling over bodies as we walked along the railway line. When we got closer to the centre, there was no-one left alive, just black corpses, heads and arms everywhere.”
A few days later, he developed the symptoms of radiation sickness: persistent diarrhoea, fever, angry red boils. “Fortunately for me, they cleared up,” says Lee, who is now acknowledged as a hibakusha – one of the 300,000-odd survivors of the bomb.
There were 48,000 “foreigners” – mainly ethnic Koreans, but also some Chinese and nationals of South-East Asia – in Hiroshima on August 6, and 30,000 of them were either vapourised instantly, or died lingering deaths from their injuries in the weeks and months that followed.
For these “outsiders”, the fight for recognition and compensation continues half a century after the war.
Initially, the Koreans were not even counted in the official toll, and for 25 years the Government refused to allow a memorial for their dead to be erected in Peace Park.
Lee, who as president of the Council of Atom-Bombed Koreans leads that struggle, is campaigning – for example – for free medical care to foreign victims who live overseas. More importantly, Japan’s 600,000-strong Korean community believes Japan has still not faced up to the fact that it was Japan’s aggression that led to the bombing.
“Unlike the Germans, the Japanese have not yet faced the truth,” he says, “and until they do, they cannot repent, they cannot atone for their sins – and they cannot be trusted by the rest of Asia.”
Lee believes that the “cult of Hiroshima” reinforces the pervasive view of Japan as the victim, not the instigator, of the war. “As well as bringing the schoolchildren here, they should be taken to see the places where the Japanese committed atrocities,” he says. On his short list would be the remains of the infamous Unit 731 near Harbin in China, the “Asian Auschwitz” where thousands of prisoners were killed in gruesome germwarfare experiments; and the memorial to the 200,000 soldiers and civilians robbed, raped, tortured and slaughtered during the Rape of Nanking.
In spite of all that – and in spite of the fact that he was training with a sharpened bamboo pole, and would almost certainly have been killed during any invasion – Lee believes the atom-bombing of Hiroshima was unnecessary.
“Japan was like a squashed insect … they would have surrendered by the end of the month anyway. They were just buying time after the Potsdam ultimatum to ensure that Hirohito remained emperor after the war.”
“I cannot die before my daughter.” Yukiyo Toda, sitting on the tatami-matting floor of her tiny cottage on the outskirts of Hiroshima, puts her arm protectively around Hatsumi’s shoulders.
Toda escaped the holocaust of Hiroshima that August morning – how, she has no idea. Her house was just 800 metres from the hypocentre of the blast … nine out of 10 of the people inside a one-kilometre radius were dead within three months.
But, for the rest of her life, her daughter will carry the stigmata of the withering blast of neutrons she received in her mother’s womb. Hatsumi is microcephalic – her head and her brain are abnormally small – and she is one of the 7,000 so-called “mushroom children” of Hiroshima.
The mother, now aged 75 and a widow, was three months pregnant when the bomb dropped out of a hot summer sky.
“I was sitting on the back veranda, mopping the sweat from my brow, when I looked up and saw a single silver plane, a B29. The next minute there was a great flash, and then an explosion, and then everything went black.”
When she recovered consciousness, she was buried beneath the beams of her wooden house. She dragged herself free of the wreckage to discover “the city had just vanished: where there had been buildings, you could now see the mountains”. Soon, groups of survivors came staggering past. “They had been horribly burnt: their hair was shrivelled, their faces were black, the flesh was dripping off their arms. When someone fell, they just lay there and got trampled on; no-one moved to help them. There were bodies floating down the river like logs.”
Yukiyo Toda survived with a dose of diarrhoea and a 40-degree fever which her doctor (no-one had yet heard of radiation sickness) diagnosed as typhoid, and treated with herbal infusions.
Her husband had a similarly miraculous escape. He had been drafted to dig bomb shelters in Nagasaki, but the day before the second bomb was dropped, was transferred out of the city. They were reunited in a country village that October, and the following spring Hatsumi was born.
“It was an easy birth, and she was a cute little child, if a bit small. The neighbours whispered that there would be something wrong with her, but I didn’t want to believe it. It was only when she turned two and began to walk stiffly and have fits that I took her to the hospital … they said there was nothing they could do.”
In spite of her intellectual and physical handicaps – she needs monthly treatment for a type of anaemia – Hatsumi was able to complete junior school, and does simple work in a special workshop.
But she never married, and is dependent on her mother – and her pension. “I just don’t know what would happen if I died first,” says Mrs Toda.
As for attempts to justify the bombing by claiming that it saved millions of lives: “Nothing can justify something so terrible … it is 50 years ago and, look, we are still suffering.”
“Everyone in a war likes to think he’ll be lucky,” says Lieutenant Commander George Purdy, US Navy, retired. “But I can tell you we were mighty relieved when we heard the news about this new type of bomb … a lot of us were going to be killed.”
Purdy, whose birthday came just four days after Hiroshima, is 87 years old now, a retired businessman who settled in Japan after the war, married Midori, and raised a family.
Proudly displayed on his office wall is the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Third Class, awarded to him for services to Japan-American relations by his erstwhile arch-enemy, Emperor Hirohito. The irony doesn’t escape him.
“The Japanese soldiers – they would fight to the end. Even if they wanted to surrender, they wouldn’t be allowed to – they would be shot by their own officers. It was all done in the name of the emperor,” he says, his Texas drawl softened by half a century of living abroad.
A metallurgist by trade, Purdy comes from a seafaring family and volunteered for the navy after he heard the news of Pearl Harbour on his shortwave radio.
It took him until March of 1945 to finally win his first command, an LST (Landing Ship Tank) – a flat-bottomed transport vessel with a top speed of 10 knots, better known to its crew as a Large Slow Target.
Purdy spent the first months transporting tanks, trucks, aircraft engines and ammunition around the Pacific, as the Allies slowly and bloodily drove back the Japanese.
He went from Guam to the Southern Philippines island of Mindanao where he flew as an observer on bombing and strafing missions against Japanese forces.
Finally came the ferocious fighting on Okinawa. “Nothing would stop them: when they realised they couldn’t win, they just threw themselves off cliffs.”
Purdy’s LST 973 was at anchor off Okinawa – “a sitting duck for the Kamikaze planes which were coming down everywhere” – when he heard the news of Hiroshima, then Nagasaki, then the surrender.
He had no orders, but he believed his ship would have been involved in Operation Coronet, the greatest invasion in history, which was to land 1.8 million men on the beaches near Tokyo a few months later.
“When we finally sailed into Tokyo Bay we could see what a fight it would have been: the place was like a fortress, guns and concrete everywhere.”
A month later, he flew on a reconnaissance mission over Hiroshima. “It didn’t look like a city, it looked like a map, just lines on the ground.
“It was awesome that all that damage could be done by one bomb, but I never doubted it was necessary.
“I don’t know how many lives the bombing saved. A million? Two million? But we were as sure as hell glad we didn’t have to find out.”
Pub date: Saturday 17 June 1995
Section: Good Weekend
Word count: 4348
Photography: Mayu Kanamori, Guy Marche
After the blast
Until now, most Japanese believed World War II began with the United States’ dropping of an atom bomb on Hiroshima and its terrible consequences for the city and its population. Photo by Guy Marche/Australian Picture Library;
Flame of Remembrance / Sunday Camera
1. Prayers at the Hiroshima cenotaph for those killed in the bomb blast.
2. Satoru Tominaka (today): ‘I think the bomb was necessary.’
3. In the navy in 1943.
Doves of peace
1. Thousands of doves are released each year on August 6, Hiroshima Memorial Day.
2. Lee Sil Gun: the fight for recognition continues.
A new generation
1. The Children’s Peace Monument in Hiroshima Peace Park.
2. Yukiyo Toda, and her daughter Hatsumi: ‘Nothing can justify something so terrible.’
3. George Purdy: ‘A lot of us were going to be killed.’
4. US Navy, 1945.
Life after hiroshima
1. A Japanese youth places folded cranes in Hiroshima Peace Park;
2. Dr Akira Tari at the Atomic Bomb Survivors’ Hospital
3. Bombed dome of the former industrial hall.