Friday, January 29, 2016

Saddest Day in History

Not sure August 6th, 1945 is the saddest day in history, but it is definitely in the competition.  I went to the Hiroshima Museum this afternoon as part of the tour of Japan.  I think the last time I was this moved and this sad was when I visited Dachau in 1987.  The displays were just incredibly sad, featuring many burned/torn/tattered kids' clothes, among other objects.

After a week of hearing how China and South Korea are still bitter at Japan over World War II, I could not help but think a bit about how the US and Japan have a very good relationship.  This despite the fact that the US laid waste to the entire country with the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, along with the fire bombing of Tokyo.  The museum's main message is not one of hate but of pacifism--that nuclear weapons should be dismantled.  I didn't feel hate radiating from the Japanese around me as we walked through the exhibits even though I am clearly American.  I know that the Japanese have not always handled its history in WWII as well as Germany has, but if the Japanese can move beyond what the US did to it (in response to their attack on the US), maybe South Korea could move on now? 

Model depicts the destruction quite well. 
Nearly everything within 2 km
One of my colleagues noted that the museum did not have much context attached to the displays.  The only discussion of World War II was a bit strange: a reference to the Incident that led to the war with China (making it seem like an accident and not like aggression) contrasting with a clear reference to Japan attacking the US and the rest of the neighborhood.  Other than that, it was just about the effects, which were devastating and enduring.

So, here are some of the pictures I took.  I am glad that they brought us here.  People tend to toss around nuclear war and bombing back to the stone age far too carelessly.  I will try to avoid doing so in the future.
The immediate aftermath of the bomb

Heat burned the black off of print
so that paper/clothes would look like this

Melted bottles

Explanation of Black Rain:
rain plus fallout

Story about the girl who made cranes
hoping the good luck would keep her
from dying due to leukemia.  Didn't work

The Hiroshima Memorial Park with many statues

View of the Cenotaph, the A-dome (building that survived the blast),
and the fire that will only go out when all nuclear weapons are dismantled

Aforementioned flame

Children's Memorial--so many kids died.

The bridge that was the target, the A-dome which survived.

No comments: