A-Bomb Dome and thinking of WWII

16 Aug

I’ve been thinking that I’d have to come to this place as a Japanese citizen for many years. And finally I made it.


It was the very first time for me to look at the real thing, although I’ve seen it on text books since elementary school and on TV on the 6th of August every year.

What’s this building?

It has been preserved as it is since it was destroyed by the Atomic Bomb by the U.S slightly before the Second World War ended on the 15th of Aug. 1945. Nagasaki is another area attacked by the bomb.

This picture shows how the building was before the bombing.

This picture shows how the building and the area around looked after the bombing.

Barefoot Gen is an anime that is based on the author’s own experience of atomic bombing.

(To watch the whole story, here is a link)

Bunch of paper cranes to desire peace.

There is the Peace Memorial Museum where you can learn what actually happened in Hiroshima in the summer 1945, some items burnt in the bombing, a piece of wall with black rain fallen, clear messages and intentions of how we are against nuclear bomb testing and etc.

Not only our people that lost life or health because of atomic bomb, but also many other nations and people were sacrificed by the war. It’s natural that those who suffered from A-bomb and their descendants should hold grudge against the U.S, while on the other hand, the Americans would not forget Pearl Harbor. When we are educated in Japan, what happened then tends to be explained with Japan-sided view. But this is not for us to remember grudge or hatred but to remember how nuclear and war can devastate people and everything.

As it happens, it’s 15th of August today, which is the 67th anniversary of WWII surrender.
I hope Japan and the U.S can be good friends, in spite of what happened between us before.
What do you think?

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24 Responses to “A-Bomb Dome and thinking of WWII”

  1. Salma August 16, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    Of course, I recognize the dome very well as I saw it several times when I went to Hiroshima.
    I hate wars! I hate them very much! They are usually caused by trivial reasons which result in massive detructive effects, and the victims of all this chaos are the innocent people! 😦
    I hope peace prevails everywhere too!

    • kirin August 19, 2012 at 1:36 am #

      Right! You've been to Hiroshima before!
      I hope you are doing well after all the confusions and changes in political situations in your country. Sorry I didn't write to you but I sometimes think of you whenever I see news that reports what happened in Egypt.

  2. sedonia2 August 16, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    Seeing those photos was so painful. It's horrible that these things happen. I pray that the whole world can learn from this example not to use such weaponry, or better yet, to stop fighting. I don't hold out much hope for that, though, 😦

    • kirin August 19, 2012 at 1:43 am #

      Yeah it was quite painful to see the exhibition and it was not easy for me to write a post about it in TKE, as the blog's theme is something fun most of the time… It was nice to hear in the news that this year for the first time British and French ambassadors attended the annual Hiroshima memorial ceremony, as well as an ambassador from the U.S for the 2nd time.

      • sedonia2 August 19, 2012 at 4:49 am #

        That is good to know for sure! I think that the basis of good relations begins at the level of what we do here – the way you blog and share your everyday life with readers from around the world establishes a very personal connection – that network of people connecting on this level and becoming friends, I feel strongly, will be the fabric that good relations on the larger level can be forged. If people are human to each other, then ultimately, they will be much less apt to fight and hurt each other than if they remain strangers. I hope that makes sense. 🙂

  3. Gordon August 17, 2012 at 1:20 am #

    Dear Kirin,
    I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this post, it brought tears to my eyes many times while I was reading it. I cannot express how deeply moved that I was after I finished this reading. I do not often think about the bombing of Nagasaki or Hiroshima; I've been a huge history student over the years, but this event is not always covered in depth. I have very mixed feelings on the subject, my heart is deeply saddened when I think of that August day, but it is hard for me to imagine being on either side of that bomb when it was dropped. When the bomb was being developed, many of those involved either misunderstood the potential power of the bomb (as it had never been used on humans), nor did many of them believe that we would need to use it. This of course is not an excuse, but I like to understand subjects from many angles. I don't have any books in front of my right now, but I do know that many of the lead scientists were deeply troubled by the project and ended up dropping out or opposing its use. It is also hard for me to understand the mindset of both the Japanese people and those in the US during the war, I know that there was massive support for the war on both sides, even from the intellectuals. In many ways I think that the bombing was a terrible mistake, never should a force like that be used to kill innocent civilians, but the decision was left up to a few people, many of whom were arrogant and who probably believed that saving American lives was more important than the massacre of so many Japanese civilians. I am sorry for what happened, I am still deeply troubled after reading this post, but I am glad that Japan has had such prosperity in every sense after the war. Please know that the Japanese people and those who were directly victims have my deepest sympathy and are in my thoughts. I know that both our nations have been fundamentally changed by WWII and the post war years, and I believe for the better in ever sense of the word. Thank you so much for your courageous and thoughtful post, for taking time out of your busy life to share what you believe is important with the world. I love your blog, and I wish you and the rest of Japan a bright future!
    – Gordon

    • kirin August 19, 2012 at 1:52 am #

      Hi Gordon,

      Thank you for your comment.
      I was unable to express what I felt better in this post, maybe because I had a complex thought and my English is not that good also to express that. :p

      You seem to be a very warm-hearted person. Thank you for writing such a sweet comment. ^_^

      Nowadays the people who have experienced A-Bomb are dying because of an old age. Thus what happens is that less and less people are left who can tell what they experienced to the young people. I also hear it is not always easy for them to share their experience with us simply because it's just too harsh to remember or speak that.

      Thank you for reading TKE blog.
      Kirin

  4. Lisa August 18, 2012 at 12:55 am #

    As I was born after the war, I do not have any negative feelings towards any country. I love meeting people from other countries and cultures. It is really important to know about the history of war so we do not repeat our mistakes. I believe forgiveness and friendship is the key to healing the world.

    • kirin August 19, 2012 at 1:54 am #

      Me too, I was born after the war and I don't have any negative feelings towards any country. ^ ^

  5. Cath August 19, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    This is a heavy topic, indeed! Some post-war Singaporeans still feel something about WW2 because our country use the Japanese Occupation to teach nationhood. It's very disturbing but nothing was mentioned about the suffering of Japanese civilians during WW2. In war, nobody wins.
    I have heard touching stories of reconciliation too. Forgiveness can be very difficult and sometimes even frightening. But it brings freedom.

    • kirin August 21, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

      We tend to focus on A-Bomb disaster a lot when teaching in school but not much is mentioned about Japanese Occupation of Singapore and Malaysia. In spite of such bitter experience, Singaporeans and Malaysians are quite friendly to us today.
      But there are some who still feel something about WW2, which I think is natural because what Japanese military did to them must be very bad. -__-

  6. Aya August 20, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    Like other users have posted, thank you for posting this. My grandfather after the act… had unfortunately taken his life after the bombing… and it broke my fathers' family. I have never held a grudge against America or Japan… and I wish the two nations' citizens could push aside their countries' past and come together and be at peace. I also wish that would apply to every country, but alas there will always be denial and grudges held…but we can still pray.Like a veteran, that experience could never be fully, or comfortable be discussed… My thoughts and prayers, and may the victims souls be able to pass. Thank you for sharing your experience… I can feel the tears cried, the anger hidden within… and a splurge of other emotions. Thank you very much for this tragic, but important treasure.

    • kirin August 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

      Thank you Aya.
      I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather. This is a kind of topic that is too difficult for me to write about. I was unable to tell more about it in the post. I wish I could express my thoughts and feelings as well as you did in your comment. ^ ^;;
      I wish peace for the world. We should not repeat such a mistake again.

      Thank you for your comment and may your grandfather's soul rest in peace…

  7. Alberto August 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    Hi Kirin.

    Sorry I couldn't answer before. Actually I'm on holiday in East Spain and it's hard for me to get some internet access here. :$

    Well… About your post, it makes me really sad and want to cry about how gobernors lead their country to devastation and bankrupt. I saw Gen Barefoot some years ago and it almost made me cry. It's a very emotive story.
    Now I love how Japan is a symbol of peace and multicultural place. As far as I know, since WWII, Japan never get to war with any other country and that's something that almost every other country should learn from you all.

    Also, I think that this Dome should be preserved as a lesson of the past.

    That dome remembers me a building I saw once in Berlin. It's a half destroyed cathedral that was bombed during the WWII too. Here an image I found around in internet:
    http://jonschwab.smugmug.com/Travel/Matt-in-Germa

    If you come to Spain some year, you will be able to see a lot of buildings and ruins from our civil war happened the last century (1936 to 1939), and the dictatorial regime until 1975.

    In either case, I hope those horrible events never happen again in the world.

    Nice to know you are ok. I hope those problems between Japan and China get to nothing.
    Give a hug to Pi-chan and a cookie to your husband (Or otherwise? ^_^ )
    Keep up writting interesting posts.

    Matane!!

    • kirin August 21, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

      Hi Alberto,

      Thank you for your comment, and it's nice to hear that you were on your holiday in East Spain. Hope you had a good time there. 🙂 (Of course, you don't check internet so often on your holiday. 😉 )

      "This Dome should be preserved as a lesson of the past."…I totally agree with this comment of yours.
      It's sad to learn what happened there in 1945, but it also brings us a good chance to think for peace.

      Unfortunately Japan, China and Korea are not very good friends, although we are geographically close each other. 😦 We have to solve this issue among Korean and Chinese besides the one with the U.S.

      A cookie to my hubby? How cute! ^_^ I liked that.
      Matane!
      Kirin

  8. Walter August 22, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    I can't think of any building that is more recognizable than the Dome. I think the A bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are unforgivable.

    • kirin August 22, 2012 at 11:07 am #

      The A-bomb was too harsh, they could have had other ways…that's true. But what happened is what happened, we should not have a war like that. We should not misuse nuke like that. We all have to learn from this experience. That's what I think. The elder Japanese people subjected to A-Bomb in Hiroshima insist that the U.S should apologize, but Americans were attacked by the Japanese too. That's why they insist that we should apologize. http://youtu.be/nlo_hTQxMYU
      100% of forgiveness may be difficult but we have to move forward for the better relationship of both countries, I think.
      It's a sensitive issue, indeed…

  9. Lexi 〮 レクシー August 22, 2012 at 5:46 am #

    I'm American and I've been to Hiroshima twice, but it's always so interesting to see it from a Japanese perspective, too. Thanks for that! It's such a sad place – it made me cry when I went.

    This is my first time on your blog, by the way, and I really like it! 🙂

    Lexi

    • kirin August 22, 2012 at 11:20 am #

      Hi Lexi,

      Thanks for your comment…ロレクシー?レクシーじゃなくて?ロがつくの?
      I also posted my comment to your Yukata post but WordPress.com asked my ID and etc., which I don't have. (I use WordPress.org) Looks like I failed to leave my comment there. :p Anyway you look kawaii in the yukata! ^ ^

      Thank you for visiting TKE blog. It's been here for about 4 years and these days I'm not active at blogging as much as I used to be, unfortunately. :p

      • Lexi 〮 レクシー August 22, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

        Hi Kirin!

        ロって?つかないの。レクシーだけ。:p

        Oh, that's strange! The setting on my blog is so anyone can comment, even if they don't use WordPress, so I wonder why it didn't work when you tried. But thank you! ^^

  10. corey August 30, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Hi kirin, i love your website. I have to say the anime was truly quite disturbing, i saw like 20 minute ago and i am still queasy. I really didnt want to see the whole thing but i knew this was a lesson on the horrors of warfare. I had heard some japanese especially elderly werent too crazy about americans. now I understand. If that happend to me I would feel exactly the same way. Thank you for your site and your insight. I look foward to your next post.

    • kirin September 2, 2012 at 10:51 am #

      Thank you corey.
      The anime is disturbing, and some exhibits at the Peace Memorial Park are disturbing but sometimes such shocking content can be necessary to remind us of the lesson.
      It's natural the affected people hate each other but we have to move forward anyway. We should focus on the better future, rather than sad past. 😉

  11. Mary September 1, 2012 at 3:32 am #

    This is a pretty sensitive subject, and I'm glad you talked about it Kirin. ^^
    You mentioned that in Japan, schools focus mostly on the A-bomb in
    WWII, right? I heard something similar from other people, and if you don't
    mind, what is the general things covered in a history class when they
    discuss World war 2 in Japan?

    • kirin September 2, 2012 at 10:56 am #

      Hi Mary,
      Thank you for your comment. In reply to your question, in our history class, about WWII, I think basic information is covered as well as the truth that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. It's been decades that I left high school so I don't really remember it well. But I still remember how much I was shocked to hear about A-Bombing and how that affected people's health many years since then at an elementary school when I first learned about WWII.

      Sorry for my poor memory about our history class and its coverage. >__<

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