Sunday, 1 June 2008

The Hiroshima Peace Garden, National Peace Memorial Hall and A-Bomb Dome

We had a harrowing day today, visiting the horrors of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. The city was entirely destroyed in the blast and cost the lives of 140,000 people by the end of 1945. We visited the very moving Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, which gave moving accounts of the people who died in the initial blast, those who died of the after effects and those who survived.

We then went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum which gave an informative history of the events leading up to the bombing which was sanctioned by the UK. America was apparently keen to use the bomb so as to gain a strategic advantage over Russia by the end of World War II. A total of two billion dollars had also been spent on developing a nuclear bomb, so there was a political wish that this money should not be seen to be wasted. Indeed, to justify this spend, America was keen to link the bomb with ending the war with Japan. Following the bloody battles for control of Iwo Jima and Okinawa which had cost 12,000 American lives, America was also keen for a quick end to the war. It had estimated that a further 40,000 American soldiers might die in a assault on the Japanese mainland.

Pictures below from the peace garden. Left - the cenotaph with the A-Dome in the distance. Centre - The Children's Peace Monument
for all the children who died as a result of the bomb. The girl on the statue is based on the true story of Sadako Sasaki who was just 2 years at the time of the blast. She later died of leukaemia as a result of the radiation. Whilst in hospital she made over a thousand paper cranes which she thought would make her better. To this day, children from all over the world send paper cranes to be displayed by the memorial (photo right).

Hiroshima was chosen as the primary target as it had not yet been bombed by the Americans, thus allowing for the damage of the atomic bomb to be fully measured. The city was also big enough for the full effects of the explosion to be seen. Clear skies on the day sealed the city's fate.

Pictures below - the A-Bomb dome, 260m from the hypocentre of the blast.

This evening Jen broke first from eating Japanese food, and we found a Indian/Nepalese restaurant. I ordered a mild seafood curry - which turned out to be hotter than Jen's hot potato and chick pea curry. Both curries were extremely saucy, to the extent that we thought the chef had not visited the wholesaler for ingredients for over a week. The price and cigarette smoke for afters rounded the meal of nicely. Needless to say, its back to Japanese food again.

We also ended up in the basement of the very posh Fukuya department store. Check out the cake selection below! Yum Yum!!!!!