Project Description


Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (広島平和記念公園, Hiroshima Heiwa Kinen Kōen) is a memorial park in the center of Hiroshima, Japan. It is dedicated to the legacy of Hiroshima as the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack, and to the memories of the bomb’s direct and indirect victims (of whom there may have been as many as 140,000). The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is visited by thousands of people each year. The park is there in memory of the victims of the nuclear attack on August 6, 1945. On August 6, 1945 the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima Japan. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was planned and designed by the Japanese Architect Kenzō Tange at Tange Lab.

The A-Bomb Dome is the skeletal ruins of the former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. It is the building closest to the hypocenter of the nuclear bomb that remained at least partially standing. It was left how it was after the bombing in memory of the casualties. The A-Bomb Dome, to which a sense of sacredness and transcendence has been attributed, is situated in a distant ceremonial view that is visible from the Peace Memorial Park’s central cenotaph. It is an officially designated site of memory for the nation’s and humanity’s collectively shared heritage of catastrophe. The A-Bomb Dome was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List on December 7, 1996. Many A-Bomb survivors and Hiroshima citizens were pushing for the A-Bomb Dome to be registered as a World Heritage Site as it was “a symbol of horror and nuclear weapons and humankind’s pledge for peace.” [5] This collective petition from many citizens groups was finally given influence when the Japanese government officially recommended the dome to the World Heritage Site committee in December 1995. A marker was placed on the A-Bomb Dome on April 25, 1997 by Hiroshima City. It reads:

As a historical witness that conveys the tragedy of suffering the first atomic bomb in human history and as a symbol that vows to faithfully seek the abolition of nuclear weapons and everlasting world peace, Genbaku Dome was added to the World Heritage List in accordance with the “Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention).”

December 7, 1996, Hiroshima City

The Children’s Peace Monument is a statue dedicated to the memory of the children who died as a result of the bombing. The statue is of a girl with outstretched arms with a folded paper crane rising above her. The statue is based on the true story of Sadako Sasaki (佐々木禎子, Sasaki Sadako), a young girl who died from radiation from the bomb. She believed that if she folded 1,000 paper cranes she would be cured. To this day, people (mostly children) from around the world fold cranes and send them to Hiroshima where they are placed near the statue. The statue has a continuously replenished collection of folded cranes nearby

The Rest House of Hiroshima Peace Park is another atomic bombed building in the park. The building was built as the Taishoya Kimono Shop in March 1929. It was used as a fuel distribution station when the shortage of fuel began in June 1944. On August 6, 1945, when the bomb exploded, the roof was crushed, the interior destroyed, and everything consumable burned except in the basement. Eventually, 36 people in the building died of the bombing; 47-year-old Eizo Nomura survived in the basement, which had a concrete roof through which radiation had a more difficult time penetrating. He survived into his 80s.

The former Nakajima District, which today is Peace Memorial Park, was a prominent business quarter of the city during the early years of the Showa period (1926–89) and had been the site of many wooden two-story structures. However, in 1929, the three-story Taishoya Kimono Shop was constructed, surrounded by shops and movie theaters. It was said that if you went up to the roof, a panoramic view of the city awaited. In 1943 the Kimono Shop was closed and in June 1944, as World War II intensified and economic controls became increasingly stringent, the building was purchased by the Prefectural Fuel Rationing Union

At 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, the explosion of the atomic bomb about 600 meters above the hypocenter destroyed the building’s concrete roof. The interior was also badly damaged and gutted by ensuing fires, and everyone inside was killed except Nomura, who miraculously survived. The building was restored soon after the war and used as the Fuel Hall. In 1957, the Hiroshima East Reconstruction Office, which became the core the city’s reconstruction program, was established there.

The Basement of the Rest House. At the time of the bombing, 37 people were working there. All of them perished, with the exception of Eizo Nomura, who had gone down to the basement at that moment and survived the bombing. Nomura, who was then 47, was a worker for the Hiroshima Prefectural Fuel Rationing Union. Nomura managed to escape through rising fire and vigorous smoke. However, after his survival, he struggled with high fever, diarrhea, bleeding gums, and other symptoms caused by the radiation.

Although the building was heavily damaged, it stood still and was renovated soon after the war, including a new wooden roof. After the war, the Hiroshima municipal government purchased the building and established a postwar recovery office in it. Today it is used as the Rest House in Peace Memorial Park. The Rest House has been in debates many times over whether or not it should be preserved. In 1995, the city decided to demolish the building, but the plan was put aside. One of the reasons was because of the announcement of the A-Bomb Dome as a World Heritage site.

Right now, the first floor of the Rest House is used as a tourist information office and a souvenir shop, the second/third floors as offices, and the basement is preserved nearly as it was at the time of the bombing.