Hiroshima

On my week-long potter’s pilgrimage, I made one stop for another reason. Since my chosen route took me through the city of Hiroshima, I arranged my train schedule to allow for a few hours’ pause to convey my wishes for peace and harmony at Peace Park. A skeleton of a building left standing, the A-Bomb Dome monument, once surrounded by devastation, now rises from a regenerated park, a green expanse dotted with memorial sculptures and monuments honoring the bomb’s victims.

It tugged at my heart to see flowers blooming in this hallowed place.

A group of school children gave speeches and bowed at the Children’s Memorial, a tall arch topped with a sculpture of a girl, arms wide open, a paper crane soaring over her head. The statue was inspired by the remembrance of a young girl, Sasaki Sadako, who died at age twelve from leukemia as a result of radiation exposure to the explosion when she was two. She tried to make one thousand paper cranes, hoping to aid her recovery. The monument now stands in memory of all the children who died. The class visiting the monument added their origami crane constructions to thousands that were already there, hanging in streams of all colors, a moving sight. It was difficult to see through my camera’s viewfinder as the tears kept flowing.

Children’s Memorial

One could never have guessed that, in just months after my visit, Japan would again be dealing with a nuclear disaster (Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami).

An earlier pottery trip in Japan to Mashiko, home of Shoji Hamada: A Japanese treasure. Stops along this potter’s pilgrimage: Bizen, Hagi, Karatsu. This series is an excerpt from my book.

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Published by rkrontheroad

Writer, photographer, traveler

36 thoughts on “Hiroshima

  1. What a tragic and emotional place to visit. To see flowers growing after such destruction is a testament to nature’s resilience. I read the book Sadako and a Thousand Paper Cranes in school when I was a kid but I didn’t realize (or maybe I just didn’t remember) that it was based on a real person.

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  2. What a moving place to have visited Ruth, even just seeing your pictures made me feel emotional, let along being there. I went to a nuclear war exhibition in Budapest and they had a room filled with a thousand paper cranes (I see Diana mentions it above) – this sort of event should never be repeated, but I am very scared it will be.

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  3. Who doesn’t know about what happened in Hiroshima… however a turning point in history, it was a black page in the history of Japan. That an equal thing should happen years later with a nuclear plant could not be predicted.
    Indeed an emotional place to visit.

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  4. Japan is more than just the big cities of Tokyo and Osaka, or of its beautiful natural parks and temples: it’s also a site of tragedy and mourning in more-recent history, especially WWII. Hiroshima is a testament to the horrors of war, and to the unjust perpetrators of it all– the US. Very sobering experience, indeed.

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  5. And the weapon that devastated Hiroshima was a small one compared to those in arsenals today. It is hard to understand how some countries believe nuclear weapons make them safer. Everyone should visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The experience often provides a new perspective similar to seeing Earth from space.

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    1. It’s hard to imagine that ramping up nuclear weapons will keep us safe. An accident is waiting to happen, or a ruler doing something unthinkable in anger. Thanks for your perspective, John.

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  6. It’s such a tragedy what happened to Hiroshima. It’s good to hear that people are visiting to honour and remember the victims. I hope we’ll learn from our mistakes and that something like this will never happen again.

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  7. It’s amazing to see, that despite its harrowing past, Hiroshima has not only recovered but is now a buzzing and exciting metropolis, with huge amounts of growth, lots of green open parks and a young, thriving population. Visiting Memorial Museums can be very unsettling and disturbing, but I think that emotional impact can change attitudes or behaviours in visitors. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva

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  8. What a tragic and devastating place to visit. It should have never happened. Seeing the beautiful blooms in the site of annihilation is heartbreaking, because in their fragility and transience, flowers are symbolic of human life. It is also a testament to nature’s resilience and regenerative powers. I hope to visit some day as I do feel that we all should make a pilgrimage to Hiroshima and learn about and from it.

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    1. Your eloquent comment resonated with me, Leighton. Although there were many monuments and dedications at the site, the transient beauty of the flowers moved me most. Thanks for weighing in.

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    1. Although I was interested in visiting the site, I hadn’t planned on it because of the distance. But when I realized my pottery route could take me through there, it was important to me to make time to get to the park.

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  9. This was a memorial that I would have liked to see. That sounds a bit morbid but I do think we should pay our respects to those who died and to remind ourselves of the horror of nuclear weapons and war.

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