At 8:15am on 6 August 1945, the world’s first atomic bomb named “Little Boy” was dropped from a B-29 bomber from the United States of America. The bomb missed its target – the T-shaped Aioi Bridge and detonated approximately 600m above the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall (HMI). The force of the blast killed everybody in the building and effectively flattened Hiroshima City.
As the blast had occurred almost directly overhead, most of the building’s vertical columns, brick outer walls and the dome structure remained almost intact. After the war, the building was preserved and works were carried out to stabilise the structure. Much of it stood exactly as it did on the day of the blast. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Today, the remains of the building is part of the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park and is known as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, A-Bomb Dome or by its Japanese name, Genbaku Domu (原爆ドーム). It serves as a memorial to the over 700,000 people who perished in the atomic bombing on 6 August 1945. Visiting the site gives me a palpable sense of eerie calm, much like the feeling I had when I visited Ground Zero of the 911 disaster in New York. Everything appears to have stood still.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park also has a museum, with artefacts and information about the World War II and the history of the atomic bombing. Nearby is the Memorial Cenotaph, a saddle-shaped monument covering a cenotaph with the names of all the people killed by the bomb. Just behind is the Peace Flame which has burned continuously since 1964. A pool of water surrounds the memorial and peace flame. The monument is designed such that it frames the Peace Flame as well as the A-Bomb Dome in the distance.
As night falls, I decided to stay behind to catch a couple of night shots of the memorial and its reflection on the Motoyasu River. As I didn’t have a tripod with me, I had to prop the camera on a stone bench, balancing it on a lens hood so that the camera can stand vertically. I then connected to it via WiFi using my iPhone and triggered it remotely.
In closing to this blog post, as per the inscription on the cenotaph to “not repeat the error” – with “error” referring to the evil of war, let’s hope we shall never had to go through such a disaster again.