Chunks of A-bomb Dome building are retrieved by elementary school students

by Yumi Kanazaki Staff Writer

On July 12, sixth grade students from Honkawa Elementary School, located near the Motoyasu River, brought up four chunks of granite from the left bank of the river. Some of the stones are believed to be from the balcony on the fifth floor of the former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, now known as the A-bomb Dome. The building was shattered by the blast of the atomic bomb. The four chunks of granite are thought to have been left at the bank of the river after World War II for reasons that remain unclear.

Two pieces are shaped like a column, measuring 30 centimeters square and 70 centimeters and nearly 40 centimeters in length, respectively. The longer piece weighs as much as 230 kilograms. The other two chunks are L-shaped and may not be part of the balcony.

The students lifted each piece of granite using chains and steel pipes with the help of adults then carried them carefully up the steps by the river to the front of the A-bomb Dome. There, they rinsed off the dirt and moss on the surface of the stones.

Naoya Domae, 11, said, "I was surprised to discover how heavy they were." Responding to his classmate, Kanata Kobashi, 11, said, "The blast was so strong that it could blow heavy stones off the building."

The four chunks of granite exposed to the bombing will be displayed at a special exhibition "From Hiroshima to Hiroshima" [pre-war Hiroshima to post-war Hiroshima], designed to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing. The exhibition will run from August 5 to September 20 at the Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum.

(Originally published on July 13, 2010)