High school students create paintings of A-bomb horror based on survivors’ experiences

by Gosuke Nagahisa, Staff Writer

Five students in a course on Creative Expression at Motomachi High School, located in downtown Hiroshima, have completed paintings based on the experiences of two A-bomb survivors. The two survivors were invited to the school on July 2, when they were shown the finished works of art.

Mitsuo Kodama, 79, a resident of Minami Ward, and Setsuko Morita, 79, a resident of Higashi Ward, shared their A-bomb accounts with the students. The five students met the survivors several times starting at the end of last year to hear their experiences. They then created oil paintings of the scenes that impressed them most deeply, the canvases measuring 65 centimeters in height and 53 centimeters in width.

Ayumi Tomita, 17, a third-year student and a resident of Kure, a city near Hiroshima, depicted a scene from Mr. Kodama’s experience of the bombing. Mr. Kodama, back then a student of Hiroshima First Middle School (now, Kokutaiji High School), was fleeing the fires of the city when his right leg was grabbed by a woman pinned down under the rubble of the blast.

Ms. Tomita said, “I’m at a loss for words when I think about what Mr. Kodama has been feeling all this time, blaming himself for leaving that woman.” Expressing his gratitude to Ms. Tomita, Mr. Kodama said, “This painting keenly expresses the horror of the atomic bombing.”

The art program was initiated in fiscal 2004 by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum with the aim of conveying survivors’ experiences of the atomic bombing. The five paintings will be held at the museum and shown to the public when the two survivors share their accounts.

(Originally published on July 3, 2012)