Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to lend belongings of A-bombed student for Oslo Nobel Peace Prize exhibition

by Kanako Noda, Staff Writer

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, located in Naka Ward, announced on November 17 that it will lend a bag and an air-raid hood that had belonged to a victim of the atomic bombing for an exhibition to be held in December in Oslo, Norway in conjunction with the award ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize. These items, which have been preserved by the museum, were the belongings of a mobilized student who was killed in the Hiroshima bombing.

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 has been given to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), a non-governmental organization (NGO), and items connected to ICAN’s activities will be displayed at the Nobel Peace Center. Staff from the Nobel Peace Center visited the museum in Hiroshima to talk about the exhibition with museum staff, and selected items with a focus on showing the horrific effects of the atomic bomb on the residents of the city.

The two items that were chosen once belonged to Yukitoshi Masuda, who was 13 at the time and a first-year student at the Hiroshima Municipal Shipbuilding Engineering School (now, the Hiroshima Municipal Commercial High School). He was helping to tear down houses in Zaimoku-cho (now part of Naka Ward), to create a fire lane, when Hiroshima was attacked with the atomic bomb, and his remains were never found. However, his bag, partially burned and torn and without its shoulder strap, was recovered. The air-raid hood was found inside the bag. Masumi Masuda, 83, Yukitoshi’s younger brother and a resident of Nishi Ward, said that although Yukitoshi perished that day, his bag managed to survive the bombing, and he hopes his brother’s bag and hood can help contribute to the abolition of nuclear weapons.

The exhibition will open on December 11, the day after the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony, and will continue until November 20, 2018. The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum will offer a rosary and a wristwatch which stopped at exactly 11:02 a.m., the time the second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, and the Kyoto Museum for World Peace, part of Ritsumeikan University, will lend a lunch box from that time.

Liv Sverdrup, the deputy director of the Nobel Peace Center, who visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, said that ICAN’s activities have their basis in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the items which show the damage that resulted from the atomic bombings will deliver a strong message that nuclear weapons must never be used again. She hopes that the exhibition in Oslo will convey the devastation and horror that the atomic bombs brought to the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

(Originally published on November 18, 2017)