114 volumes of register for A-bomb victims are aired in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

by Yuki Tsujimoto, Staff Writer

On May 16 at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Naka Ward, the City of Hiroshima aired the 114 volumes of the register which hold the names of the A-bomb victims, with city employees turning the pages of these volumes in the open air to remove moisture before the rainy season sets in. The register is kept in the stone chest under the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims, located in the park. Two new volumes have been added to the register since last year, with the names of another 5,530 victims.

At 8:15 a.m., the time the atomic bomb exploded above the city, 19 city employees offered a silent prayer and started their work. They took out the volumes from the stone chest, one by one, and laid them on a white cloth that they had spread out in front of the cenotaph. The employees then carefully turned the pages, which are made of washi, traditional Japanese paper, and checked for any signs of deterioration.

Ayaha Fujikawa, 10, a fifth grader at Honkawa Elementary School was visiting the park as part of her school’s peace education program. Observing the work, she said, “I had the same feeling as the inscription on the cenotaph, which reads, ‘Let all the souls here rest in peace; For we shall not repeat the evil.’ I would like to convey the importance of peace to people all over the world.”

Of the 114 volumes, 112 contain the names and the date of death of 308,725 victims of the Hiroshima bombing who were confirmed dead as of August 5, 2017. Another volume holds the names of nine victims of the Nagasaki atomic bombing whose family members requested that their names be included in the register dedicated to the cenotaph in Hiroshima. The other volume bears only the words: “Many people whose names are unknown.”

After the the work to air the volumes was completed, the city employees returned them to the stone chest, except for the newest volume and the volume which holds the names of the A-bomb victims in Nagasaki. The names of victims who have died or have been confirmed dead since August 6, 2017 will be added to these two volumes. The books will then be replaced inside the chest during the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony on August 6 of this year.

(Originally published on May 17, 2018)