Fukuya Department Store to exhibit five terracotta pieces of its A-bombed exterior wall by setting up a permanent display section at its Hatchobori main store

by Miho Kuwajima, Staff Writer

On September 1st, Fukuya Co., Ltd, headquartered in Naka Ward, announced it would display a portion of its A-bombed exterior wall to the public for the first time. That permanent exhibit is set to open October 1st, in tandem with the store’s 90th anniversary, and will be located at Fukuya’s Hatchobori main store. Considering the fact the next year is the 75th anniversary since the atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, the store will launch an initiative to convey its history which has continued before the pre-war period.

Contents of the exhibit includes five pieces of terracotta wall used for the store building. When the store’s exterior walls were completely replaced in 1972, these pieces were cut off from the old wall and preserved. In 1990, the late Hiromi Hasai, then professor at Hiroshima University and an expert of nuclear physics, cut out the terracotta pieces for research to estimate amount of radiation received at the time of atomic bomb explosion. The hollowed-out area of the wall piece is now covered with a round plate. No A-bombed material is left on the exterior wall of the current store building.

The exhibit will also display the photos showing the crowd gathered at the time of store opening or the store buildings in the aftermath of the atomic bombing. In addition to the permanent exhibit section, the store will hold a memorial tablet which reads “A-bombed building Fukuya Department Store” on the pillar of the store’s front entrance facing the streetcar tracks. The tablet would have description written both in Japanese and English to explain the fact that the store building endured the devastation wrought by the atomic bombing and became the symbol of restoration in Hiroshima.

The Fukuya Department Store Hatchobori is located 710 meters from the hypocenter. The building’s inner area was burnt out by the atomic bombing on August 6, 1945. The store resumed operation in February next year, and has repeatedly gone through extension, reconstruction, and seismic strengthening works since then. Yoji Oshimo, 51, president of Fukuya, said, “Our Hatchobori store can be called Hiroshima’s asset rather than our company’s asset. We will make sure the history of this building is thoroughly conveyed to others, and will keep on preserving it as much as we can do.”

(Originally published on September 2, 2019)