Special exhibition at Peace Museum features photos collected from overseas, 67 photos show “Ruins” and “Restoration” of Hiroshima

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is holding a special exhibition featuring photos collected in the United States, the United Kingdom and other countries. The exhibition being held in the museum’s east building shows 67 photos, of which 43 are on display for the first time. Some of them were collected in 2019. Aerial photos taken by U.S. Forces after the atomic bombing show how the city of Hiroshima was destroyed by the bomb. Some photos show Hiroshima under military occupation by the allied nations. The exhibition will run through late July. Admission is free.

The exhibition consists of eight parts, including “Aerial photographs taken after the war,” “Ruins of Hiroshima,” and “Restoration.” Museum staff took photos of materials from close-up positions or made copies using a scanner at overseas museums and archives.

One of the 19 photos collected in 2019 was taken by U.S. Forces around February 1946. This aerial photo shows the contrast between the city center, which was completely destroyed by fire caused by the bombing, and the east side of Hijiyama Hill, where many buildings remained. This is precious material, according to the museum. Another photo shows a local resident talking with Indian soldiers amidst burned-out ruins. The soldiers were stationed in Hiroshima as members of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force.

The municipal governments of Hiroshima and Nagasaki jointly sent a team to research A-bomb-related materials kept in the U.S. in 1974 for the first time. Recently the Hiroshima museum has been playing a leading role and conducted searches in 2013, 2016, 2017 and 2019, extending their research into New Zealand and the U.K. Many are photos taken by members of U.S. Forces and private photos taken by those stationed in Japan and brought back to their countries. The museum has collected more than 6,000 photos so far.

The peace museum is encouraging people to come to the exhibition, saying, “Carefully examining the photos one by one, you can have a clearer understanding of the damage caused by the atomic bombing. Take this opportunity to realize the significance of these photos.”

The curator in charge of the overseas research and this exhibition will give a lecture from 2:00 p.m. on February 22. The event is free of charge and requires no advance reservations. For further information, call the museum at 082-241-4004.

(Originally published on February 6, 2020)