This summer, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Nagasaki City to hold first joint A-bomb exhibit at Pearl Harbor

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

This summer, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (Naka Ward) and the Nagasaki City government will jointly hold a first-ever A-bomb exhibit at the Battleship Missouri Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii, the place marking the initiation of fighting in the Pacific between the two nations in World War II. In the United States, some justify the dropping of the atomic bombs by citing the Imperial Japanese Army’s attack on Pearl Harbor. A Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum official said, “We seemed to achieve consensus around the point that both sides hope to convey the horror of war.”

At the exhibit, A-bomb artifacts and photographic panels will be put on display, while A-bomb survivors will share their A-bomb experiences. The event is scheduled to be held starting in early July until September 3. The Missouri is the battleship on which Japan representatives formally signed the instrument of surrender after conclusion of fighting in the Pacific theater. At present, the ship is docked at Pearl Harbor and used as a memorial. The memorial once hosted a special exhibit about the Imperial Japanese Army’s kamikaze suicide corps in conjunction with the Chiran Peace Museum in the city of Minamikyushu, prefecture of Kagoshima, and the staff at Pearl Harbor were said to be willing to hold the A-bomb exhibit at their facility.

During a press conference, Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui expressed his expectations for the event. “I believe the exhibit will be an opportunity to have more people understand Hiroshima’s desire to renounce the existence of weapons that kill innocent civilians.” In its initial general-account budget proposal for fiscal 2020, Hiroshima City is to include 5 million yen as exhibit expenses.

Meanwhile, as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was not able to reach agreement with the USS Arizona Memorial about having an exhibit, they postponed their original goal of holding the event this summer at that memorial, which is situated above the USS Arizona, a battleship sunk in the Pearl Harbor attack. “We’ll continue to coordinate with the USS Arizona Memorial toward holding an exhibit there in the future,” said the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Cities held in the United States in 1995 the first of their overseas A-bomb exhibits. To date, a total of 59 exhibits have been held in 19 nations (including 20 exhibits in the United States). During fiscal 2020, another exhibit will be held at the University of Hawaii at Hilo from the beginning of September to early October.

(Originally published on February 8, 2020)