Hiroshima Insight

Evacuation of children from the city

Sheltered in the countryside to escape air raids

With the war intensifying, and air raids feared, elementary school children from the third to the sixth grades were evacuated from urban areas in Japan and taken in their school groups to temples and community centers in the countryside.

The guidelines for these evacuations were issued by the Japanese government in June 1944 and schools in the city of Hiroshima began evacuating children in April 1945.

According to a report citing evacuations from Hiroshima, roughly 9,000 children from 36 of the 41 elementary schools in the city were evacuated to outlying areas, including Saeki Ward and the city of Miyoshi.

Removed from their families, the children felt homesick. When one child began crying at bedtime, the tears of other children, held back for a time, began to flow, too. The result was a chorus of sobbing. Some children even tried to flee and return home. The situation was compounded by the hunger the children suffered due to a lack of food.

Some of the children who survived ended up losing their entire family to the atomic bomb.