Hiroshima Insight

Former Army Clothing Depot

Strong buildings served as relief station

The former Army Clothing Depot consists of a complex of red-brick buildings, each 500 meters long. The four L-shaped buildings, dubbed “Japan’s longest row of red-brick buildings,” sit on the western and southern sides of Hiroshima Prefectural Hiroshima Technical High School, and are located in the Deshio district in Minami Ward.

Built in August 1913, the former Army Clothing Depot was completed a year earlier than Tokyo Station, another well-known building made of red brick. The four buildings that make up the former military site were strengthened with reinforced-concrete on the inside, and brick on the outside. They were used to store clothing, footwear, caps, and other gear for Japanese soldiers. A factory that produced the clothing and footwear stood to the northeast of the buildings.

The former Army Clothing Depot was situated about 2.7 kilometers from the hypocenter. Because of this distance, the buildings withstood the blast and avoided the fires. As a result, the location became a temporary relief station in the aftermath of the bombing.

After the war, from 1946, the depot was used as a school building for the Hiroshima Higher Normal School (today’s Faculty of Education at Hiroshima University) for about seven years. It was later used as a student dormitory and a warehouse for a shipping company. Currently, the complex is under the authority of the Hiroshima Prefectural Office, but it has stood empty since 1997, awaiting work to make the buildings earthquake-resistant. How the buildings will be used in the future remains unresolved.