Hiroshima Insight

A-bomb Drawings by Survivors

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum holds more than 4,000 pictures

Pictures include someone with severe burns, fleeing with arms outstretched; a dying mother holding her baby in her arms; and a child trapped under the wreckage of a building. As of the end of September 2013, A-bomb survivors have depicted their experiences in 4,256 works of art that are stored at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

Attached to each picture are captions which explain the cruel A-bomb scenes, including such messages to the victims as “I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to help you.”

An initial picture drawn by a survivor led to a campaign carried out by NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), in 1974-75, where the call was made for survivors to hand down their experiences through drawings. In all, 2,225 pictures were submitted at this time.

In 2002, the Hiroshima City government and the Chugoku Shimbun took up the campaign and 1,338 new pieces were collected. Separate from the campaign, other pictures were also donated to Peace Memorial Museum.

With the consent of the artists, the pictures are posted on the museum’s website. And in the museum each year, the pictures are put on display in special exhibits under such themes as “Mother and Child” and “Black Rain.” A curator at the museum, Kayo Takahashi, 30, said, “I hope viewers feel the survivors’ anger, grief, and mourning for the victims when they look at these pictures.”