Hiroshima Insight

Kanzaki National School

Destroyed by the blast and razed by fire

Kanzaki National School (now, Kanzaki Elementary School), located about 1.2 kilometers southwest of the hypocenter, lost 140 students, as well as eight teachers and staff, to the atomic bombing.

At the time of the bombing, 1,860 students were enrolled in the school. Of these, 1,440 had earlier been evacuated to the countryside. The other 420 students remained at home and continued attending the school or studied at local temples.

The wooden, two-story school building was destroyed in the blast and engulfed in fire. About 25 students had already arrived at school, but apparently died when the building collapsed. The late Keiji Nakazawa, a manga artist widely known for Barefoot Gen, which depicted the bombing, was a first grader at the school. The blast occurred just before he entered the school grounds through the gate on the school’s west side. A concrete wall shielded him from the blast, saving his life.

The children who were evacuated to the countryside were safely out of harm’s way. But some of these children became orphans after family members and relatives were killed.

Because the school building was destroyed, after the war classes resumed at Honkawa National School and Funairi National School. In April 1950, Kanzaki Elementary School was reborn. That September, a new school building was completed at its present location, about 100 meters northeast of where the old building had stood before the war.