Hiroshima City ventilates 122 volumes of register for A-bomb victims in hopes of peaceful world

by Kana Kobayashi, Staff Writer

On May 18, under sunny skies, 122 volumes of a register with the names of A-bomb victims housed in a stone chest beneath the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims were removed by staff of the Hiroshima City government at Peace Memorial Park, in the city’s Naka Ward, and ventilated to remove moisture before the rainy season begins. Since last year’s ventilation work, two new volumes have been added to the register with the names of 4,802 victims.

At 8:15, the exact time the atomic bomb was dropped, 18 city employees offered a silent prayer and began their work. The volumes were removed from the stone chest and placed on white fabric spread out in front of the cenotaph. Each of the pages of the register volumes was then carefully turned. Surviving family members of victims as well as children visiting the park for peace education programs watched as the ventilation work took place.

In 120 of 122 total volumes are written the names of 328,929 Hiroshima A-bomb victims who were confirmed to have died as of August 5, 2021, as well as the date of their death and their age at the time of death. One of the volumes holds the names of 12 Nagasaki victims of the atomic bombing, based on a request from the surviving families, and the other one bears only the words: “Many people whose names are unknown.”

Akihiko Suga, 63, a resident of Hiroshima’s Minami Ward who serves as a guide at Peace Memorial Park for students on school trips, has a relative whose name is listed in the register. Watching the ventilation work of the register pages, Mr. Suga said, “The process makes me feel the significance of the life of each of the victims that perished in the atomic bombing. I want to continue conveying the message that nuclear weapons should not exist in the world.”

After the ventilation work concluded, the city employees returned the register volumes into the stone chest one by one. The latest volume for Hiroshima victims and another volume for Nagasaki victims are stored separately to ensure that the names of A-bomb victims who have died or been newly confirmed to have died since August 6 last year can be added starting in early June. The two volumes will then be placed inside the stone chest beneath the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony to be held on August 6.

(Originally published on May 19, 2022)