@ 74 days until Hiroshima Summit: Army Clothing Depot

by Aya Kano, Staff Writer

The Former Army Clothing Depot (in Hiroshima City’s Minami ward), located about 2.7 kilometers southeast of the hypocenter, is one of the largest A-bombed structures in existence. On the grounds of the depot, four warehouses are left in an L-shaped configuration. Their iron doors, transformed by the blast at the time of the atomic bombing, now convey the horror of the bombing.

The Army Clothing Depot was constructed in 1913 and military uniforms and military boots were produced there. During the war, many people were mobilized to the depot and a nursery was also set up. Immediately after the atomic bombing, the depot turned into a temporary first-aid station and the wounded were carried into the depot buildings one after another. Sankichi Toge, a poet known for his A-bomb-related work, described the scene in his writings titled Soko no Kiroku (Records of the Warehouse), contained in his book Poems of the Atomic Bomb.

In 2019, the Hiroshima Prefectural government proposed demolishing part of the depot on the grounds of the cost of the construction work to make it earthquake-resistant. A-bomb survivors and others called for preservation of the structure as a silent witness that communicates the history of the military city of Hiroshima and the damage caused by the atomic bombing. Measures to utilize all the four warehouses are now under consideration.

(Originally published on March 6, 2023)