Visitors to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to see area’s appearance prior to the bombing

by Hiromi Morita and Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writers

One day, through mobile terminals, visitors to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park will be able to walk the grounds and see what the area looked like before it was devastated by the atomic bombing. The “Film Production Committee for the Restoration of Peace Memorial Park,” comprised of experts in Hiroshima from such fields as visual imagery and architectural engineering, is planning to develop this system through the use of computer animation.

By virtue of this animation, the team has been restoring the original appearance of the former Nakajima District, an area of Hiroshima that was annihilated by the atomic bomb and later transformed into Peace Memorial Park. They are now working on the production of a documentary that incorporates this computer animation. At the same time, the team is considering ways for citizens to take advantage of the imagery after the film has been completed.

At a meeting held at Hiroshima City University on March 6, Takeaki Nakajima, professor at Hiroshima City University, and other members of the project, confirmed that the computer animation can be transmitted to the displays of mobile phones and personal computers through compact broadcasting transmitters.

They have also found that, in the future, it will be possible to receive the restored appearance of a particular location they approach on foot by using Global Positioning System (GPS) technology. To realize this system, the cooperation of the city is needed since the city manages the park and some equipment, including transmitters, must be installed on the grounds.

Restoring the appearance of the former Nakajima District, once a bustling part of downtown Hiroshima, through computer animation and the recording of testimonies from former residents has been proceeding smoothly. The team plans to screen the documentary at the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty to be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in April and May 2010.

At the meeting held on March 6, some scenes that have restored the appearance of building interiors, such as an inn and a public bath, were shown to the participants. Masaaki Tanabe, 71, president of the film production company that is creating the documentary, remarked, “I hope that citizens will use the imagery widely after the completion of the documentary to appreciate the magnitude of the loss that people suffered as a result of the atomic bombing.”

(Originally published on March 7, 2009)

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