Special exhibition featuring mementos of the dead opens at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

On February 8, a special exhibition entitled “Memories for You: If Not for the Bomb” opened in the East Building of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The exhibition seeks to convey, through such items as mementos of the dead, the sorrow of those who lost their lives to the atomic bombing and the family members they left behind. Curators at the museum are urging people to visit the exhibition and imagine the horror of the atomic bombing and the feeling of losing a loved one.

On display are approximately 90 mementos which were donated to the museum by family members or found during excavation work carried out by the City of Hiroshima on nearby Ninoshima Island. Some of the items are accompanied by information on the owner’s circumstances at the time of the bombing and a photograph of the person.

The item that once belonged to Masanori Miyatani, 28 years old when the A-bomb was dropped, are the leggings he wore when he experienced the bombing while at the Hiroshima Castle compound, about 700 meters from the hypocenter. A piece of paper has been placed alongside, which describes his wounds as “burns to the back.” This paper was reportedly affixed to him when he was carried to a shelter.

Mr. Miyatani passed away on August 13, days after the atomic bombing. His eldest daughter Yoriko, 69, a resident of Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture, said, “I heard that my father asked people to help look after me before he died. If not for the bomb, the lives of my father and my mother, who was left behind, too, would have been different.”

The special exhibition will run until July 15. Admission is free.

(Originally published on February 9, 2013)