Hiroshima’s A-Bomb Dome turns 100

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

The Atomic Bomb Dome will mark its 100th anniversary on April 5. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the building originally housed the Hiroshima Commercial Exhibition Hall. As a symbol of Hiroshima that tells of the atomic bombing and conveys the city’s desire for peace, the dome in Naka Ward attracts visitors from Japan and around the world.

The structure was completed on April 5, 1915 and was known to local people as the “big, white building.” But 30 years later it burned down after being exposed to the flash and blast of the atomic bombing. After the war, some people called for the nearly unrecognizable structure to be dismantled because they found it painful to look at. The decision to preserve the building permanently was not made until 1966, 21 years after the end of the war.

“The building conveys the feelings of the atomic bomb survivors to those who see it,” said Sunao Tsuboi, 89, chair of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations. “It must be preserved indefinitely.” The 100-year-old dome has witnessed tremendous sadness and carries Hiroshima’s hopes for a peaceful future. After marking the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing this summer, the city will embark on the first seismic retrofit work on the building.

(Originally published on April 4, 2015)