Tenjin-machi-suji area is proposed as first candidate site to unearth and show A-bombed remains to public

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

On July 30, an advisory panel gathered for the first time to discuss a plan by the City of Hiroshima to unearth and show the remains of the former Nakajima district to visitors. This district, where the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is now located, was totally destroyed by the atomic bomb. The panel proposed that the Tenjin-machi-suji area, part of the former district’s commercial zone and located on the north side of today’s East Building of the Peace Memorial Museum, be the first candidate site for excavation and display.

The City of Hiroshima formed the panel, comprised of seven members including experts in archaeology and cultural assets as well as A-bomb survivors, so that the remains could be opened to the public by the end of fiscal year 2020. Masayuki Miura, an honorary professor at Hiroshima University who specializes in architectural history, was appointed to serve as the panel’s chair. Shunsuke Taga, one of the panel members and the head of a citizens’ group to advance the preservation of the A-bombed remains that lie beneath the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, outlined 13 areas that citizens have suggested be unearthed and shown to the public.

The panel agreed to exclude areas that are close to the north-south axis line, which links key parts of the park environment, from the scope of public display. These spots include the A-bomb Dome, the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims, and museum’s Main Building. They then proposed that the Tenjin-machi-suji area be the first candidate site given that it is easier for museum visitors to see the area because it is located on the traffic line between the dome and the museum, and there is the strong possibility that many traces of old buildings can be found in that location.

Before the atomic bombing, shops and inns lined the Tenjin-machi-suji area. When the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, which opened in 2002, was being construction, remains of the paved road and the concrete foundation of a hospital building were found beneath the surface of the ground.

The second candidate site selected by the panel is on the north side of the International Conference Center Hiroshima, where the remains of the Hiroshima branch of Morinaga Shokuryo Kogyo (present-day Morinaga & Company, Ltd.) were found in 2000.

The City of Hiroshima says that it is planning to conduct an exploratory excavation within fiscal year 2018 in order to examine the ground conditions. This test excavation was originally scheduled to take place in fiscal year 2019 or beyond. The panel will meet again in September, and, based on the sites suggested by the panel this time, the city will propose the location for the exploratory excavation at the next meeting.

(Originally published on July 31, 2018)