Nagasaki

With the theme of my project it was also most impossible for me to make a case not to visit Nagasaki and Hiroshima during my time in Japan. The entirety of each city could qualify as cemeteries with their large memorials and constant reminders of what happened during those tragic days in August of 1945. Below is the center point sculpture by Seibo Kitamura in the peace park. It depicts a man of no particular race or origin with one hand pointing up to the sky where the atomic bomb was detonated, a hand reaching out to the rest of the world, a leg folding in meditation, and his other leg planted firmly in the ground ready for action– a call for peace. All over Nagasaki it is written that “may nagasaki be the last place where an atomic weapon is ever used.”

DSC_0699IMG_7779This was maybe the most powerful story and object in the entire nagasaki peace museum, which has hundreds of objects and images relating to the bombing. At first glance this just appears to be a rock, but it is actually some clumps of clay immediately hardened as an effect of the bomb in a h0me close t0 the hypocenter. The home belonged to a young family with four children. The father was at work in the shipyard and the mother was in a different town visiting relatives. After the bombing they rushed home to find no evidence of their children, but these large clay rocks, and they treasured them as the last momento of their departed for children for many years until they found their way to the museum. DSC_0720This is the building beside the peace park where all of the ashes of the unknown and unidentified victims were interred. There was also a relic of the first Budddah donated by the nation of India which is also placed on the vault, as a symbol of peace and protection for those who died. DSC_0729Burial Building view 2- not the typical cemetery mausoleum. DSC_0754A statue of a young student at the elementary school closest to the hypocenter, commemorating all the young innocent lives lost. A new elementary school was erected in the same place. DSC_0766 (1)Some of the many paper cranes folded by students near the memorial. DSC_0772scenes from the playground of the school (Shiroyama Elementary School)– i just liked the sculptural nature of the playground equipment– nothing significant here. DSC_0774IMG_7823However terrible and haunting the bombing was in 1945, in 2016 Nagasaki is a wonderfully vibrant city with deep pride for their culture, history, and promise in the future. This is champon ramen, a special Nagasaki version of ramen, and it was delicious.

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