5 Emotional Remnants of the 1945 Nagasaki Bombing
August 9, 1945 remains as a harrowing part of Japanese history when a plutonium bomb was dropped in Nagasaki that ultimately ended with Japan’s complete and unconditional surrender.
More than 70 years after the bomb was dropped at 11:02 a.m. and exploded 1,650 feet above the city, the Nagasaki Peace Park and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum stand as remembrance to this heart-rending chapter of world history.
The museum was opened in April 1966 as part of the 50th anniversary project of the bombing, replacing the Nagasaki International Culture Hall.
Get your handkerchiefs ready as you enter the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum for tears won’t fail to fall with a display of troubled and mournful facts. Here are five of them that will remind you of that unfortunate event:
It was said that Americans dropped leaflets all over Nagasaki telling civilians to evacuate as there would be a “firebombing”. Accounts from Japanese civilians said they were no such leaflets warning them of the impending catastrophe. Other discussions said the Japanese authorities made it a crime to collect or read leaflets; hence people never read the warning. In the museum, it is written that the bombing of Japanese main islands by American grow severe from the early months of 1945. The leaflets, which were said to have been strewn over the cities of Japan, contained information about the bombing of Hiroshima and the power of the atomic bomb, and warned citizens to leave the city.
A significant proof of this catastrophic episode is a clock which froze at 11:02 a.m., the moment Nagasaki was instantly destroyed. The clock was said to be found in a house near the Sanno Shrine, approximately 800 meters away from the hypocenter. The clock may have been shattered by the blast but the hands stopped at 11:02. This clock forever reminds the world that at this time, Nagasaki and its people were sad casualties of a war.
A schoolgirl’s lunch box
The bomb was dropped in the area with several schools. Imagine the number of children and adolescents who died from the heat caused by the bomb. A schoolgirl’s lunch box is a heartbreaking memento of the devastating event. Satoko Tsutsumi, 14 years old at the time of the bombing, was exposed to the atomic bomb explosion in Iwakawa-machi, located 700 meters from the hypocenter. Her name and class number were written on the bottom of the smaller box. The rice in the lunch box was charred by the fires after bombing.
Two priests were hearing the confession of several dozen parishioners at Urakami Cathedral, located 500 meters northeast of the hypocenter, at the time of the bomb explosion. The cathedral collapsed and burned as a result of the explosion. The Cathedral was once the largest church in this part of the world. The parishioners inside the Cathedral died under the rubble of the demolished building. A few rosaries were recovered in the site. Inside the museum is a recreation of the south wall of the Urakami Cathedral.
Silhouette remaining on a wall
About 4.4 kilometers from the hypocenter, a lookout was exposed to the atomic bomb explosion after coming down from the roof of the Nagasaki Fortress Headquarters. The tar exposed directly to the flash burned and disappeared but the shadow remained. Called nuclear shadows, these permanent reminders of the Nagasaki devastation was formed by thermal radiation. The thermal radiation bleaches the surface of walls it comes in contact with. But if there is a structure, or in this case a human being, that blocks a portion of the wall, the blocked part does not bleached hence leaving a permanent shadow.
Nothing could ever prepare you for an emotional experience that you will encounter inside Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum. At the tail-end of your journey is another photograph that hangs as a testament of resilience and respect. You have to go to the museum to know more about this photo.
Have you visited the Nagasaki ?
Liantine Imamichi/ Philippines