On the Atomic Bomb Memorial day of Nagasaki this year, we prayed at home.
Due to the spread of the new coronavirus, the Peace Memorial Ceremony was held on a much smaller scale.
The public was not allowed to attend.
I refrained from going out on August 9 and stayed at home watching the TV broadcast and praying in silence.
Another day, before the Day commemorating the end of the Second World War, I went to the Peace Park and the Atomic Bomb Hypocenter.
Entrance of the Peace Park
It is convenient to get to Peace Park by tram.
Get off the tram at the Peace Park stop and cross the national road at the crosswalk, and you will soon find the entrance to the park.
You can take the escalator to the park, which is located on top of a hill.
Get off the escalator and walk straight ahead and you will see a fountain with crystal clear water.
Fountain of Peace
I was so thirsty.
There was something like oil floating all over the water.
I had to have water, and I finally drank it with the oil in it.
~From a girl’s memoir of that day
The memoir of a girl who was exposed to the atomic bombing, engraved on a stone slab in front of the building, contrasts so sharply with the refreshing fountain behind it that one cannot help but place one’s hands together and pray.
Beyond the fountain, looking small in the distance the Peace statue can be seen.
Step by step, I walked from the Peace Fountain to the Peace Statue, taking in the peace of the present moment.
The Peace Statue
The Peace Statue symbolizes the desire for peace.
Its beauty and preciousness are universal no matter how many times you visit.
The sculptor is Seibo Kitamura, a sculptor from Nagasaki Prefecture.
The Statue’s right hand, pointing to the heavens, represents the “threat of the atomic bomb”.
His left hand, stretched out horizontally, is the key to peace.
The lightly closed eyelids represent a prayer for the souls of the A-bomb victims.
Site of Nagasaki Prison’s Urakami Prison Branch Office
Before the atomic bombing, the site of the Peace Park was the Urakami Prison Branch of Nagasaki Prison.
It was the closest public facility to the hypocenter, but the building was destroyed from the ground up, and 134 staff and inmates were killed instantly.
The remains of the bombing can now be seen in part of the park (on the way to the Peace Fountain and the Peace Statue).
There is an information board with detailed information about the statue.
◆For more information about Peace Park (Peace Statue and Peace Fountain), click here.
Atomic Bomb Hypocenter
At 11:02 a.m. on August 9, 1945.
The atomic bomb was dropped from an American B-29 bomber and exploded about 500 meters above the city.
A monument made of black granite stands at the center of the bomb’s fall.
Along the site’s riverfront, visitors can see the geological strata of the time of the bombing. A large number of house tiles, bricks and heat-burned glass, destroyed by the bombing, are still buried here as they were then.
Today, the center of the atomic bombing is surrounded by greenery and is a place for citizens to relax.
An old man sits on a bench in the shade of a tree and reads a book.
An elementary school student engrossed in catching cicadas.
I, too, sit relaxed as I watch them.
I feel a sense of gratitude for the fact that we are now able to live in peace.
I am not against war, I am for peace.
◆For basic information about the center of the atomic bombing, click here.
Although I was not able to go there, you can experience the devastation of the atomic bomb and the preciousness of peace at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, which is located next to the Peace Park.
You can stand before each of the exhibits, accepting the history while thinking about true peace.
You can browse through books on the atomic bombing and peace, and there is also a library with a video corner.
◆For more information on the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, click here