Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome)

 Japan
Hiroshima Prefecture
N34 23 44.002 E132 27 13
Date of Inscription: 1996
Criteria: (vi)
Property : 0.4 ha
Buffer zone: 42.7 ha
Ref: 775
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The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) was the only structure left standing in the area where the first atomic bomb exploded on 6 August 1945. Through the efforts of many people, including those of the city of Hiroshima, it has been preserved in the same state as immediately after the bombing. Not only is it a stark and powerful symbol of the most destructive force ever created by humankind; it also expresses the hope for world peace and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) is the only structure left standing near the hypocenter of the first atomic bomb which exploded on 6 August 1945, and it remains in the condition right after the explosion. Through the efforts of many people, including those of the city of Hiroshima, this ruin has been preserved in the same state as immediately after the bombing. Not only is it a stark and powerful symbol of the most destructive force ever created by humankind, it also expresses the hope for world peace and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons. The inscribed property covers 0.40 ha in the urban centre of Hiroshima and consists of the surviving Genbaku Dome (“Genbaku” means atomic bomb in Japanese) within the ruins of the building. The 42.7 ha buffer zone that surrounds the property includes the Peace Memorial Park.

The most important meaning of the surviving structure of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial is in what it symbolizes, rather than just its aesthetic and architectural values. This silent structure is the skeletal form of the surviving remains of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotional Hall (constructed in 1914). It symbolizes the tremendous destructive power, which humankind can invent on the one hand; on the other hand, it also reminds us of the hope for world permanent peace.

Criterion (vi): The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) is a stark and powerful symbol of the achievement of world peace for more than half a century following the unleashing of the most destructive force ever created by humankind.

Suggested Bases:

Hiroshima is an industrial city of wide boulevards and criss-crossing rivers along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea. Although many only know it for the horrific split-second on August 6, 1945 when it became the site of the world’s first atomic bomb attack, it is now a modern cosmopolitan city with excellent cuisine and a bustling nightlife. Those expecting to step off the Shinkansen into a pile of smoldering rubble will be in for a surprise, as Hiroshima has all the ferroconcrete and blinking neon of any other modern Japanese city. Teenagers stream in and out of the station, where McDonald’s and the latest keitai (mobile phones) await; hapless salarymen rush down Aioi-dori to their next meeting, casting a bloodshot eye toward the seedy bars of Nagarekawa as they pass. At first glance, it can be hard to imagine that anything out of the ordinary ever happened here. Hiroshima was founded in 1589 on the delta formed by the Ota River, flowing out to the Seto Inland Sea [read more].

Matsuyama, meaning “pine mountain”, is the homely capital of Ehime prefecture. Quite provincial yet hospitable to travelers, and a hub of business and shopping amongst the lazy calm of the countryside, Matsuyama has much to offer in the way of curious literary and cultural assets. With a population of 510,000 (2019), Matsuyama is the largest city on Shikoku, though still noticeably sleepier than cities of comparable size on the Japanese mainland. The city is in a river basin formed by the flow of the Ishite and Shigenobu rivers, and nestled between the Ishizuchi mountain range to the south and Takanawa Mountains to the north. The center of town is Matsuyama-shi Station (“Shieki” for short), south of Matsuyama Castle, which serves as a hub for local trams, buses, and the private Iyotetsu train line. JR Matsuyama Station is a short walk west. The climate of Matsuyama is overall mild and temperate — somewhat balmy in summer, with most rainfall occurring in late spring, and almost no snow in winter [read more].

Kitakyushu is a large city in Fukuoka prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan. Together with Shimonoseki it is part of the Kanmon Straits area. In terms of area it is the largest city in Kyushu, though Fukuoka has the bigger population. The population of Kitakyushu is about one million (or 1.3 million including Shimonoseki). Kitakyushu was created in 1963 from the five smaller cities of Kokura, Moji, Tobata, Wakamatsu and Yahata, and it retains this sense of being a country area with much diversity and beautiful nature, despite its reputation as a steel town. Kokura, the heart of Kitakyushu, is an ancient feudal castle town guarding the Straits of Shimonoseki. Kokura was supposed to be the target of the second nuclear bomb in World War II. However, it was cloudy on the day of the attack and the plane diverted to Nagasaki instead. The modern city of Kitakyushu dates back only to 1963, when the cities of Moji, Kokura, Tobata, Yahata and Wakamatsu were merged by administrative fiat [read more].

1 reply »

  1. Perhaps the saddest section of the park is dedicated to the children who died such as Sadako Sasaki, a schoolgirl who survived the blast only to be eaten away by leukaemia a decade later. While in hospital, she started folding paper cranes, trying to reach 1,000, a number said to grant a wish from the gods. However, the illness claimed her when she had completed 644 (other sources say she actually made it to 1,000). When she had passed away, Sasaki’s family and classmates completed the chain and buried it with her. This practice continues for anyone afflicted, and Sasaki’s statue at Children’s Peace Monument is often besieged with origami.

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