Hiroshima Bombing Story | Tour around the Atomic Hypocenter ★ ONLY in JAPAN


Welcome to Hiroshima. It’s been about 75 years since the bomb was dropped. Its impact felt for generations which is why I’m here. City can’t erase its past but it can build on its long history. Move to the next chapter which is what I think is happening in Hiroshima today. This is the last generation that will grow up hearing first-hand accounts of the bomb. And its aftermath: the red sky, the black rain, and the tragedies to follow. The third generation is now the one sharing the stories and I thought I’d share one with you too. Today I’m gonna be meeting a father who is sharing those experiences he learned from his family elders. And now passing the baton to his ten-year-old son. So we will never forget that tragic day: August 6th, 1945. The Enola Gay was a B-29 Superfortress bomber, departed Tinian near Saipan in the Pacific loaded with a nuclear bomb. The first to be used in war. Hiroshima came into view. The T-shaped Aioi Bridge, easy to see from above. It was dropped from a height of 31,060ft (9470m) The Enola Gay turned around and the bomb detonated 43 seconds later. 1,968ft (600m) above the ground. The cloud seen from the air, rocking the plane 11.5 miles or about 19km away. Hiroshima, on the ground around the hypocenter, the city was devastated. Homes, offices, parks, life wiped out. Fast forward about 75 years later. The city has come back to life. Lessons of the past are all around the city. And I’m meeting Yuji and his son Keito Third and fourth generation Hiroshima residents after the bomb. Yuji decided to become a guide to share the city’s history with international visitors As well as make sure his son doesn’t forget about the past. He grew up hearing stories from other family members who were nearby on that day. Hiroshima’s Memorial Peace Park is where you’ll see some of the most striking reminders of that day because it’s very near to the hypocenter of the bomb. Yuji took me to the initial target where a streetcar just passed. That’s Aioi Bridge. Aioi Bridge is easily identifiable from the air. “Yeah this is, what we call a T-shaped bridge.” “It’s an original target.” “But…” “The air-man, I mean… pilot missed the target from here to [the] original’s.” “Hypocenter is 300 meters.” “But, at that way, I mean that [range] is kind of a little accurate I think.” Hiroshima is a castle town on a delta in the Seto inland sea. An important port, military, and industrial center during the war. The bomb detonated 600 meters from the ground, triggered by an altimeter at that height, which forced the blast down and out. This increased the radius of the blast, destroying more of the city. It’s estimated that 12 sq km (4.7 sq miles) of the city were destroyed as a result. You can see just how close the atomic bomb dome was to the hypocenter. We walked there next. The building here is known as Genbaku Dome in Japanese and it’s one of the most striking reminders of that day. “So this is the Genbaku Dome.” -“Right.” “This is Genbaku Dome. We call it the Atomic Bomb Dome as you know.” “So, we have to keep it forever for the, you know, history.” -“It’s about 200 meters.” “From the hypocenter.” “And can you see the top?” “So hypocenter is over there. So the top is bending, this way, that way, right?” -“Oh right from the impact you can see.” “It’s warped a little bit because of that.” -“By the brass, yeah.” Only 150 meters (500ft) from the hypocenter, is the ruins of the Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. Now called The Atomic Bomb Dome. The building was completed in April 1915 with its distinctive dome and solid concrete construction to prevent it from being destroyed in an earthquake. Video footage of it seven months after the bomb shows it in nearly the same as it lies today. It was one of the only surviving buildings so close to the hypocenter. And because if its importance in on the river before It’s now a symbol of the city’s past from that day in 1945. Despite its strong construction, everyone inside perished seconds after the blast. Yuji explained its significance to the city of Hiroshima but he wasn’t alive on that day. The reason he wants to share Hiroshima’s past to visitors comes as a result from stories of family, especially the one who was nearby when the bomb dropped. And went into the city to help the following day. This is Mr. Koji Numata, Yuji’s great-uncle. I traveled to Saitama where he lives today. At age 92 to ask him about his experience. He shared some of his family pictures with me. The stories that impacted Yuji when he was a kid. Yes, that’s Yuji in the 1980’s. I had heard from Yuji that Numata-san had some incredible stories to share about that day. And the days that followed. And it would be best to hear it first-hand from him. These are the stories that impacted Yuji when he was growing up. One of the most important places Yuji took me on the tour was the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. A place to remember what happened that day, from the bomb to its effects, and the loved ones lost over the years that followed. The museum has been newly renovated. The visual exhibits and layout taking advantage of the technology of the day. If you have been to the museum before, it’s worth another visit now. It takes you back to that day. A vibrant city before the bomb. The explosion and the aftermath. Often in very personal and grim details. “Wow.” -“Yeah.” From the clothing of the victims to the personal stories of lost lives and heroism after, it’s a museum that will leave a very strong impression. Hiroshima is now a few generations past the war and how the generations learn about its history from all over the world is very important to the city. Remembering the past is now as important as finding ways to move on from it. The Cenotaph is a place for remembrance. Where the annual memorial event of August 6th takes place. The box in the center quite significant. -“Stone box. There is a mini notebook. It’s the victim’s names on it.” “So every year, we used to add new names.” Over 200,090 names are currently in that box. The flame in the center is the fire preserved from August 6th, 1945 to this day. There are still a number of survivors known as Hibakusha alive today. But they were quite young when it happened. Many lost loved ones and have built up their families since. It’s a place where survivors come to connect the past to the future lives that they have now. In the distance is The Atomic Bomb Dome. About 100 meters away is the memorial to Sadako Sasaki A girl who was two years old when the bomb was dropped. But lived on for ten years with leukemia. In the year of her death, her father told her of the legend of 1,000 paper cranes. One who folds a thousand will be granted a wish. Yuji’s son Keito explains a story that every kid in Hiroshima knows well. The bell is designed to ring like a wind chime. Sadako folded only 644 before her death but children from Hiroshima and around the world have folded the rest for her. Thousands of times over. New ones are shown in glass cases around the memorial. And the paper from them is recycled into school diplomas and school certificates. So why don’t Hiroshima residents dislike Americans? “So, a lot of people ask me in Hiroshima, why don’t the people dislike Americans because of what happened?” -“I think it’s that peace education is very unique.” “So teachers and textbooks say don’t blame Americans. Just blame war itself.” “So I think that’s a key for the step forward. I think it’s good for the education to me and to [the] next generation I think.” -“To move on from it?” -“Right.” Near the A-Bomb Dome is the Orizuru Tower with a scenic deck to see the city and eat lunch. The wood-decked observatory offers panoramic views of the city, looking down on the peace park. There’s always a nice breeze up here and the perfect place to enjoy a bento lunch from the cafe. This is Hiroshima’s famous Okonomiyaki but wrapped in a bento. Delicious. Also in the Orizuru Tower, visitors can fold their own paper cranes. No matter what it looks like, you can still drop your crane in a unique glass wall on the side of the building. It’s a little scary walking out there. We’re twelve floors up. There are already thousands of cranes underneath mine. The area around the peace park after the bomb was in ruins. But today, it’s the place where students come from all over the world to learn about what happened. And see how far Hiroshima has come. It’s one of the most popular stops for all international visitors to Japan. The Atomic Bomb Dome now surrounded by a thriving park, city and life. The city has now moved to the next chapter, but it’s residents like Yuji and his son who will make sure that the past is never forgotten. “My mission. I know it’s like my mission.” “He gave me a good baton. So, my baton to my son, to the next.” “I think that the perspective of peace is a bit different.” “My uncle has it kind of, real.” “He feel. He smell. He, you know… tested, I don’t know.” “So, it’s real.” “It’s a real story. But I’m not, I don’t know that you know?” “Reality but I know the story from him or many textbooks or stuff” “I learn many things. So I wanna give him the next baton to my kid’s generation.” “Give him.” “In the future.” Keito recently volunteered to help the recovery from tragic landslides that struck Hiroshima in 2017. Where many people lost their lives. They say time covers all scars. They fade over the years but are always visible so we won’t forget them. Hiroshima has many scars, has been through so much, but the next chapter is yet unwritten. From meeting Yuji and Keito, it will be a much more peaceful chapter than the last. If you’re visiting Japan, making a trip to Hiroshima is one you will never forget. If you liked it, hit that subscribe button. And check out another one of our shows. Don’t miss my second live streaming channel, Only in Japan Go. And check out location photos on Instagram. またね (See you)

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