Hiroshima Peace Memorial
|Hiroshima Peace Memorial
|Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List|
|Inscription||1996 (20th Session)|
Hiroshima Peace Memorial (広島平和記念碑 Hiroshima heiwa kinenhi ), commonly called the Atomic Bomb Dome or Genbaku Dōmu (原爆ドーム?, A-Bomb Dome), in Hiroshima, Japan, is part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. The ruin serves as a memorial to the people who were killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Over 70,000 people were killed instantly, and another 70,000 suffered fatal injuries from the radiation.
History of the Genbaku Dome
The building was designed by the Czech architect Jan Letzel. It was completed in April 1915 and was named the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition (HMI). It was opened formally to the public in August that year. In 1921 the name was changed to the Hiroshima Prefectural Products Exhibition Hall, and again in 1933, to the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. The building was located in the largest business district next to the Aioi Bridge and was primarily used for arts and educational exhibitions.
The building now known as the Genbaku (A-Bomb) Dome was the only structure left standing near the bomb’s hypocentre. The dome was initially scheduled to be demolished with the rest of the ruins, but the majority of the building was intact, delaying the demolition plans. The dome became a subject of controversy — some locals wanted it torn down, while others wanted to preserve it as a memorial of the bombing and a symbol of peace. Ultimately, when the reconstruction of Hiroshima began, the skeletal remains of the building were preserved.
From 1950 through 1964, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was established. Following its completion, the Hiroshima City Council adopted a resolution in 1966 on the permanent preservation of the Atomic Bomb Dome (see Preservation). Thus, the dome continues to be the park’s primary landmark.
At 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, Little Boy — the first atomic bomb to be used in war — was dropped by the United States Air Force from the Enola Gay, a B-29 bomber. The force of the atomic bomb effectively obliterated the city of Hiroshima, Japan.
On July 25, 1945, commander of the United States Strategic Air Forces, General Carl Spaatz received orders to deliver a "special bomb" attack on selected cities in Japan. The first target city chosen was Hiroshima, which had an important port on southern Honshu and was headquarters of the Japanese Second Army. The bomb was assembled in secrecy and loaded on the Enola Gay. It consisted of a uranium isotope 235 core shielded by hundreds of pounds of lead. Little Boy possessed a force equivalent to 12,500 tons of TNT. The plane dropped the bomb over the city at 8:15:17 a.m. local time on August 6, 1945. Within 43 seconds from being dropped, the bomb detonated over the city and missed its target by 800 feet. Intended for the Aioi Bridge, the bomb was instead dropped right above the Genbaku Dome. Because the atomic bomb exploded right above it, the building was able to retain its shape. The building's vertical columns were able to resist the nearly vertical downward force of the blast, and parts of the concrete and brick outer walls remained intact. The centre of the blast was displaced 490 feet (150 m) horizontally and 1,968 feet (600 m) vertically from the dome, having slightly missed the original target, the distinctive "T"-shaped Aioi Bridge. The Dome was 160 meters from the hypocenter of the atomic blast. Everyone inside the building was killed instantly.
Weathering and deterioration of the Genbaku Dome continued in the post-War period. The Hiroshima City Council declared in 1966 that it intended to indefinitely preserve the structure, now termed "A-Bomb Dome". The first popularly elected mayor of Hiroshima, Shinzo Hamai (1905 – 1968) sought funds for the preservation effort domestically and internationally. During one trip to Tokyo, Hamai resorted to collecting funds directly on the streets of the capital. Preservation work on the A-Bomb Dome was completed in 1967. The A-Bomb Dome has undergone two minor preservation projects to stabilize the ruin, notably between October 1989 and March 1990.
The Genbaku Dome stands exactly as it did after the bombing on August 6, 1945. Changes to the ruins, meant to ensure the stability of the structure, have been minimal.
UNESCO World Heritage Site
In December 1996 the A-Bomb Dome was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List based on the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Its inclusion into UNESCO list was based on its survival from a destructive force (atomic bomb), the first use of nuclear weapons on human population, and importantly its representation as a symbol of peace.
China had reservations regarding the confirmation of the memorial as a World Heritage Site and the delegate from the United States to the World Heritage Committee dissociated himself from the decision. China cited the possibility that the monument could be used to downplay the fact that the victim countries of Japan's aggression suffered the greatest losses of life during the war, while the United States asserted that having a memorial to a war site would omit the necessary historical context.
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
- Hiroshima Witness
- Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
- Tourism in Japan
- List of World Heritage Sites in Japan
- "原爆ドーム" [A-Bomb Dome]. Nihon Daihyakka Zensho (Nipponika) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. OCLC 153301537. Retrieved 2012-09-18.
- Logan, William (2008). Places of Pain and Shame: Dealing with 'Difficult Heritage'. Routledge.
- UNESCO. "Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome)".
- Hiroshima Peace Museum
- "Let's look at the Special Exhibit : Hiroshima on October 5, 1945". Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
- Schofield, John (2009). A Fearsome Heritage: Diverse Legacies of the Cold War. Left Coast Press. More than one of
- Van Rhyn, Mark E. "Hiroshima, Bombing of". PBS. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- Ide, Kanako (Winter). "A Symbol of Peace and Peace Education: The Genbaku Dome in Hiroshima". Journal of Aesthetic Education. 4 41: 12–23.
- Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall Memorial Plaque
- Milam, Michael C. (July/August 2010). "Hiroshima and Nagasaki". Humanist (Buffalo, N.Y.: American Humanist Association and the American Ethical Union) 70 (4): 32–35.
- "浜井信三". Nihon Jinmei Daijiten (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
- WH Committee: Report of the 20th Session, Merida 1996
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome)|
- Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Dome
- Entry on UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) website
- Official page
- Trade Promotion Hall
- Official UNESCO page
- Picture of the building before the bombing
- U.S. Attending 2010 Hiroshima Memorial - video report by Democracy Now!
- Hiroshima Peace Memorial webcam showing Atomic Bomb Dome.