I put off writing this blog post about my visit to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum for quite awhile now. In fact, I visited this museum almost one year ago. Visiting this museum was nothing that I could prepare for even if I tried. Can anyone truly fathom the devastation that an atomic bomb can cause? I don’t think anyone can really be mentally ready to see the things and hear the stories in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
It took me a year to digest what really happened there. I felt that it was all important, so I had to share my experience there even if it was one year later.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is extremely cheap to enter. The museum really wants to promote peace and prevent something as horrible as what happened during the atomic bombing in Japan from ever happening again. The ticket is only 50 yen, and there are lockers inside that are free to use. 50 yen is about 50 cents. I was amazed at their dedication to keep the price so low.
There are so many artifacts in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. So many of the things are hard to look at and understand. How could something so horrible happen? The horror of what you see is unbelievable and yet it happened. Almost right when you enter, a watch stuck at the exact time that the bomb dropped is displayed. A huge wall displays a picture of Hiroshima after the bomb had hit to show you just how affected the city was. They even have a miniature display of the Atomic Bomb Dome.
I’m horrible at handling children suffering and so many parts of the museum were just intensely emotional. One of the most unsettling things displayed was a tricycle and helmet of a three year old boy who was burned to death during the bombing. His father buried him alongside his tricycle and helmet which he loved so much. Later, he was transferred to the family grave and his father decided to donate them to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
Near the end of the museum, they had an exhibit to talk about the story of Sadako. Sadako was just two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped. Although she survived the blast despite being blown out of a window, she developed leukemia from the exposure to radiation ten years later. While she was in the hospital, she would fold paper cranes in hopes of being cured of her disease. An old Japanese story promised that if someone folded one thousand paper cranes then their wish would come true.
Well, she was able to fold the one thousand paper cranes. In fact, she folded many more than that. Although paper was scarce, she would use any paper she could find including paper used for medical supplies. As she became sicker, her cranes became extremely tiny. It was amazing to see how she folded such small cranes. They were literally the size of my pinky nail. Six months after being diagnosed, she passed away.
What can I say after hearing a story like that?
The second floor of the museum is largely dedicated towards peace efforts and the end of nuclear power after the bombing. There are places where you can sit and watch survivors of the bombing tell their stories of what happened. They all had English subtitles so I was able to understand. The stories were just heartbreaking.
The whole experience is just something that I can’t explain. Although I left the exhibits feeling down, I couldn’t help but feel a little hope. The world is taking notice, and so many people are visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to face the horrors of what nuclear power is capable of. Although the United States still holds nuclear weapons, I can only hope that such a situation never happens again.
Q: Have you ever visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum? What is your stance on nuclear weapons?