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Hiroshima for Global Peace

Houses for Hiroshima Support Received from Beyond the Boundaries of Country and Race: I Introduction

Hironobu Ochiba

Curator of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

I Introduction

On November 1, 2012, a gallery named the Schmoe House was open in Ebanihonmatsu, Naka-ku, Hiroshima City. The name Schmoe House comes from Mr. Floyd Schmoe, who started a home-building project, “Houses for Hiroshima” in 1949, four years after the atomic bombing, to build residences for people in Hiroshima who lost their houses. The Schmoe House was built as a community center (gathering place) during the project.

Amidst the destruction left by the atomic bomb and the confusion after the end of the war, with a scarcity of suppliers, people lived a difficult life of physical and psychological hardships. Due to media restrictions regarding atomic bombs implemented by the Allied Powers, the actual condition of the damage was not widely known in the country; the scars of war were deep in other cities, too, and domestic aid was lacking. Hiroshima citizens themselves had to stand up from the ruins and to walk their way to reconstruction. Under such circumstances, it was various support received from overseas that encouraged them.

Currently, only a few remnants of this support are left in Hiroshima. Schmoe House is one of the few.

This report focuses on the Houses for Hiroshima initiative conducted by Mr. Floyd Schmoe. Houses for Hiroshima has been introduced in an exhibition at Hiroshima Memorial Museum and exhibition at Schmoe House. Also, Hisami Hasegawa’s article1 and books2, published by the organization Schmoe ni Manabu Kai (learning from Schmoe) featured the house. In this report, there are points overlapping with those publications. However, with new materials, I would like to discuss what kind of activities people in Hiroshima hold and how they felt about the support received from overseas.

1 Toshimi Hasegawa, “Floyd Schmoe to Hiroshima no Ie (Floyd Schmoe and Houses for Hiroshima)”, Searching Ethnic America: Multiple Approaches to “E Pluribus Unum”, Sairyusha, 2015

2 Schmoe ni Manabu Kai (the Learn from Schmoe Association), Houses for Hiroshima: Floyd Schmoe and His Friends, 2014

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