Please enable JavaScript in your browser to view this site in optimal condition.
When displaying with JavaScript disabled, some functions may not be available or correct information may not be obtained.

Hiroshima for Global Peace

PartⅠ Introduction

The fire bombings of the Second World War left over 200 municipalities in Japan burned down and war damage reconstruction projects were carried out in 115 cities by the War Damage Reconstruction Agency during the postwar period. Hiroshima, an atomic bombed city, was at first treated in the same way as other cities that were destroyed in air raids carried out with conventional weapons. For many years, no special attention was paid to the reconstruction of Hiroshima. However, in more recent years, after the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011, coupled with the severe damage caused by the resulting Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident, Fukushima and Hiroshima began to be discussed together, and more attention was directed towards the reconstruction of Hiroshima.
At the same time, conflicts and civil wars have occurred in various parts of the world, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan, where wars erupted after the terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001. In all these cases, reconstruction itself has become a big issue for peacebuilding. Needless to say, Hiroshima is not the only city which was reconstructed from a field of burned-out ruins. But many people who visit Hiroshima, including those engaged in the reconstruction projects of war-stricken countries, are always impressed at the feat of the reconstruction of Hiroshima. They walk through the city after visiting the Peace Memorial Museum and express a desire to learn more about the reconstruction of Hiroshima. What about Hiroshima causes them to view it as an example of reconstruction, and what do they want to learn from Hiroshima?
The damage and destruction caused by the atomic bombing in Hiroshima had different features from those of cities that suffered air raids by conventional weapons. These characteristics of the damage Hiroshima suffered in the war are closely related to the challenges Hiroshima faced in the process of reconstruction.
First, the mortality rate was higher and the scale of the destruction experienced in Hiroshima was greater than that of other cities and the major facilities concentrated in the city center were completely obliterated. On August 6, 1945, the city of Hiroshima suffered catastrophic damage from atomic bombing. It is said that around 140,000 people (roughly 40% of the population) died within the year of the bombing (1945). Just before the bombing, there were 76,327 buildings in Hiroshima City. Of those, 70,147, roughly 92% of all the buildings were destroyed or burnt. Also, excluding mountains, forests and unused fields, the usable land area of the city was 33,000,000 square meters, of which around 40% was reduced to ashes.
Second, many residents became the victims of radiation exposure from the nuclear weapon and the postwar administration faced a major issue of addressing the radiation damages unique to the atomic bombing.
Third, Hiroshima worked to find a new identity beyond being a military city. This resulted in the city’s successful transformation into an international city of peace culture. Hiroshima had developed as a military city, assuming important military functions ever since the Meiji period. After the defeat in the war and the dismantling of the Imperial Japanese Army, Hiroshima worked at building a new identity under the “Peace Constitution.” The entire local community, including the government administration, economic circles and citizens, worked together for the sake of reconstruction, and various projects involving the political, economic, and cultural sectors were undertaken. As a result, the Hiroshima of today which is defined by “peace” gradually began to take
The following chapters begin with an overview of the modern history of the city, then, Hiroshima from war time until the atomic bombing is described, and then, the manner in which reconstruction and the restart from ruins occurred is traced.

< BackNext >



Inquiries about this page

Hiroshima Prefectural Office

Street address:10-52, Motomachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken, 730-8511