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Day 14 (Monday, 2016-08-22)Temperature: 35dC
|Cornelius leaves Kyoto for Osaka. This is a building that appears to be highly secured very close to the AirBnB the Cone was lodged. It looks like an appartment building surrounded by a tall brick wall with electric fence on top and survailance cameras everywhere. The criminal element in Kyoto is very low as far as the Cone can ascertain - so the defensive structures built around this building are extremely out of place. Unless they are there to prevent something from getting out!!!|
|The Osaka Shinkansen depot.|
The Cone arrived in Shin-Osaka (new-Osaka) Shinkansen train station
where he encountered three fellow Canadians carrying their bikes
Note to fellow travellers - there are actually two Osaka train stations named Osaka and Shin-Osaka. Do not get confused by them. The Osaka loop passes through Osaka train station not through Shin-Osaka.
|One of the official sponsors of this expedition. The liquid contained in the bottle very closely resembles diluted sweat in taste and odour.|
The Museum of Art in Osaka. As it was around 13:00 in the afternoon
Cornelius decided to visit the Osaka Science Museum. However both the
Science Museum and the Art Museum were closed on Mondays. Because the
Cone really wanted to visit a museum it decides to jump on the first
Shinkansen it can get to and travel 300kms to Hiroshima to check out
the Atomic bomb museum there.
With JRs wonderful train scheduled a 600km round trip in the afternoon to see the Atomic Bomb Museum is no big deal.
Cornelius learned to interpret the Shinkansen schedule so it doesn't
need to talk to clerks to learn which trains to get on. On the spur of
the moment the Cone gets on an unreserved car.
The commoners ride on the unreserved cars (most common unreserved cars are 1 through 5). And here one will get a taste of the local social flavour - with rowdy salary men drinking beer and talking loudly about their interests. As almost all seats were occupied and some people were standing the Cone decides in the future it should reserve its seat to allow the local people in the unreserved seats.
Unlike the ride from Tokyo to Osaka the ride from Osaka to Hiroshima is mainly through the mountains. Looking at the countryside while riding the Shinkansen through mountains is somewhat tyring as the train goes in and out of tunnels. The Cone is happy to notice that the Shinkansen cabins are pretty well pressurized as there is no popping of ears when entering/exiting the tunnels at high speed.
|Cornelius' retainers caught napping on the job.|
A hospital along the railway tracks.
Also as many Aeon malls were seen peppering the countryside - the Cone determines that Aeon must be a mall franchise - where other store franchises can open their shops.
The Cone reached Hiroshima and it bee-lined it for the A-Bomb Museum.
Here it is at tha Atomic Dome.
A logistics note if one takes the green or red tourist buses in Hiroshima and they have a JR Pass they don't need to pay the fare, they can just use the JR pass - saves one 400 yen.
|The Cone put together this transition between the glory days of the Hiroshima Prefecture Commercial Exhibition Hall and its condition after A-day. The bomb exploed about 700 meters away from it. Think about what kind of explosion caused this much damage from that far away.|
Note: As described on a plaque at the base of the building.
The building now known as the A-bomb Dome was designed by Czech architect Jan Letzel. Completed in April 1915, the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall soon became a beloved Hiroshima landmark with its distinctive green dome.
While its business functions included commercial research and consulting services and the display and sale of prefectural products, the hall was also used for art exhibitions, fairs, and cultural events.
Through the years, it took on new functions and was renamed the Hiroshima Prefectural Products Exhibition Hall, then the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. As the war intensified, however, the hall was taken over by the Chugoku-Shikoku Public Works Office of the Interior Ministry, the Hiroshima District Lumber Control Corporation, and other government agencies.
At 08:15, August 6, 1945, an American B29 bomber carried out the world's first atomic bombing. The bomb exploded approximately 600 meters above and 160 meters southeast of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, ripping though and igniting the building, instantly killing everyone in it.
Because the blast struck from almost directly above, some of the center walls remained standing, leaving enough of the building and iron frame to be recognizable as a dome.
After the war, these dramatic remains came to be know as the A-bomb Dome.
For many years, public opinions about the dome remained divided. Some felt it should be preserved as a memorial to the bombing, while others thought it should be destroyed as a dangerously dilapidated structure evoking painful memories.
As the city was rebuilt and other A-bombed buildings vanished, the voices calling for preservation gathered strength. In 1966, the Hiroshima City Conuncil passed a resolution to preserve the A-bomb Dome, which led to a public fundraising campaign to finance the construction wrok. Donations poured in with wishes for peace from around Japand and overseas, making the first preservation project possible in 1967.
Several preservation projects have since been carried out to ensure that the dome will always look as it did immediately after the bombing.
In December 1996, the A-bomb Dome was registered on the World Herritage List as a historical witness conveying the horror of the first use of a nuclea weapon, and as a world peace monument appealing continually for lasting peace and the abolition of such weapons.
To help protect the dome, the national government designated tha rea around it as a historic site under the Cultural Properties Protection Act, with a large area in and aournd Peace Memorial Park set aside as a buffer zone.
|Cornelius instructed one of the Retainers to indicate the location of the detonation. The Retainer botched the naration at the end - the Cone was displeased.|
|Hiding in a stone at the A-Dome.|
|This is the memorial for students that died in Hiroshima. It appears that many students were present in the city at the time of the detonation helping with the war effort - these humans never got to experience adult life because of the infatuation of some leaders towards ruling over a part of the world.|
In the center of the image is the Hiroshima Banker's Club which was 200
meters away from the hypocenter. The Banker's Club building protected
the gravestones in the cemetery next to it from the blast - they were
It is the strong opinion of the Cone that because most of the city was made out of wood - it suffered devastating damage. Both due the wood igniting from the radiation and the shock-wave of the blast obliterating the flimsy wood constructions. Reinforced concrete buildings fared slightly better - though whatever was in line of sight of the bomb got incinerated.
Description of a bomb survivor
Note: From the A-Bomb Museum the Cone got the notes of one of the survivors.
Yasaka Hideo (male, age at the time of the bombing 56, Chugoku Branch, Damage Insurance Control Association)
At the height of the "Great East Asia War" (the Pacific War), I served as a department manager at a damage insurance company, and then became manager of the Kobe Branch of the Damage Insurance Control Association just in response to a request. Because situations of the war, though favorable to us at first, was gradually worsening, and there was no guarantee that the Japanese mainland would remain intact. It was thought that, in the event regions in the mainland lost contact with each other, and independent control organization would be necessary in each region, so the Association decided to establish a Chugoku Branch in Hiroshima. This would be, responsible for five prefectures in the Chugoku region, partly on the the authorities' advice. On that occasion, after considering my course of action, I determined to come to Hiroshima, mainly aiming to follow national policy and additionally hoping for a simple kind of evacuation. After I came to Hiorshima in April 1944 to establish the branch, I devoted myself to duties of damage insurance control and war risks insurance services, and kept close contact with the Hiroshima Finance Bureau, FInance Ministry, to develop and disseminate my expertise.
However, the naval battle off Taiwan led to the fall of Okinawa, and more and more cities in the mainland also suffered air raids. With many cities in the Chugoku region, including Tokuyama, bombed, there were fears of an attack against Hiroshima, and the entire area of Nakajima-hon-machi, where I lived, was designated as an area from which residents must be evacuated. That is why I moved to Kaminagarekawa-cho on July 27, 1945.
Around 8 in the morning on August 6, an air raid alert was issued, so I stayed at home. After a while, the alert was called off, and I went out on the porch for a rest, removed my outdoor clothes, and looked at a newspaper. At that moment, I saw as huge a fire pillar as a utility pole hundres of meters away from me and I felt pain deep in my eyeballs. While thinking it was something severe, I stood up and almost went one or two steps backward before I felt a stick shaped thing sticking through my belly on the right side and reaching the depth of my bowels. I also found myself under the collapsed house.
Because I was suddently caught under the collapsed two storey house, I was unable to see anything in the dark, and I was trapped by boards, and other pieces of wood. I lost control over my body, unable to move in any direction, and did not know what to do, closing my eyes while thinking my life had almost been lost, and all I could do was wait for death. About seven or eight minutes later, I opened my eyes and saw a dim light entering the dark. I heard my wife calling for help from outdoors (I later knew she had been in the one-storey building, and had escaped between debris of the roof despite her injuries). So my desire to live encouraged me to try to move my body to the right and left with all my strength, though I was unable to do so. I tried to move forward, stretching my body little by little, and I found I could move only a small distance. I made every possible effort to move forward, for about 10 minutes. I think human vitality is tremendous, and during these minutes I was able to move forward nearly 90 centimeters, but the piles of wood, wall plaster, and roof tiles prevented me from moving further. When I was entirely exhausted and knew there was nothing I could do, I heard a voice oudoors. It was my wife, who had asked three female students at Hiroshima Jogakui to help her remove wood and obstacles over my head. She encouraged me to come out of the small hole in the pile of debirs. Since I was soon exposed to the air, I concentrated all my energy to escape, and finally succeeded in doing so. I was extremely happy about this.
Although at first I thought that the bomb had exploded within a short distance and the damaged area would not be so large, I was surprised to unexpectedly find the entire city destroyed as far as I could see, except for a few reinforced concrete buildings seen standing in clouds of dust and sand. I also saw black smoke rising in the air from some spots. While fortunately there was no fire in my house, nearby houses were already burning, and I thought it would be extremely difficult for me in this condition to help neighbors from those burning houses. I decided to evacuate to a safer place, and tried to stand up, but I was unable to do so because of bruise pain in the lower back. I tried again in vain, I continued tyring again and again to stand up, summoning my courage, but it was hopless, due to my broken lower back. During these moments, the fire from a neighboring house was reaching my home, with black smoke getting thicker, so I found myself in an emergency situation. However, though having escaped the debris, there was no way for me to escape further, so, with no other choice than to resign myself to my fate, I told my wife to leave me.
However, she did not seem to be willing to leave that place, so I told her again to leave me, scolding, "As I always say, your effort to help somoene else will kill yourself. I am prepared to die. Leave this place immediately. That is for the sake of our children." Then, my wife, who had trouble with her heart and was ordinarily not in good condition, suddenly grabbed and pulled my right hand without saying a word, and bore my right arm on her shoulder, to drag my body by force about 50 to 70 meters away from our collapsed house. We took a breather, and looked back: terrifingly, our house was already engulfed by black smoke.
Although in the heat of summer, I inwardly shuddered to realize that a paper-thin barrier separated the life and death of us mortals. My strong attachment to life and my wife's words of encouragement enabled me to wholeheartedly move to the Shukkeien Garden (Sentei) about 200 meters away from our house. I remember seeing crowds moving toward the suburbs, but I think we were relieved to suceed in escaping to that place, and mentally exhausted; both of us fell down on the lawn near the pond and fainted.
When searing heat woke me up, I found buildings in the garden burning. Because the excess heat and black smoke were too fierce and suffocating for me to endure, I shook my wife awake. We jumped into the crotch-deep pond, and hid in the water under the lee of a small island about 10 meters away from dry land, with my mind occupied with the intention of escaping danger. At that time, two soldiers suffering burns, wearing nothing but military caps and shoes, reached this island and complained about chest pain probably cause by inhaling poison. Three hours later, one of the soldiers dies after asking his fellow to report to the First Infantry Supply Corps (104th Chugoku Unit), Chugoku Regional Military District, that he, Seargent -, died at that place. I felt sad about that.
In this garden, there were many plants, including large pine trees and bamboo grooves, around the pond about 200 meters in diameter. The fire spread to the bamboo groves, and the garden was filled with the noise of burning bamboos, which sounded like firecrackers. Flames erupted from the trunks of pine trees, and innumerable burning wooden posts were fanned and dropped down on our heads by violent winds. Although I heard heartbreaking cries from different places, including women's screams for help and people's cries for water to relieve their thirst, no one tried to help them. No one could escape, and they gathered around corpses here and there. I also saw a mother franatically crying, with her dead baby in her arms. I have no words to describe the situation. After a while, dark thumb-size drops of rain started to fall, and strong winds began to blow. Violent winds grew into tornados, which threw columns of water up into the air with massive power. They dragged various objects up from the ground, including blocks and chips of wood, roof tiles, and tatami mats. People had to push away corpses, whichere swirld up by tornados. The cries, odors, and misery of hell were beyond description. After a number of hours, during which I was scared to death, thinking hell couldn't be more terrible than this, the winds and the fire calmed down. I breathed a sigh of relief, and returned to the shore of the pond while avoiding drowned bodies. I landed on the lawn, where I had previously been. There, I saw the piles of corpses.
I heard someone with a megaphone announcing that a relief party was in the Eastern Drill Ground, so I left for that place with my feet wound with rope. I was injured by the burning remains of the building. Arriving at the place where the relief party was posted when the sun was already setting, I had a Mercurochrome and a bandace applied. The sun had set, but I had no place to sleep. I looked more miserable than a hobo, just wearing a bloodstained half-torn-off shirt and knee-long underpants. Although I tried to sleep outside for the first time in my life, covering my belly with the torn-off straw mat I had picked up, I was unable to sleep, due to the cries of pain uttered by injured people. In the depth of the night, I saw fires becoming more fierce near the area in front of Hiroshima Station, and across the entire Ushita area, and it seemed as if those areas were in broad daylight, not the darkness of night. I saw an enenmy aircraft flying low, and heard someone announcing an alert, but there was nothing to take cover in, like trees, in the grasslands around me. Prepared to die in case I was shot, I closed my eyes, and waited for the morning. I reached the state where I was free of thoughts.
Day broke. Under the brilliant sunlight, many people came to the aid station to receive medical treatment. Most of them, lying down on the grasslands in the sweltering heat, seemed to have no energy to complain about pain, so it looked as if they were dead. I joined these people with my wife's help, and waited for my turn, for about three hours, to receive treatment, during which time a person next to me died. Although I felt sick with the putrid smell from that person's body every time I happned to touch the cold body, I had no choice but to bear such suffering, because I was unable to move without he help of my wife, who had gone to receive food, and draw water.
Since I thought that our daughter, who had been evacuated from Hiroshima, would return to our home, around noon I started for the ruins of the burnt house with my wife. On the way, we saw members of nearby volunteer fire corps and yout organizations going to rescue survivors, and people looking for their fathers, mothers and other loved ones. A man of around 40, wearing a cap with blue lines, proably of senior rank in a volunteer fire corp, came from behind us, and kindly asked us some questions about our situation. I answered, "Since our house was burnt, we lost everything, including clothing and money, but lif, as you see." I wonder what he thought. He suddenly inserted something into the front of my wife's clothes and said, "I'm afraid it's just a small amount." My wife was suprised and said, "This is money. We have no reason to receive such a thing from him," trying to run after him a five-yen bill in her right and, though there wa no way that we, severely injured, were able to catch up with him, a man seemingly in good health. Looking at him from a distance with respect, I realized that I really looked like a hobo. I had a piece of a torn-off straw mat in my left arm and a rag in my right hand, with my entire body covered with clotted blood. My eyes dimmed with tears.
When we took a rest near the ruins of our burnt house, or daughter returned, so we rejoiced at our survival. After that, we tried to leave for Nagatsuka, Gion-cho, Asa-gun, where my daughter had evacuated, but we were unable to go farther from the bank of the Otagawa River in Misasa. After some hour of waiting, while lying down, Mr. Akita, a Hiroshima Higher Normal School student who was working under the wartime student mobilization scheme, arrivd with a two-wheeled handcart. We took a ride on the handcart to Nagatsuka. To join us on the handcart, my daughter hid her bright white clothes with another piece of clothes. On board, we could hear passersby saying, "It's a pity," "They are victims," and "Corpses are being carried again." We finally arrived at our destination. I realized the value of tatami mats, and I also felt pain from innumerable wounds, which I had not felt the previous day. I had more than 20 pieces of broken glass removed from the back of my head, and I was told there were 40 scratches and cuts on my back. People als tried to count wound on my face and belly, but listening to them talk about my injuries was too much to bear, so I stopped them and just lay down. I went to the youth school in Gion, which was being used as an aid station, by the handcart every day, while barely supporting my life on meals of rice balls, provided at the aid station.
This aid station had admitted many people suffering burns, most of whom would soon die. Among them, some patients had festering wounds, which were infested with maggots, emitted offensive odors, and made the patients look dejected. While I observed that the number of survivinng patients was declining every day, August 15 soon came.
Since the radio in the morning had said that important news would be announce on the air, I switched the radio back on around noon. Then, I was surprised at the voice of His Majesty the Emperor, who announced the defeat of Japan. Soon after I finished listening to the announcement, thinking I couldn't believe my ears, tears flowed endlessly down my cheeks. I considered our furious fighting to live in wartime up until that day and wounds I had just received. My wife and daughter probably thought the same thing as I; they were also moved to tears.
At that time, I was also commisssioned to work for the Finance Ministry. Although I had to carry out important tasks in the case of an emergency, I was unable to properly use my body, owing to my injuries. Three staff members had died at the moment of the bomb attack, two of whom were killed together with all their family members. Therefore, I was forced to ask Mr. Aratani, branch manager at Nihon Fir Insurance, Co., Ltd., and Mr. Kosaki, branch manager at Dowa Fire & Marine Insurance, Co., Ltd., to work on my behalf in the Bank of Japan Hiroshima Branch. Around August 20, I began to go to the bank by truck, wearing my daughter's monpe (loose work pants) and straw sandals, accompanied by my wife. With the help of Mr. Date, Director of Hiroshima Finance Bureau, Finance Ministry, and executives of the Bank of Japan Hiroshima Branch, including Mr Yoshikawa, manager of the branch, with a bandage wrapped around the upper part of his head, I was able to mobilize the surviving employees of casualty insurance companies, to conduct war damage surveys and to start the payment of war insurance claims.
After the days passed, and September came, there were still rotting human bodies, horses, and cattle, and grotesque pieces of meat here and there, in the areas between Tokaichi and Kamiya-cho, I was going to work, witnessing such wretched spectacles and smelling foul odors. One day, I asked Mr. K, who had unusually been absent a few days, the reason for his absence, and he answered, "My child, who had suffered from injuries, died, but there is no laborer or crematory available in such a situation. So I had no other choice than to make up my mind and burn the body of the child with my own hands. I was unable to stop the tears, thinking about my child." I wondered what I could say to console him. All I could do was listen to him in silence. I was unabl to find any words to truly express my sympathy and pity for him. Around the middle of September, I found purple spots on my belly and crotch, so I went to see a doctor, who said that, because I had got glucose and vitamin shots in both arms and thighs every day and was severly anemic, I should eat chiken or beef liver, and fresh fruits. When I asked him if I would survive, he said that it was difficult to judge it because no one had experienced an A-bomb attack before us, but, with these spots as danger signs, he could guarantee that I would live another week or more. Thse days, and injectiona and a chicken both cost 100 yen each, and the lack of necessary supplies prevented me from obtaining both. Additionally, I also had no money to spare. Remembering learning from my desperate experience that death was not worth worrying about if we had no attachment to life, I thought that it would be wiser to enjoy leaving this world whil drinking alcohol, though I was not a heavy drinker, than to die in trouble by nfinancially overdoing things. On the same day, I was determined to stop receiving medical and medicinal treatment, and to rely only on my mental strenght, and resign myself to my fate - I know it sounds like going agains commonsense. Ignoring my wife's and daughter's attempts to stop me drinking. I spent one entire week drinking: dinking, then sleeping, then waking up, and drinking, and so on. Then, wondrously the pots gradually faded away, and I was told there were no serious problems. I thing that is becasue alcohol helped improved my blood circulationa nd eliminated toxic substances from my body, resulting in my good sleep, and recovery from mental and physical fatigue, so that I became able to carry out my daily duties.
In December, I got better and better, but pain in the lower back prevented me from walking around. That is why I left for Beppu, a famous spa town. I went to Onken (the hospital attached to the then Research Institude of Balneotherapeutics, Kyushu University; present-day Kyushu University Beppu Hospital) to see a doctor, while striving to cure myself by taking a hot-spring cure. However, I then suffered severe neuralgic pain in my damaged lower back, and was unable to walk for one month. After the days of acupuncture treatment and living with disabilities, moxa treatment eventualy helped me begin to recover. During those days, I talked to Mr. Nagaoka, a member of the Beppu municipal assembly, and his relatives, about the A-bomb's impact on Hiroshima, in response to their request. They seemed to be unable to understand the realities, because they had not experienced that bomb. At that time, I saw Mr. Ken Muto, former Director of Dunlop, who had been evacuated to Beppu. He was happy to meet me again, and said with humor, "I knew you liked eating food which have just come into season, but I'm very suprised that you 'ate' such a thing as the A-Bomb." He certainly reoiced at my survival. I also met Mr. Takeo Naka who was working at the Oita District Court, whom I had known since he served as a judge at the Osaka Court of Appeal. He asked me where I had been at the time of the A-bomb attack, so I answered that I had been 1,070 meters away from ground zero. Then, he firmly held my right hand and cheerfully said, "Oh I'm glad you survived!" Since I saw many old friends feel happy to see me alive, and my wounds were gradulally healing, I felt eternal gratitude for my survival. However I prayed for my friends who were killed by the bomb, remember them when they had been alive.
In March of the New Year, we held a joint memorial service for A-bomb victims in the casualty insurance industry, with the attendance of all casualty company employees and surviving members of the victims' families, at Sengyoji Tmple, Ujina. Mr. Kawato a depertment manager at the Hiroshima Financial Bureau, read a condolence message on behalf of the director, and I also respectuflly expressed my condolences, bowing before the spirits of the dpearted, to honor their memory.
As time went by, I gradually became well enough to undergo a surgical operation in the Ujina National Hospital in December 1947, which enabled me to recover. My belly was opened and a piece of glass was removed, about 4.5 centimeters long.
Because I had no friends in the rural areas, I had evacuated our household possessions to two houses, which were surrounded by an extensive open space in the Misasa area, Hiroshima City, and a Dobashi storehouse, which had seemed to me safer than my house. But all those buildings and things were burnt. The dissolution of the Damage Insurance Control Association in the following year took away all of my social status, which I had accumulated over the past 30 years. As a result, I no longer have anything left, nothing else that could be taken away from me. I cannot afford to gain our subsistene by selling possessions little by little. However, I feel extremely happy to be both mentally and physically able, even though I am living at the bottom of society.
Thinking retrospectively, I hope that our offsprings will never experience such a tragedy as that we experienced, which destroyed the valuable lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and a massive amount of wealth. Moreover, with my love of mankind, I sincerely say, "No more Hiroshimas," hoping that such misery will never occur at any point on the globe.
In conclusion, I would like to add my views about the war damaged areas in Chugoku region I inspected, and my experience of the disaster in Hiroshima. It is needless to say that, at that time, severe damage was caused by air raids and the A-bomb. However, taking into account the massive number of victims, and seeing such a wide stretch of areas which continued to burn day and night, I have found out that a cause of such severe damage had been spreading fires through buildings made from wood. That is because I instinctively thought damage could have been minimized if buildings had had noncombustible construction, instead of being made with wood and paper. Since Hiroshima is on the way to reconstruction, I would like to go a step further to insist that, in addition to extending the width of roads and creating greenbelts, the city should be reconstructed as a "noncombustible city" to qualify as a true peaceful city - able to protect lives and properties from unexpected disasters, including earthquakes and fires. I believe that this should be a grand design for the city, to reward A-bomb victims. I hope to sggest this vision to political leaders and academics.
|The area around the hypocenter of the detonation is now very peaceful - nature appears to have quickly rebounded after the devastation of the explosion. Within a year plants were taking over the destroyed neighbourhoods - this is probably because plants with their multiple copy of each chromosome can survive radiation damage much better than animals. It also helped that the locals designated the area as a park.|
|Cone offering it's respect at the A-bomb memorial.|
|At the base of the museum overlooking the park looking north.|
|Mother protecting her children - statue at the A-bomb park.|
And with that the Cone ran out of time and had to return to Osaka. Here
it captured an image of one of the gas stations in the city. The
gasoline dispensing nozzles are haning from the ceiling of the station.
Also the Cone theorizes that the rebuilding of Hiroshima after the war resulted in many fewers overhead electrical wires as compared to Tokyo.
|Riding the Shinkansen at night is an experience in itself. It seems Japan is prettier at night than during the day - except for the parks and gardens.|
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