It truly is amazing that Hiroshima was rebuilt after what had happened to it.
We visited the Peace Memorial Park which was built roughly underneath the spot where the bomb detonated. A museum is housed in a flat grey building on stilts, and documents the city and its inhabitants before and after the war, the development of the bomb, the bombing, and the following horrors. The documentation of destruction and human pain is just a punch in the gut. As Hiroshima was mostly built of wood, it was burned to ash by the bomb. Military surveyors took a photographic panorama of the empty plain where formerly a city of 250,000 people stood. There are photographs of people’s backs with the bleeding shadows of their kimono’s patterns burned into their skins from the flash of the explosion. There are series of photographs documenting what the radiation damage did to people in the days and weeks following the bombing. It was just awful to see.
Afterwards we had a long and quiet walk through the park and visited the Peace Memorial, one of the few buildings that survived the bombing. Now, finally, it is also decaying and has to be renovated. Slowly, we regained our ability to smile.