of the Hibakusha (Atom Bomb Survivors). Essay by artist,
6th, 2011, marks the 68th
anniversary of the Atomic Bombing of Japan. This collection
of art was created by the Japanese who were at the cities
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki... and lived to paint and draw
their memories on canvas and paper.
Left: "Evening Glow over Hiroshima" ]
August 6th. 1945, at precisely 8:15 in the morning, the
U.S. detonated an Atomic Bomb over the city of Hiroshima.
Three days later on August 9th, at precisely 11:02 in the
morning - a second Bomb was exploded over the city of Nagasaki.
The Japanese called it pikadon (flash-boom). There
was a blinding flash of light brighter than the sun, followed
by a tremendous shock wave and a searing blast of heat.
Huge poisonous mushroom clouds ascended into the sky and
a deadly radioactive black rain fell. Those at the center
of the blasts were incinerated, leaving only their shadows
behind. Others were crushed flat by the concussion of the
blasts. Those within a mile and a half of the explosions
died from unimaginable burns and intense radiation.
the thumbnails for the full picture and explanatory text
who survived the blasts became known as hibakusha
(Atom Bomb Survivors). Weeks after the explosions, even
those who where uninjured began to succumb to a terrible
plague. Those affected would loose their hair and purple
spots would erupt on their skin. Vomiting, diarrhea, and
uncontrollable bleeding from the gums was followed by death.
At the time the Japanese did not realize they were dying
from radiation sickness, instead they imagined they were
in some Buddhist Hell. The atomic age began in 1945 with
the pulverizing of two major urban centers and the vaporization
of some 200,000 human beings. Sadly, hibakusha in Japan
are still dying today from their radiation induced
sicknesses and wounds.
6th, 2011, marks the 68th Anniversary of the atomic bombings
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Solemn commemorations will take
place in a world now bristling with thousands of nuclear
weapons. The USA, Russia, Britain, France, Israel, China,
North Korea, and Pakistan
all possess weapons of mass destruction many times more
powerful than the bombs dropped on Japan. Another arms race
has started, with the Obama
administration having conducted tests to "examine
the effectiveness of its nuclear weapons" and controversies
surrounding Iran's likely pursuit of acquiring nuclear weapons.
Any use of such weapons would result in untold civilian
paintings comprising this exhibition are sober reminders
of the reality of atomic warfare, created by people who
actually lived through an atomic holocaust. The artworks
came about in 1974, when a survivor presented a hand drawn
picture to the office of Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK
- Japan Broadcasting Corporation). That single drawing was
broadcast on Japanese television and soon a flood of
thousands of drawings by other hibakusha began to arrive
at the offices of NHK. An exhibition of the collected paintings
and drawings was mounted at the Peace Culture Center
of Hiroshima in 1975, and since that time the artworks have
been compiled into several books and traveling exhibitions.
of those materials were placed into my hands in 1984, when
I had the great honor of meeting Barbara Reynolds. Miss
Reynolds (who passed away in 1990) was a Quaker peace activist
who had lived in Hiroshima for some 15 years. She was devoted
to the cause of world peace and dedicated much of her life's
work to spreading the message of the hibakusha. Miss Reynolds
entrusted me with a rare copy of a book little known in
the West, Hiroshima Nagasaki - A Pictorial Record of
the Atomic Destruction. (published in Japan in 1978
by the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Publishing Committee). That book
is an exhaustive, encyclopedic work that details in chilling
photographs what actually occured at ground zero in Hiroshima
and Nagasaki (some of the hibakusha artworks contained in
the book form the basis for this exhibition).
Reynolds also assisted me in bringing the hibakusha artworks
to the United States. With her gracious help I was able
to mount a Los Angeles Gallery Exhibition in 1984 of some
50 hibakusha artworks (a few of those images also appear
on these pages). The
majority of artworks presented here were created by non-professional
artists, with the exception being three selections by Iri
and Toshi Maruki.
established artists at the time of the bombings, Iri and
Toshi traveled to Hiroshima three days after the blast,
and what they found forever change their lives. The artists
were haunted by the unbelievable carnage, and three years
later they began to draw and paint the hell they had glimpsed.
The result of their efforts were the monumental Hiroshima
Panels, one of the most profound works of art from the
20th Century. Every bit as impressive as Picasso's famous
mural, Guernica, the panels by the Maruki's (now
deceased), are on display in a special museum located in
history of the Hiroshima Panels. An excellent overview
of the antiwar murals created by artists Iri and Toshi Maruki.
Hiroshima Panels museum in Japan houses the magnificent
murals created by Iri and Toshi Maruki. The museum is in
need of financial assistance in order to stay open. Please
consider making a contribution to this important cultural
webpage of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
webpage of the Japanese A-Bomb Museum.
the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombings, the United
States sent film crews to record the destruction.
The resulting footage was so shocking that the U.S. kept
the film secret for 30 years - fearing that it would cast
doubt upon its use of atomic bombs. In July of 2011, Greg
Mitchell published a book on the subject titled "Atomic
Cover-Up: Two U.S. Soldiers, Hiroshima & Nagasaki and The
Greatest Movie Never Made". Google pulled the book's
online video trailer advertisment, claiming that it "promotes
violence." The Raw
Story website covered the controversy.
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