A visit to Hiroshima

25th July, 2015 09:34:55 printer

A visit to Hiroshima

On 29 April, 2008 I boarded on the Malaysia Airlines to reach the Kansai International Airport, Japan to attend a seminar and workshop held in Hiroshima. That was my very first visit to the outside of the subcontinent. I was a bit excited to visit one of the most advanced countries of the world, furthermore as my destination was Hiroshima I was being thrilled to see how the city has all the way been dealing with its unforgettable worst memories of the warfare.
My flight touched the runway of the Kansai Airport in the morning at 7:15 on 30th March. The airport was crowded with passengers, I saw, in several queues, people from different parts of the world were waiting to check out. I was in the middle of a queue, as I had an official Japanese visa I showed my passport to an immigration service man, on seeing the visa he brought me to the immigration officer—he completed all the formalities shortly. Upon completing the immigration procedure, I was looking for the train station, at that very moment a cute immigration police officer came to me and asked how she could be of help to me. She was very cooperating and helpful and gave much time to find out the bullet train station and took my photos inside the airport. Moreover, as the ticket counter man could not understand English, the police officer extended her hands towards me in buying tickets. On the contrary, what is happening in our airports, immigration police with all other supporting staffs are very rough and uncouth to the passengers, especially to those Bangladeshi workers who are earning important remittance for the country. Nobody knows when the staffs will be generous and kind to these people! From the Hiroshima rail station I took a taxi to Mitsui Garden Hotel. Upon reaching there my jet lag condition drove me to the bed—I just jumped in the bed. I took a long sleep.

On the next day at the workshop, I met colleagues from Mongolia, Tajikistan, China, Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, India, and Pakistan. During my stay, I tried to cover the main tourist attraction of Hiroshima like Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Atomic-bomb Dome and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. The peace park is a memorial park located in the center of Hiroshima. It is dedicated to the memory of the world-war victims of the city.
Hiroshima was the first city in the world to suffer a nuclear attack, and the number of the bomb's direct and indirect victims was 140,000. The plan and design of the park was done by famous Japanese Architect Kenzo Tange. In the center of the park a saddle-shaped monuments cover the cenotaph holding the names of the victims of that tragic incident. The epitaph written on the cenotaph is in Japanese—English translation is like "Let all the souls here rest in peace for we shall not repeat the evil." Here, the Japanese did not put any controversial word to avoid political debate, they did not accuse Americans. In the epitaph "we" refers to "all humanity," and that the "error" is the "evil of war." The memorial is aligned to the A-bomb Dome. The purpose of the Peace Memorial Park is to memorialize the victims, as well as to establish the memory of nuclear horrors and advocate world peace.
In the evening on that day I visited Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall situated beside the park. Here, one can get down to the underground hall and sit for some while in remembrance of the victims. The most attracted site of the Hiroshima city is the A-bomb Dome. It is also known as   Genbaku Dome. The dome was the only structure left standing in the area where the first atomic bomb exploded on 6 August 1945. Through the efforts of many people, including those of the city of Hiroshima, it has been preserved in the same state as immediately after the bombing had happened. Not only it is a stark and powerful symbol of the most destructive force ever created by human; it also expresses the hope for world peace and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons.
However, I got a very rare opportunity to get inside into the A-bomb Dome. But, before entering I had to put a helmet on my head. Really, that was a thrilling and rare experience! The relics of the poor victims of the city dwellers are being displayed and kept in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, so it is a must visit for those who want to visit Hiroshima. The exhibits of the museum are presenting the darkest episode of human civilization. After seeing all the displays, one could realize why all nuclear weapons have to be banned. One thing is very interesting, I had noticed, direct and indirect victims of the war and the senior citizens are very sensitive to the issue of preserving war-heritage, but the new generation is a bit indifferent to the memories and related heritage. However, one thing I should share with the readers that at a reception, I met a war-victim-poet, I was very lucky to have her autographed book titled “Against Nuclear Weapons.”

 

Dr. Mokammal H. Bhuiyan, Professor and Chairman, Dept. of Archaeology, Jahangirnagar University
[email protected]

 


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