A New Generation Inherits the Memories of Hiroshima’s Atomic Bomb

Photos by Ari Beser Masaaki Murakami stands at his post in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome with a picture showing the human remains that are still underneath Hiroshima City today.

“Everyone of my friends think I’m strange,” says Masaaki Murakami, 22. “I laugh at that, but I don’t refute it. I know it’s strange. In Japan, no one is interested in the past. But people don’t understand: the past is connected to the future.”

Murakami spends every free day he can as a volunteer guide in Hiroshima’ Peace Memorial Park. He stands at the iconic atomic bomb dome, meters away from the hypocenter of the atomic bomb. He and a few English-speaking Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors in Japanese) share information to park visitors. Some of the details in their pamphlets, they claim, can’t be found in the Peace Memorial Museum.

The youngest member of a group comprised of both first- and second-generation Hibakusha, Murakami has no family connection with the atomic bomb; but he is passionate about spreading the messages of the survivors to what he views as a passive generation of Japanese youth.

“In Japan, we all learn about the old history like the Tokugawa shogunate, and even about the atomic bomb as an evil act inflicted on Japan, but we don’t get a lot of information about other perspectives outside of Japan, like for example the European side of World War II,” he says.

Countless students come to Hiroshima on school trips. Everyday people pose in front of the atomic bomb dome, tour the museum, even play around in the park and potentially miss the point of what happened here. Two years ago I myself was an intern at the Peace Memorial Museum, and I witnessed similar phenomena. Murakami explained to me, “I don’t —> Read More