The Melting Heat of Summer, Hiroshima

It was terribly hot while we were strolling the Peace Memorial Garden in Hiroshima, Japan.

The sun’s radiation just come directly on us.

There was no place to hide.

All we can do was to walk over to the fountain, in the hope that the water will cool us down, at least a little bit.DSCF0270

I took this photo. The water was gushing up and the buildings behind seemed melting down.

Was this not the feeling some 69 years ago when the first atomic bomb – the Little Fat Boy was dropped at the same place.

Buildings and people in the vicinity of the bomb site just melted; some 70,000 people perished immediately.DSCF0271

Not far from the fountain is this statute showing a woman trying to protect her children from the atomic storm – one in her arm and one clinging behind her.

This clearly shows the great love exhibited by all mothers in the world- to protect their children from all dangers even this means sacrificing themselves.

I never, for one minute, doubt that the Japanese people love peace. They see themselves as the only race harmed by nuclear bomb. They feel very sorrowful about it.

But Japanese are very obedient and follow whatever their country leaders required them to do. During WWII when Hong Kong was invaded by Japanese, a Japanese officer explained to my mom, who was still a young girl at the time, that they didn’t want to invade – they were just following the order of their Heavenly King!

Japanese feel sorrowful about the deaths in their own country in WWII but have never said sorry to the any countries invaded by them in the war or pay any damages. Neither have they admitted to any wrong doings. Even now, they are denying the history of “comfort women” and play down the massacres in China, especially those in Nanjing.

Just yesterday their Prime minster Abe looked sorrowful in the ceremony on the 69th anniversary of the nuclear bomb explosion in Hiroshima, but he has recently just opened the Pandora Box – he is empowering the Japanese army so that he is able to send them overseas to combat under the new Constitution – in spite of objections from their fellow countrymen. Make war for peace???



52 thoughts on “The Melting Heat of Summer, Hiroshima

  1. Troubling. Where would the world be today if the allies had not vanquished the Nazi regime of Germany or the imperial Japanese army? There is always collateral damage in war but the alternative could be much more costly.

  2. Thanks for your perspective on Hiroshima. My father was a WWII Vet–served in China-India-Burma. I believe like you–in that, those who deny the mistakes of history, are bound to repeat them.

  3. Unfortunately there will always be a war somewhere. The ordinary people are always the one who will suffer – no matter which side. Thanks for your great post.

  4. Powerful thoughts, Michael. Our human nature does not like admitting wrong, or asking forgiveness, does it? But I wonder how much of the oriental desire/need to ‘save face’ enters into this lack of their failure to face up to what they did. Any thoughts?

    • Save face is a big factor (we Chinese do that as well). The Japanese never admit they were defeated. On the day the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima , they thought the Americans were doing a witchcraft on them. They are not a straight forward nation. They believe if they don’t admit defeat, they are not defeated and if they change their history books, their new generation and the world will forget this. Abe now wants to sell weapons to boost their economy, one of his three arrows for economic revival, this goes hand in hand with his strengthening his army.

    • Thanks for responding. Cultures are fascinating, and we can better understand a people’s behavior when we have a bit of background. But nothing changes the fact that all nations have things they need to repent of, does it?

  5. I’m a historian. Every culture writes its own history to put itself in the best possible light. The US, the UK, China, not just Japan. Every nation in war does things that are bad. Every nation treats certain groups of people in society badly. Nobody actually learns from history, because humans are self centred. We look at events in the past and think “I would never do that” and then another country threatens our country and nationalism takes over. Your perspective on Japan’s actions against HK stem from you being from HK. How do you feel about actions China takes against countries like Tibet, Michael? It’s a tricky one, holding nation states to account, isn’t it? Abe is a worrying character, but in times of recession, in capitalist countries, the Right (Nationalists) rise to power. Only people of conscience can stop the rise of people like Abe.

    As for Hiroshima, we met a Hibakusha last time we were there. She was full of grace and forgiveness. I learned more from her than from history books about what it means to be a survivor of war.

    • I am glad that you write. The extent of a country is always in dispute. Chinese cannot claim to many parts of Europe just because Genghis Khan once invaded it. I am not sure whether I should call Tibet a country. For my acquaintance with Japanese people, I am sure that they are a peace loving people. Maybe, I should not talk anymore on this subject as my blog is mainly for posting travel photos and my psychological / physical journey into different places.

    • No, it is good to talk about these things, even important. Any visit to Hiroshima makes talking about Japan’s role in World War Two unavoidable, because Hiroshima presents itself in the context of that conflict. As a historian, though, I always feel compelled to point out that one culture’s history isn’t necessarily the whole picture and we should look at things from other perspectives before sitting in judgement. The Peace Memorial Museum is an example of a Japanese attempt to present the facts of the conflict, as uncomfortable as that might be for Japanese people who are taught something different in school. I also read something recently about the treatment of Japan by the US and the UK when Japan was their ally in World War One (it wasn’t good treatment – it was racist treatment) that suggests one reason for Japan becoming an enemy of the US and UK in World War Two. Everything is connected. This is what we should learn from history, but rarely do. As you allude to in the story your mum told you, history is about people. I think that gets forgotten in official texts.

    • Thanks Mrs. Hick for writing again. It is true that everything is connected and the learning or otherwise from history leads us one way or another. But it is not uncommon that the leaders of countries do not always follow the will of its people. This is easily explainable for non-democratic countries, many leaders do not follow the will of its people even in democratic countries and some countries just impose their way of dealing with things on other countries.

    • This is true. That’s what happens when the Right rises to power in democratic countries. They tend to campaign on issues that are popular with many, but then put into action policies with which many disagree. Abe is doing that. Cameron is doing that here in the UK. As a socialist, I am biased against the Right though! 😊

    • It didn’t started off as a travel photo blog but have become one. But still, my travels may ignite some thoughts in me and I may like to write about 🙂

    • Also, I chose Tibet as an example because I know that in China it isn’t considered a separate country. But people who live in Tibet might think differently. People in the West certainly think Tibet should be “free”, whatever that means. Everyone has their own viewpoint, and rarely is anyone completely ” right”.

  6. A very moving contemplation upon peace. We cannot become peaceful as humanity as long as we lie to ourselves about the past, and the terrible impacts of war.
    I have always felt sadly about America’s use of the bomb in Japan to end the war. I believe it was good that America stopped Hitler and Japan, and helped to rebuild their countries after the war, but we became too much of a warrior nation since that time for my liking. I pray for peace in the world every day so that we find better uses for our power than destruction.

    • Hi Karen, the intervention of the US in many countries, although for good cause, does not turn out any good for that country or for the world as a whole. We need to keep praying until our prayers are heard!

  7. a very sad part of this world’s history and so many conflicting ideals from it – these places to remember the past and what we humans are capable of doing are very important. Beautiful words in your post Michael.

    • Hi Jenn, it is important for a country learn from past history as for an individual to learn from his / her past experience. This seems so logical but few country or individual would actually follow it!

  8. The Japanese have done horrific things in China, Korea and Australians have also had a taste of their brutality.
    Be reminded all nations have past histories stained by inhumane deeds.
    People need to stop taking orders mindlessly from misguided leaders.
    While bombs that kill indiscriminately, are dropped out of fear, on the orders of some patriotic puppet, whose strings are being pulled by some power hungry greedy psychopath.
    Racial hate will persist.
    The enemy is the fear, anger and hate with in each and everyone of us.
    We all bleed the one colour and feel pain what we do not feel is compaction.
    Overcome fear, hate and the sheep like mentality, replace it with love and thoughtful consideration.
    This will never be come a universal cure but individually it can bring peace, _/\_

  9. Reblogged this on The Mereon Legacy DiaBLOGue and commented:
    Seeing the images on Michael Lai’s blog brought me to tears as once again one of the biggest bullies on the planet is threatening the Children of the world and Gaia without regard for the devastating memories of an unholy war.

    Without the diversity that is the key to our unity as humanity, there will be no peace. Peace is a BY-PRODUCT of compassion, understanding and acceptance.

    We are the answers we seek; we are the change agents, catalysts for love, that may yet bring about an era of peace.

    Who will you love today? How will you bring about peace of mind and in your relationships so that we may begin to see it reflected in our world?

    Thank you Michael.


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