(Researcher, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation, Hiroshima University)
Introduction The Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law came into effect on August 6, 1949, in Hiroshima City.1 Professor Hideaki Shinoda and other scholars point out the importance of this law in light of the peace building efforts that began in Hiroshima City after World War II (Shinoda, 2007b). Hiroshima is the first city in the world to be designated as the nominal “Peace Memorial City.” A National Upper House member from Hiroshima, Tadashi Teramitsu, who drafted the legislation remarked that “‘Peace Memorial City’ means ‘the city symbolizing permanent peace.’ In this sense, it is theoretically better to use the expression ‘Peace City.’ Alternatively, the term ‘memorial’ could be replaced by the term ‘symbol,’ and the city could thus be called the ‘Symbolic City of Peace’” (Teramitsu, 1949, p. 14). By this definition, the series of facilities that were constructed or developed in accordance with the guidelines of this law, such as the Peace Memorial Park, Peace Memorial Museum, and the Genbaku Dome or A-Bomb Dome, would be “facilities in Hiroshima symbolizing permanent peace.” In this article, such type of facilities will be referred to as “peace memorial facilities.”
The aim of this article is to clarify the effect of peace memorial facilities on people based on a study of the A-Bomb Dome, since it is an internationally regarded symbol. In Nagasaki City, the Peace Memorial Statue or Urakami Cathedral (until the 1950s) had been viewed as a symbol representing the horrors of atomic bombs. In Okinawa, the Cornerstone of Peace Memorial has been granted this status. Each symbol has a unique appearance, background, and story. Therefore, these symbols reflect regional particularities and circumstances. The impact is so strong that the establishment of these symbols is often included in the agendas of the local assemblies. In my analysis of the impact that the A-Bomb Dome has on people as a symbol, the term “people” is not limited to Hiroshima residents. It also includes the soldiers of the Allied Forces who arrived in Hiroshima after the atomic bombing and the generations following the one that experienced the bombing. Further, I analyze the psychological impact that peace monuments such as the A-Bomb Dome had on the people who were involved in the postwar reconstruction. The analysis will illustrate the psychological aspects of the role that peace monuments play through an in-depth investigation of a particular monument that was a major issue during the reconstruction period in Hiroshima City after the atomic bombing. The purpose of this article is to contribute to the manner in which we generally utilize peace monuments for peace building efforts in postwar societies by contrasting their impact with other similar case studies.
For this purpose, I first describe peace memorial facilities in Chapter II. Next, in Chapter III, I review the background of the establishment of peace memorial facilities and provide a parallel history of Hiroshima. In Chapter IV, I focus on the A-Bomb Dome in order to trace the transitions of its symbolic meanings. Its impact on various people will be also considered. Finally, in Chapter V, I provide my conclusions on the role of peace monuments in terms of their psychological influence during the postwar reconstruction. Furthermore, I will remark on the limitations, measures to be taken, and future prospects with respect to the research in this field.
1. Peace Memorial Facilities Article 2 of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law refers to the types of facilities that should be established (City in Brief: Commemoration Issue/Volume of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law, Showa 24th edition 1949, 1950, p. 4).
1. Special town planning for the construction of Hiroshima Peace Memorial City (hereafter, referred to as the Peace Memorial City Construction Plan) shall include, in addition to the planning provided for by Article 1 of the Town Planning Law (Code 36 of Taishō 8, 1919), the planning of facilities to inspire the pursuit of lasting peace and such other cultural facilities as would befit a peace memorial city.
Mr. Teramitsu remarked on the cultural facilities suitable for Hiroshima Peace Memorial City as follows: “The law exemplifies ‘a facility that ought to commemorate permanent peace’ as an example of suitable cultural facilities. Those facilities commemorating permanent peace such as memorial museums or memorial monuments should be located in Hiroshima.” (Teramitsu 1949, p. 19) In brief, the peace memorial facilities in Hiroshima City should imply facilities advocating or symbolizing permanent peace. The Peace Memorial Park, Peace Memorial Museum, and A-Bomb Dome are examples of such facilities.
The following question arises: What do memorial facilities for permanent peace imply in general? The research report “International Museum of War and Peace at Lucerne” (2000, 2001) by Dr. Peter van den Dungen can greatly increase our understanding of such facilities. A summary of the report is given below.
On June 7, 1902, the International Museum of War and Peace opened in Lucerne, a small town in Switzerland. It was proposed by Russian Privy Councilor Jean de Bloch. The aim of this museum is to advance the cause of peace by presenting objective exhibitions on the realities of past wars and the horrors that future wars could produce (Peter van den Dungen, 2000, p. 92). Bloch planned and financed it himself so that he could present his own views, which are described in his work entitled War of the Future. The original version is a six-volume full-length series. However, a summary of “Future of War in its Technical, Economic, and Political Relation” has been published in English. Until the publication of this work, military experts and pacifists had ignored each other’s concerns and expertise, as is evidenced in the books and research reports written by each group. Bloch’s accomplishment bridged the gap between militarists and pacifists and became famous in both the areas. He attempted to demonstrate that it was necessary for the wars of the future to be conducted as effectively as possible, taking into consideration each state’s economic situation (Dungen, p. 94). Consequently, he concluded that war between the great powers was impossible (this hypothesis is termed the “impossibility of war”). The phrase impossibility of war implies that war can no longer serve as a reasonable means by which problems can be solved. This is because war inevitably leads to economic, social, and political disorder in the belligerent state (ibid, p. 95).
One of the reasons why Bloch chose a museum to embody his ideas is that he believed museums to be the most effective means of attracting public attention, which he had as yet been unable to garner (ibid, p. 97). Bloch held the conviction that the “eradication of war is a synonym for the extermination of the public’s ignorance.” The message his museum conveys is that military powers expose their own defects. He was persuaded that the profits from the museum would be returned to all human beings and that it would promote justice in their civilization (ibid, p. 97). Stead (1902) describes the museum as an ingenious combination of generality and science, with elements of spectacle and education.
When Bloch announced his plan to build the museum, several pacifists feared that the museum might be used to widely propagate his idea of the impossibility of war developed in his book (Dungen, 2001, p. 91). On the other hand, this fear was belied by others (New York Times, June 29, 1902, p. 32). His conclusion—the hypothesis of the impossibility of war—was based on the so-called “end of war” defined by Karl von Clausewitz, according to whom “war is an act of violence intended to compel the enemy to fulfill our will” (Clausewitz, 2001, p. 22). Bloch believed that war among the great powers was no longer possible and emphasized the necessity of maintaining peace. However, rather than explicitly presenting the conclusion, he left it open for the readers of his book and the visitors to his museum to draw it themselves. With this intention, he adopted the exhibition style described above by Stead. As a result, his museum was criticized by pacifists, who made the following comments: “it compromises with wars and armies,” “the purpose is unclear,” and “it lacks sufficient messages for the peace” (Dungen, 2001, p. 92). However, Bloch’s aim was not to elevate nationalistic emotion or display military power but rather simply present a historical exhibition of war (ibid, p. 93).
As summarized above, Bloch first clarified his purpose for building the museum. Specifically, it was to develop his hypothesis of the impossibility of war and convey it to the people. Thus, since Bloch considered that the “eradication of war is a synonym for the extermination of public ignorance,” he decided to build a museum as a vehicle for communicating his idea to the public. However, the exhibitions in the museum were such that they did not impose his idea on the visitors. Rather, he maintained an objective stance by using figures or charts so that visitors could comprehend the meaning of the museum exhibits by themselves. In other words, for Bloch, a facility commemorating permanent peace was a facility that eradicates the public’s ignorance and promotes peace.
We should now consider the significance of memorial museums for permanent peace in the contemporary world. At the third international conference on peace museums, which was held at the Osaka International Peace Center and Ritsumeikan University International Peace Museum in 1988, Professor Johan Galtung defined a peace museum as “a facility which provides people with information on peace and demonstrates methods to achieve the goal” (Yamane, 2003). In addition, Ms. Yamane remarked that “we can call all museums aiming for the realization of peace as museums for peace” (Yamane, 2003). This definition became a basis for the UN booklet Peace Museums Worldwide (1995). The revised version was published in 1998.
Peace Museums Worldwide provides information on 50 museums—located in Australia, Austria, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, the U.K., and the U.S.—that elaborate on the theme of peace. The compilation of the booklet began with a questionnaire that was sent to 29 peace museums, 16 peace-related museums, and 10 other museums whose names were included in the list of peace museums drawn up at the first international conference on peace museums, which was held in Bradford, UK, in 1982 (Peace Museum Worldwide 1995, p. 6). This questionnaire requested the following information: (1) name; (2) date of establishment; (3) name of management organization; (4) address, hours of opening, and name of the director; (5) aims and contents; (6) special activities and exhibitions; and (7) publications.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is also listed in Peace Museums Worldwide. This volume describes the purpose of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum as follows.
To ensure that the reality of the nuclear bombing is passed down to future generations and to spread “the spirit of Hiroshima,” which entreats the realization of the total abolishment of nuclear weapons and eternal world peace.（Peace Museums Worldwide, 1995, p. 26）
Although there is no explicit explanation of its purpose, the official guidebook of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum provides the following introduction.
The Peace Memorial Museum collects and exhibits the relics of A-bomb victims and photographs or other materials portraying the A-bomb tragedy. It also depicts the history of Hiroshima around the time of the atomic bombing and the situation in the nuclear era. Each exhibit conveys the sadness and anger of the people. The wish of a Hiroshima that has recovered from the horror of the A-bomb is the realization of peace in a world without nuclear weapons.
In other words, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum aims to enlighten people on the need to completely abolish nuclear weapons or participate in antinuclear movements.
Comparing it with the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., Professor Kiichi Fujiwara points out that the purpose of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is “to provide the specific perception of warfare, not various concepts of war, on specific incidents, as a memory to the people who do not have any direct experience” (Fujiwara, 2001). Thus, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum is an enlightenment facility that is based on the concept of the renunciation of war and advocates the antiwar standpoint enshrined in the Japanese Constitution, also known as the “Peace Constitution.” In contrast, the Holocaust Museum is an enlightenment facility that is based on the concept of a “just war,” admitting humanitarian intervention. One similarity between them is that both the museums were established as the means for “recalling and passing” firsthand knowledge of war. Moreover, the people who established the museums were attempting to convey the tragedy of war from the viewpoint of victims to subsequent generations by collecting the records of war and putting them on display (ibid, pp. 33 and 37). Incidentally, the Holocaust Museum is not listed in Peace Museums Worldwide.
Thus, the primary purpose of peace museums is to enlighten the public. However, the topics of enlightenment vary across institutions. While some, like Bloch’s museum, attempt to set forth their personal philosophies as objectively as possible, others advocate specific causes such as antinuclear weapons activism, as in the case of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.
As Mr. Teramitsu remarks, in general, peace memorial facilities involve not only museums or archives but also symbols such as memorial towers. Some examples of memorial towers are the A-Bomb Dome in Hiroshima, the Peace Memorial Statue in Nagasaki, the Cornerstone of Peace Memorial in Okinawa, the reclaimed ground of Minamata Bay in Minamata, and the Tower of the Nation at the Independence Memorial Museum in Cheonan City, South Korea. Each symbol has a unique appearance and historical background, and they embody the characteristics of the tragic stories on which they are based. This makes it possible for us to analyze the meanings of symbols and their various impacts by reviewing the process of symbolization that they underwent, the feelings that the victims hold toward them, the sentiments generated in subsequent generations by them, etc. For this purpose, I would like to analyze the impact of the A-bomb Dome by examining it against the general background of the peace memorial facilities in Hiroshima City and the history of Hiroshima around that time.
2. History of Hiroshima City around the time of World War II and Peace Memorial Facilities The identity of Hiroshima changed drastically after World War II. In order to appreciate the transition, it is necessary to understand its history after the Meiji Restoration (1886). Since the First Japan-China War (1894–1895), Hiroshima had assumed the aspect of a military city. In 1888, when six army divisions were deployed in the war, the fifth division was based in Hiroshima. Ujina Port, proposed by Governor Sadaaki Senda, was completed in 1889. In addition, the construction of Ujina Rail Road began on August 4, 1894, and was completed in a mere 17 days of rushed work. Three types of military-related facilities for provisions such as weapons, clothing, and food were developed along the railroad. Emperor Meiji moved his throne to Hiroshima during this period. Moreover, the Imperial Headquarters was based out of the Command conference room of the fifth division in Hiroshima from September 15, 1894 to April 27, 1895. The Great Japan Imperial Diet also shifted to Hiroshima accordingly, and the temporary Imperial Diet was built in the west military drill court of the fifth division. For these reasons, Hiroshima was called a military city. Since the fifth division was deployed in the First China-Japan War (1894–1895), Russia-Japan War (1904), and World War I, the characteristics of Hiroshima as a military city were further strengthened.
At the end of World War II, on April 7, 1945, the first Command was organized in the east of the Suzuka mountain ranges, while the second Command was organized in the west in preparation for a decisive battle on the mainland. The headquarters of the second Command was established in Futabanosato, Hiroshima, at an old barracks belonging to the fifth cavalry regiment. This fact proves that Hiroshima remained a military city until the end of World War II. The fifth division greeted the end of the war in August 1945 in the northern islands of Australia (Ceram) (History of Hiroshima Prefecture, Gendai, 1983, p. 24). Some people believe that this is the reason why Australian troops rather than American troops were stationed in Hiroshima in the postwar days.
At 8:15 am on August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The number of deaths from this bomb as of the end of December of this year is said to be approximately 140,000. The mayor of Hiroshima, Senkichi Awaya, also died from the bomb. According to an issue of Chugoku Shinbun dated February 6, 1946, the population of Hiroshima City was reduced from 245,423 as of July 1, 1945, and to 151,693 as of January 1, 1946.2 The headquarters of the second Command was in ruins (Ogura, 1948, p. 119). The city of Hiroshima was completely destroyed, in terms of both its inhabitants and structures, due to its identity as a military city. Ogura elaborates on this in Chapter 10, entitled “Gunto no Saigo [The Last of ‘Military City’],” of his book Zetsugo no Kiroku [The Record after the Destruction]. In this chapter, he writes as follows: “However, even if the ‘military city’ disappeared, ‘Hiroshima’ would never disappear. Seven clear streams and seven deltas remain as they had in the past. The lagoon city Hiroshima would never perish. It is going to revive as a ‘city of peace.’ A ‘phoenix’ is flapping away from the ruins. ‘A city of peace’ is ‘an eternal city.’ The largest sacrifice is about to bear a beautiful fruit with a silent warning toward the next generation” (Ogura, 1948, p. 198).
However, independent reconstruction had already begun soon after the atomic bombing in Hiroshima. This was possible due to the fact that during World War II, municipal governments were in constant anticipation of bombardments. An air defense plan of Hiroshima from Shōwa 16th edition (1941) is found in Hiroshima Genbaku Sensaishi [History of A-Bomb Damage in Hiroshima] (Hiroshima City, 1971, pp. 1–320). For instance, according to a bylaw of the Hiroshima air defense headquarters, when damage was inflicted, the members of the headquarters were required to assemble and take action as soon as possible (Hamai, 1967). According to Genbaku Shichō [Mayor of Atomic Bomb], written by Shinzō Hamai, the chief of distribution at that time (and who subsequently became mayor), the city headquarters for air defense was provisionally established at a surviving building of an employment agency soon after the bombing. The staff primarily comprised the deputy mayor, rating officer, and treasurer. The headquarters was shifted to the front quarters of the city hall during the afternoons. The air defense plan of the city had designated the tracks of the Ujina training camp belonging to the army’s armored division as the means through which the distribution of food would be mobilized should the city be subjected to air bombardment. Therefore, the headquarters was able to distribute hardtacks stored in the food warehouses of Fuchū from the day following the atomic bombing.
When the tracks from Ujina arrived at the food warehouse in Fuchū, a track running between Fuchū and Kure was already waiting for them. Ogura wrote down notes on the appearance of these tracks from Kure, remarking that “I think it was around 9 or 10 am of the day (August 6) when I arrived in front of my House in Tachikawa. (omission). When I arrived there, the jam caused by the tracks was really tremendous. As you see, that place became the only junction of land transport between an instantly annihilated Hiroshima and the half-paralyzed but still alive military cities of Kure and Hiro, which underwent repeated aerial bombardment. Anyway, it was a desperate confusion of arriving and departing tracks” (Ogura, 1948, pp. 27–28). The following morning (August 7), a considerable amount of rice balls, supplied by the surrounding communities, was transported to the city hall. There exists a photograph of the policemen from the Ujina police office, which was located two kilometers away from the center of the explosion, issuing certificates of affliction to the victims at around 5:00 pm of the same day (exhibited materials at the Peace Memorial Museum).
Once victims were issued a certificate, they were eligible to receive food rations due to the wartime emergency. These facts also prove that the coordination of reconstruction assistance in the surrounding communities had been well-prepared beforehand.
Not only the public authorities mentioned above but also the private sector began reconstruction activities at an early stage. President Yamamoto of Chugoku Shinbun printed the following statement in his newspaper on August 6, 1951: “Finally, I could not go to work on the day (August 6). When I went to work the next day, injured staff members worked with enthusiasm, commenting that ‘now is the time we need newspapers.’ They immediately went back to the evacuated factory in Nukushina. The staff members worked hard, even putting their family concerns aside. Consequently, we could restart our newspaper in three days. I had the acute feeling that even an atomic bomb could not destroy our traditions.” The railroads were fully repaired by August 7, and even the trams in the city were partially repaired by August 9.
On August 8, Dr. Nishina, a physicist, visited Hiroshima and made firsthand observations at the request of the army. He clarified that what the Imperial Headquarters had reported to be “a new type of bomb” was, in fact, an atomic bomb. He also identified the center of the explosion. It was located in the east side of the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Exhibition Hall and the northern side of the Hiroshima Post Office. Ogura speculated that people in Hiroshima knew that the bomb was an atomic bomb immediately after the bombing (Ogura, 1948). Apparently, a young soldier who Ogura had met in Mt. Hijiyama on the morning of August 6 had told him that it was evident that the bomb was an atomic bomb based on the extent of damage it had caused in the city.
Another atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, and World War II ended with the unconditional surrender of the Empire of Japan, which accepted the Potsdam Declaration on August 15. An advance team from the Allied Forces arrived in Kure on September 26 (History of Hiroshima Prefecture, Gendai, 1983, p. 2). This team, which comprised troops from the 10th corps of the 6th division of the U.S. army, arrived at the Hiro airport from Osaka. The team contained six members, and they spoke with Governor Takano, Station Sergeant Ishihara, and the mayor of Kure, Suzuki, at the official residence of the commander-in-chief, which was located at the Kure Naval Station. However, the occupying army was not stationed in Hiroshima but rather in Kure, Hiro (now a part of Kure City), Kaita, and Edajima. The initial purpose of the occupation army was to disarm the imperial army of the Empire of Japan and destroy all military facilities (ibid, p. 18). There were a large number of military facilities in Hiroshima Prefecture, primarily in the military city of Hiroshima, including the headquarters of the second Command (ibid, p. 21).
The first city council meeting to be held after the atomic bombing took place on August 20, 1945. Its purpose was to appoint a new mayor. Reviewing the memorandum, we can infer the chaotic situation of the council. The council adopted a resolution endorsing Mr. Ichirō Fujita as the new mayor, without first soliciting even his informal consent. After the resolution was passed, another discussion took place on how to persuade Mr. Fujita to accept the position. A member of the council commented as follows: “It might be better if the Hiroshima City Council chose some members to tell Mr. Fujita directly how much we support him enthusiastically and to ask him to accept our request…” (History of the Hiroshima City Council: Proceeding Materials II, 1987, pp. 31–32). However, Mr. Fujita did not accept their request, and the city council adopted another resolution to endorse Mr. Shichirō Kihara as the new mayor. Thus, Shichirō Kihara became the new mayor of Hiroshima on October 22. At the same time, Shinzō Hamai, who was his eventual successor, assumed the post of deputy mayor.
On November 3, 1945, the Hiroshima City Council established a committee to oversee the war damage reconstruction. It also decided to request Douglas MacArthur—Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers—of the General Headquarters (GHQ) to provide assistance for the reconstruction. Hiroshima Prefecture convened a prefectural committee to oversee the reconstruction of the war-damaged prefecture on December 8. Subsequently, on December 9, Hiroshima City established a city committee, comprising members of the city council, the chiefs of the united town association, and the chiefs of the town associations.
The Hiroshima reconstruction agency was organized on January 9, 1946, and the Hiroshima reconstruction council was also set up on February 15. The council announced their proposed city plan, which included the construction of a 100-metre wide road from Mt. Hijiyama to Koi, government offices or schools at the west training court and on the ruins of the Hiroshima castle, parks, memorial facilities at the center of the explosion, and an international airport in Yoshijima. On March 7, the council resolved to shape the character of Hiroshima City as “a synthetic city that has the combined characteristics of industry, politics, economy, an academic city, and a cultural-tourist city.” On April 13, the chief of the Hiroshima reconstruction agency contributed an article entitled “The City of Peace and Culture: A Sketch of Dreaming Hiroshima Reconstruction” to Chugoku Shinbun. On May 7, Hiroshima City announced its plan to construct a 100- or 200-metre wide main street, which now includes the Heiwa Boulevard.
In May 1946, Major Hervey Satin (a doctor of medical science) from the U.K. and First Lieutenant John Montgomery (a former advisor for the Michigan regional plan) from the U.S.—both of whom were members of the units of the Allied Forces occupying Kure—were designated as advisors for Hiroshima’s reconstruction. They attended the Hiroshima reconstruction council meetings and advised on the preservation of the center of the explosion and the establishment of facilities for visitors around the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Exhibition Hall. The Hiroshima commemoration tower for war victims at Jisenji Temple was completed, and a Buddhist service was held on May 26 for the dedication. On this occasion, First Lieutenant Montgomery stated that “it is desirable that this commemoration tower for war victims be regarded as an international peace memorial tower. The realization of an international peace conference will be a fantastic story as far as the occupation is lasting” (Chugoku Shinbun, June 16, 1946). The hint of the term “peace memorial” may have been derived from this statement.
At the first anniversary of the commemoration of the atomic bombing, the Hiroshima City Council and local groups organized a memorial ceremony. First, the Hiroshima Prefectural Chamber of Commerce and Economy and the Hondōri shopping street collaboratively planned a world peace memorial festival for three days, from August 5 to 7 (Chugoku Shinbun, July 2, 1946). In addition, Hiroshima City announced a plan to arrange a reconstruction festival around August 6 (Chugoku Shinbun, July 6). Interestingly, Mayor Kihara released a statement regarding the nuclear tests in Bikini that revealed a novel way of viewing the atomic bombings of Japan. He stated that the “atomic bombing on Hiroshima promoted world peace, and the sacrifice of civilians was able to rescue hundreds and thousands of human beings all around the world from the tragedies of war. The nuclear test in Bikini provides a good occasion to remind the world of the devastation caused in Hiroshima. Hiroshima would inevitably win sympathy from the world. I hope that atomic bombs, which provided us with peace, will consolidate eternal peace, and not destruction. My desire is that nuclear power will be utilized for the welfare of human beings” (Chugoku Shinbun, July 3, 1946). The expression “atomic bombs, which provided us with peace” may serve as evidence that the bombings had various impacts on the people of Hiroshima, which was under occupation. It is necessary to analyze the above statement in light of these impacts. On August 5, the citizen’s rally for peace and reconstruction, which was a precursor of the current Peace Memorial Ceremony, was organized in Hiroshima City. The National House of War Damage Reconstruction was established, and it announced a city plan for Hiroshima’s reconstruction on November 1 of the same year.
In 1947, Hiroshima Governor Tsunei Kusunose convened a round-table discussion on the reconstruction. The deputy mayor of Kure City, Tomiko Takara, made the following remark: “I would like to leave the boundless ashes as it were, as a memorial graveyard for the eternal maintenance of world peace. I am not in favor of constructing a town on the ground where vast numbers of people surrendered to death. New Hiroshima does not need to be forced to get back to what it was. It would be better to seek new land around the city and rebuild Hiroshima City in the new place” (Hiroshima City, 1996 b, p. 249). It indicates that there were not only the people who hoped recovery of Hiroshima but also the people who abandoned it in those days.
Shinzō Hamai was elected as the mayor on April 17, 1947. Mayor Hamai had graduated from the Faculty of Law, Tokyo University. He had worked for the Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce in 1932, and he had served as the chief of the Commerce and Industry Department, Personnel Division, Ration Department, and General Merchandise Division at the Hiroshima City Office since 1935. Finally, in 1945, he was elected as the mayor, following his term as the deputy mayor. The Japanese Constitution entered into force on May 3, 1945. Article 9 of the new constitution advocated the renunciation of the right of belligerency. This also meant that Hiroshima could not restore its prewar identity as a military city. Emperor Shōwa visited Hiroshima on December 17. On June 20, 1948, the Hiroshima City Council decided to construct the Peace Memorial Park.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law was adopted in the National Diet on May 11, 1949 (promulgated on August 6, 1949). The full text of the law is given below (City in Brief Commemoration Number of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law: Showa 24th edition (1949 of the Christian era), 1950, pp. 4–5)
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law