Though the war ended and the fear of air raids was gone, misery continued for the average citizen. Under these circumstances, the ones who suffered most were the children who had lost their families to the A-bomb. The number of A-bomb orphans has been variously estimated at 2,000 to 6,500, but the actual number will never be known. By 1947, there were five such facilities in and around Hiroshima.
The Ninoshima Gakuen for Hiroshima Prefecture War Orphans was established on the grounds of the army facilities on Ninoshima. Given the harsh post-war conditions, operating this facility filled with hungry children was extremely difficult. However, through the generosity of Ninoshima residents and with assistance from elsewhere in Japan and even overseas, many orphans successfully took their places in society.
Children at the opening of Ninoshima Gakuen
Courtesy / Ninoshima Gakuen September 3, 1946, Ninoshima Gakuen, Aza Nagatani, Ninoshima-cho
This was the start of a new life for these children in a renovated Army warehouse designed to care for 34 orphans formerly living near Hiroshima Station.
School children at work
Courtesy / Ninoshima Gakuen Ninoshima Gakuen, Aza Nagatani, Ninoshima-cho
The school opened with extremely limited national funds. Neither funds nor supplies arrived as expected, and life at the school was a difficult struggle to survive. To obtain food, the children caught fish in seine nets, dug for shellfish, and worked in the garden.
School children cheering with joy over supplies from LARA
Courtesy / Ninoshima Gakuen
April 23, 1947, Ninoshima Gakuen, Aza Nagatani Ninoshima-cho
LARA (Licensed Agencies for Relief of Asia) was the organization through which funds and supplies donated by people of goodwill in the US, Canada, and Central and South America were funneled to Japan. From 1946 to 1952, LARA delivered food, clothing and medical supplies to poverty-stricken children throughout Japan.
School children greeting Norman Cousins when he visited the school
Courtesy / Chugoku Shimbun
January 9, 1951, Ninoshima Gakuen, Aza Nagatani, Ninoshima-cho
A spiritual adoption movement was proposed by Norman Cousins in the September 17, 1949 issue of the Saturday Review, a magazine published in New York. This program linked Americans of goodwill with orphans as "spiritual parents." By sending in US$2.50 (?900) per month, they could support the child's growth and development. Approximately 500 children were adopted by spiritual parents, which represented a total of about ?20 million in assistance
Ninoshima and the Atomic Bombing
Island of Final Rest
Military City Hiroshima and the Ninoshima Quarantine Station
Relief Activities Immediately after the Bombing
Ninoshima Overflowing with Injured
Anguished Voices Calling for Water; Family Members Searching for Loved Ones
Sending off the Dead
The Closing of the Emergency Field Hospital, then the Quarantine Station
Ninoshima of the Sleeping Dead
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