Children of Hiroshima

The tragedy of the A-bombing was mercilessly inflicted on innocent children. Lack of food, clothing and shelter had a serious impact on growing children. Some children had to work in order to contribute to the family income, some children lost parents and ended up in the streets, some children became shoeshine boys, and others lived on income gained from helping black market activities.

Even after the situation in the city settled down, most citizens were leading a poor existence. However, the children’s faces showed a sense of liberation from the war and a strong will to live. Their smiles and strong spirit must have provided sustenance to the adults.

Adults and children alike did everything necessary to eke out a living. This marked the beginning of the reconstruction of Hiroshima.

Shoeshine brothers

In front of Hiroshima Station (Matsubara-cho)

Brothers, who polished shoes in front of Hiroshima Station, were working very admirably. A foreign woman hesitantly reached out her foot, the boys pulled her shoe off easily and began brushing it. The woman handed the brothers payment higher than the standard shoe-shining fee and then left.

("Hiroshima Since August 1945," the Asahi Shimbun Company)

A boy on the city streets

Near Hatchobori

Even 10 years after the A-bombing, boys like him were seen all around the city.

("Hiroshima Since August 1945," the Asahi Shimbun Company)

Children stuffing their mouths with snow

Sarugaku-cho, Saiku-machi (now, Ote-machi 1-chome)

"It contains radiation! You mustn’t eat it!" Despite the adults’ concern, the children were absorbed in stuffing their mouths with snow that covered the hypocenter.

("Hiroshima Since August 1945," the Asahi Shimbun Company)