War through the Eyes of Children

With the Help of Barefoot Gen

The Atomic Bombing 1

In the morning of August 6, 1945, Gen was a second grader walking to school under a blazing summer sun. At 8:15 a.m., the atomic bomb exploded just as Gen reached the school gate. He experienced the blinding flash, was hurled through the air by the blast, and lost consciousness. Fortunately, he was not severely burned, thanks to the school gate that shielded him. When he came to, he saw houses flattened and the entire city reduced to rubble. Having no idea what had happened, Gen hurried to find his family. The city was a mass of dead and dying victims. Gen’s family was trapped when their house was crushed by the blast. They were soon engulfed by fire.


Fukuichi Matsui (then, 53), mobilized from his workplace Hiroshima Gas Company, was exposed to the bomb on the way to his building demolition work site in Kobiki-cho (now, Nakajima-cho, approximately 550 meters from the hypocenter). He is still missing. Taka, his wife, was exposed to the bomb at home in Funairi-hon-machi, and was trapped under the collapsed house. Then, this hat was blown to her. Taka got out on her own, but could not rescue her fifth son Toshiaki (then, 4). Taka escaped through the city, which had turned into a sea of flames, while using this hat to quench the fire around her. She kept it in memory of Fukuichi.
Donated by Taka Matsui


Katsuko Kanehashi (then, 1) was exposed to the bomb with her mother and grandmother at home in Tera-machi, approximately 1,000 meters from the hypocenter. Although they were trapped under their collapsed house, they managed to crawl out and evacuated to a space under Yokogawa Bridge. Her mother carefully kept this dress, which Katsuko was wearing on the day of the bombing.
Donated by Katsuko Kanehashi


Chika Furukawa (then, 75) was exposed to the bomb at home in Nekoya-cho, approximately 700 meters from the hypocenter. She was pinned under the completely collapsed building and died. This portfolio was found in a safe left in the charred remains of her house, but the surface had become chapped and shrunken due to the intense heat.
Donated by Misao Furukawa


Chiyoko Asaeda (then, 36) was exposed to the bomb in Inari-machi, approximately 1,450 meters from the hypocenter. She was pinned under a collapsed building and burned to death. Two days after the bombing, her skeletonized body was found, and her teeth and this wristwatch were returned home by her family.
Donated by Toshiko Kawashige

Gen’s father, elder sister and little brother, all pinned under the collapsed house, were swallowed by as Gen and his mother watched in horror.

War through the Eyes of Children

With the Help of Barefoot Gen