Fukuromachi Elementary School was 460 meters from the hypocenter. All of the wooden structures were leveled by the A-bomb; only the outer walls of the ferro-concrete West Building remained. It was soon a first-aid station for victims.
On the building’s walls were hastily scribbled messages providing information about survivors or asking the whereabouts of others.
These messages can be seen in a photo taken in October 1945 by Shunkichi Kikuchi. The location of the messages in that photo was unknown for decades because the walls had been painted over when the elementary school was rebuilt. Not until March 1999 was the “message board” revealed when part of a wall was removed during structural renovations.
The message board can be seen at:
Fukuromachi Elementary School Peace Museum
6-36 Fukuro-machi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima City
Hours: 9:00 – 17:00
Closed: December 28 – January 4
Day after day people frantically searched for missing friends and relatives, unable to bring home even their remains because they had been severely damaged by the blast, swept down a river, burnt beyond recognition or disposed of by rescue teams.
While trying to come to terms with of the lack of information about missing family members, those left behind held out hope, carefully preserving belongings left by the missing in their homes or in the ashes.
Writing left behind
Shigeo Irita's second-born daughter, Masako Irita (then, 12), was a student who experienced the atomic bombing at her mobilization site.
On the morning of the 6th, Masako made rice porridge for her mother, Yasuyo, who wasn't feeling well and ignoring her pleas to take the day off, left the house saying that she was working for her country and that everyone else would take the day off if the head of the class wasn't there.
Shigeo walked the city in search for Masako, but he couldn't find any trace of her. In Masako's desk was left a paper on which was written "I will die for you (the emperor) and my country" and "Destroy America and England."
Donated by Shigeo Irita
Yasue Hino's uncle, Naofumi Hino (then, 13), was exposed to the bomb while working at a building demolition site. Naofumi's father, Naoto, and his older sister, Katsumi, frantically searched for him but he was never found.
Students' bags were lined up along the river embankment near Naofumi's demolition site and his was among them. In it remained the lunch that Naofumi hadn't eaten.
The bag was made by Naofumi's mother, Masuko, who had sewn together her unwoven kimono sashes.
Donated by Yasue Hino