Scenes from Pre-War Hiroshima

[1]From “In Hiroshima City with Family”

Filmed September 15, 1925 (Taisho 15), by Shuichi Fujii
Ote-machi, Naka Ward, and other locations

Filmed by a resident of Kabe Town during a family trip to Hiroshima City, the first cut shows the family walking over Motoyasu Bridge. The bridge had only been completed the same year, and according to a contemporary account, “The pillars on both ends were topped with spheres, and the pillars in between had lamps on them, enhancing the modern ambience of the area around the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall (known as the Prefectural Products Exhibition Hall prior to 1933).” The footage also shows the family walking past the Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall toward Aioi-dori Avenue, coming upon a Sino-Japanese War memorial, and subsequently enjoying a picnic.
Reference: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Architectural Witnesses to the Atomic Bombing—A Record for the Future (1996)

[2]From “At Restaurant Sushitoku, Hiroshima”

Filmed October 23, 1925 (Taisho 15), by Shuichi Fujii
Nakajima-cho, Naka Ward

Filmed by the same recorder as [1], the footage shows the family dining at a Western-style restaurant thought to have been in Nakajima-hon-machi (part of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park today), served by an aproned waitress. Also recorded are Motoyasu Bridge and the Hiroshima Prefectural Products Exhibition Hall (Industrial Promotion Hall, known today as the Atomic Bomb Dome) across the river, possibly filmed from a second-story window of the restaurant.

[3]From “The First Air Raid Drill”

Filmed March 1933 (Showa 8) by Daikichi Nakano
Honkawa-cho, Naka Ward, and other locations

A resident of Kajiya-cho (today’s Honkawa-cho) recorded his neighborhood’s first air raid drill. The scene of the opening ceremony at Honkawa Elementary School shows the Hiroshima Prefectural Products Exhibition Hall (renamed the Industrial Promotion Hall the year this film was made, and known today as the Atomic Bomb Dome) in the background. The footage records the various demonstrations comprising the drill, such as fire hose use, flare use, and anti-aircraft machine gun firing, on the tram road and other places around Motoyasu Bridge and today’s Peace Memorial Park.

[4]From “Hiroshima City in the Spring of 1936”

Filmed around April 1936 (Showa 11) by Genjiro Kawasaki
Original film courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Ote-machi and Kamiya-cho, Naka Ward, and other locations

The film records central Hiroshima City during the cherry blossom season. Shown are cherry trees lining the riverbank near Aioi Bridge, where trams are crossing, people boating and fishing on the river, the Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, which was designed to complement the river view, and the bustling commercial district Shintenchi, located a short distance away. Work was underway to remodel Aioi Bridge into a T-bridge (three-way bridge). Since Aioi Bridge at the time had two parallel spans—one a Meiji-era wooden bridge that was later taken down—the bridge assumed an unusual “H” shape.

[5] From “Fukuya Department Store 13. 4. 1.”

Filmed 1937–38 (Showa 12–13) by Tamio Kaneda
Original film courtesy of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Ebisu-cho and Hacchobori, Naka Ward

Fukuya Department Store opened in Hacchobori in 1929, and expanded in sync with Hacchobori’s growth as a commercial district. On April 1, 1938, the department store opened a new annex—with eight floors above ground, two floors below, and year-round air conditioning—on the south side of the same street. This film records the annex during construction in 1937, and after it opened for business on April 1, 1938. The footage shows the busy neighborhood of Fukuya and Kinzagai Street, the sales floors of the department store, the original Fukuya building on the opposite side of the road, the new annex under construction, the seven-storied new annex of the Chugoku Shimbun building to the east, and busy traffic of trams and automobiles. The National Mobilization Law was promulgated on the very day Fukuya’s new annex opened. Today the building, after undergoing numerous renovations, continues to house the Fukuya Department Store.。

[6]Showa Industrial Exposition: Main Entrance

Filmed 1929 by Kakichi Tanabe
Moto-machi, Naka Ward

The Showa Industrial Exposition hosted by Hiroshima City ran for 55 days from March 20 to May 13, 1929, at three venues in the city. It drew roughly 1.74 million visitors. This footage was shot from the main entrance of Venue 1, established on the Western Drill Ground, located to the north of today’s Kamiya-cho intersection. The first scene shows Kamiya-cho intersection and trams in the background. Subsequent scenes record an elephant show and crowds of spectators. The official records of the expo include no mention of elephants being shown, so it is not clear whether it was part of the expo proper. The very short footage is repeated in slow motion to make details easier to see.
References: Hiroshima City Hall, Hiroshima-shi Shusai Showa Sangyo Hakurankai-shi [Record of the Showa Industrial Exposition Hosted by Hiroshima City] (1930); Showa Sangyo Hakurankai Kyosankai, Hiroshima-shi Shusai Showa Sangyo Hakurankai Kyosankai-shi [Record of the Showa Industrial Exposition Supporters’ Organization] (1930); Showa Sangyo Hakurankai Kyosankai, Hiroshima-shi Shusai Showa Sangyo Hakurankai Shashin-cho [Photographs from the Showa Industrial Exposition] (1929)

[7]Showa Industrial Exposition: Kodomo no Kuni

Filmed 1929 by Yasuto Kittaka
Moto-machi, Naka Ward

Venue 1 (Western Drill Ground, an area to the north of today’s Kamiya-cho intersection) of the Showa Industrial Exposition hosted by Hiroshima City had a main hall showing exhibits related to various industries, in addition to diverse themed pavilions, such as Hokkaido Pavilion, Taiwan Pavilion, Korea Pavilion, Karafuto Sanko (lit. Sakhalin Information) Pavilion, and Manmo (lit. Manchuria-Mongolia) Pavilion. According to a contemporary account, the Korea Pavilion, which appears in the first half of the footage, was “a fascinating, elegantly colored building in the style of authentic Korean palace architecture” comprising a main hall, shop, restaurant, and VIP room. “The shop had the atmosphere of a real Korean market, and the restaurant attracted diners with a menu featuring Korean rice and Korean cuisine,” the account says. The second half of the footage shows “Airplane Tower” and “Circling Wave,” two amusement rides charging separate fees, installed at Kodomo no Kuni (lit. Children’s Land) laid out to the west of Venue 1. The airplane ride comprised “four model airplanes, each capable of carrying six people, suspended from a 5-jo high steel tower, powered to not only rotate but also ascend and descend.” “The propellers of the airplanes also rotated, creating the sensation of riding a real airplane.” “The gigantic rotating ride Circling Wave, measuring 15 shaku in diameter, with a seating capacity of 70, was also a popular feature,” according to a contemporary record. “Although requiring the purchase of separate ride tickets, the rides were so popular they were constantly full.”
Reference: Hiroshima City Hall, Hiroshima-shi Shusai Showa Sangyo Hakurankai-shi [Record of the Showa Industrial Exposition Hosted by Hiroshima City] (1930)

[8]Hadabesso and Zoo

Filmed circa 1929 (Showa 4) by Kakichi Tanabe
Funairi-machi, Naka Ward

Still serving diners today, Hadabesso is a long-established ryotei (a type of luxury Japanese restaurant) founded in 1900. At the time this footage was recorded, it stood amidst a vast Japanese garden with two waterfalls, featured an all-female musical troupe that even performed overseas, and had a small zoo on the premises. The footage records the garden’s water birds, various animals presumably exhibited at the zoo, and a traditional Japanese-style building housing the restaurant. Recorded on the same film as the Showa Industrial Exposition footage by the same recorder, the footage most probably dates from around the same time. The zoo at Hadabesso closed in July 1929 after the animals were sold to the newly opening Suizenji Zoo (today’s Kumamoto City Zoological and Botanical Gardens) in Kumamoto Prefecture. A source records that 29 species of animals, including lion, leopard, brown bear, red-crowned crane, flamingo, and spoonbill, were purchased by Suizenji Zoo from the owners of Hadabesso.
Reference: Kumamoto Zoological Garden, Kumamoto Dobutsuen 60-Shunen Kinen Dobutsuen Monogatari [The Story of Our Zoo: Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of Kumamoto Zoological Garden] (1989) Compiled with cooperation from Hadabesso

[9]From “Water Birds at the Hadabesso Garden”

Filmed circa 1929 (Showa 4) by Yasuto Kittaka
Funairi-machi, Naka Ward

Like the previous footage by Kakichi Tanabe, this footage is on the same film as the Showa Industrial Exposition (1929) footage by Kittaka Yasuto, and was probably shot at around the same time. The cut shows various species of water birds, including what appears to be spoonbills below the waterfall, which is still part of Hadabesso today.
Compiled with cooperation from Hadabesso

[10]Cherry Blossom Viewing Crowd at Hiroshima Castle

Filmed circa 1936 (Showa 11) by Tadami Omiya
Moto-machi, Naka Ward

The footage is thought to date from around the spring of 1936, because it includes a view of a near-complete Hiroshima Chamber of Commerce and Industry building, and also because of the shape of Aioi Bridge. Hiroshima Castle during the Meiji era housed the Imperial Headquarters, where the emperor commanded his army, and in the Showa era the facility was opened to the public as a memorial museum. The footage shows people enjoying cherry blossoms in front of the former Imperial Headquarters, Sakuranoike Pond, and Hiroshima Castle Tower, which was a National Treasure. Hiroshima Castle Tower was destroyed by the atomic bombing but was rebuilt after the war. Only the foundation stones of the Imperial Headquarters and Sakuranoike Pond remain today.

[11] Sentei Garden

Filmed circa 1938 (Showa 13) by Shinichi Yoshioka
Original film courtesy of Hiroshima Municipal Archives
Kaminobori-cho, Naka Ward

Popularly referred to as Sentei Garden, the Japanese stroll garden Shukkeien was laid out in the Edo period as part of the villa belonging to the Asano clan, lords of the Hiroshima domain. The garden was opened to the public in 1913, and was donated to Hiroshima Prefecture by the Asano family in 1940, becoming even more frequented by the visiting public as a result. The footage shows the garden’s pond and Kokyo-kyo Bridge spanning the middle of the pond, carp, plants, and people relaxing and enjoying themselves.

[12]Hiroshima Bay and Battleship Tour

Filmed circa 1928 (Showa 3) by Kannosuke Kaminishi
Original film courtesy of Koichi Kaminishi and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Hiroshima Bay

The footage shows early Showa era Hiroshima Bay and its busy traffic of vessels. The bay was home to Ujina Port (today’s Port of Hiroshima), completed in 1889 as a major-scale marine transport facility. It was also where large numbers of soldiers were shipped out from during the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese Wars. The second half of the footage shows tour guests boarding what appears to be a Fuso battleship. Battleship Nagato and Momi-class destroyer Kuri can also be seen out on the bay. After the end of the Pacific War, Battleship Nagato sank after serving as a target ship in the U.S. thermonuclear bomb tests at Bikini Atoll. The footage was probably shot from waters near Itsukaichi, Hatsukaichi, or Ono, judging from the shapes of Miyajima and Ninoshima Islands in the background.

[13]Hiroshima Municipal First Elementary School

Filmed circa 1937 (Showa 12) by Morito Yokoyama
Original film courtesy of Ikkokai
Yamasaki-cho, Danbara, Minami Ward

Hiroshima Municipal First Elementary School was founded in 1932 with the primary objective of equipping pupils with ready-to-use practical skills. To train boys in industrial skills, the school had classrooms for woodworking, woodworking machine use, metalworking machine use, sheet-metal working, drafting, blacksmithing, and printing. For training in commerce, there were classrooms for abacus and bookkeeping courses, and a lab for practical training. Girls were provided with classrooms for lessons in kimono-sewing, dressmaking, tea ceremony, flower arrangement, cooking, and laundering. The footage was possibly filmed to coincide with the school’s 5th anniversary in 1937, when a commemorative booklet was also published. Part of the school building remained in use after World War II as Danbara Junior High School until March 2011.
Reference: Ikkokai Genbaku Ireihi Kensetsu Iinkai, Ishibumi [Stone Monument] (1991)
Compiled with cooperation from Ikkokai (Hiroshima Municipal First Elementary School Alumni Association)

[30]From “Derby at Kanon Ground”

Filmed 1927 (Showa 2) by Shuichi Fujii
Minamikanon, Nishi Ward, Hiroshima City

Kanon Ground opened in 1919. It was equipped with wooden stands and hosted baseball and other sports events. It became the venue for Hiroshima’s local-government-sponsored racing events in 1927, when the public racecourse was relocated from Fukawa-mura, Asa-gun (today’s Fukawa, Asakita Ward, Hiroshima City).
The footage records the busy racecourse in its inauguration year. Just after four years, however, the racecourse again relocated to Chugoku Ground in Ujina-machi due to lack of space. The site is now part of Kanon Junior High School.
Reference: Hiroshima City Museum of History and Traditional Crafts, Hiroshima no Keiba-jo [Hiroshima’s Racecourses] (2010)

[36]Ebisu-ko Festival Crowd

Filmed circa 1937 (Showa 12) by Shinichi Yoshioka
Original film courtesy of Hiroshima Municipal Archives
Nakajima-cho and Hon-dori, Naka Ward, Hiroshima City

One of Hiroshima City’s three major festivals, Ebisu Taisai (popularly referred to as Ebisu-ko) is a festival held to pray for commercial success and prosperity. It has taken place every year in November for 400 years. Local shops offer goods at discounted prices during the event, as can be seen in the footage, which shows “sale now on” signs on display. Unlike today, sales were not held any time of the year, which made the Ebisu-ko a not-to-be-missed opportunity for shoppers.
The fabric shop in the footage was located on Hon-dori Shopping Street. The Mitsui Bank Hiroshima Branch building across the road survived the atomic bombing, and now houses the bakery Hiroshima Andersen.
The footage also records the bustling Nakajima-cho stretch of Hon-dori, which was razed to the ground and is today part of Peace Memorial Park.

[37]Kodo Elementary School

Filmed 1933–38 (Showa 8–13) by Daikichi Nakano
Nekoya-cho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima City

Kodo Elementary School was a private kindergarten and primary school adopting the then progressive notion of coeducation, and class sizes of up to 40 pupils, with just one class per grade. The three-story modern school building in the footage was built in 1924. It was the first reinforced concrete school building west of Kobe.
The film is one of several that record various school events, such as sports day, as well as everyday scenes, filmed by a parent of a Kodo Elementary pupil in response to a request by the school. The films were also occasionally screened at the school assembly hall, with the blackout curtains drawn. This footage compresses the school life of the recorder’s son—covering his five years from grade 2 to 6—into a total duration of 5 minutes and 45 seconds.
Kodo Elementary School closed on November 11, 1945, after most of the community that supported the school was devastated by the atomic bombing.
Reference: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Architectural Witnesses to the Atomic Bombing—A Record for the Future (1996)

[38]Central Hiroshima City Crowd Celebrating the Birth of the Crown Prince

Filmed 1934 (Showa 9) by Shigeo Fukuichi
Original film courtesy of Shigeyuki Fukuichi and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Ebisu-cho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima City, and other locations

Following the birth of Emperor Showa’s first son in 1933, celebrations were held in many parts of the country during 1934. Filmed during one such event in central Hiroshima City, the footage shows a fancy-dress parade, dance performances, a crowded Hon-dori Shopping Street, and a flower-decked tram passing the old Fukuya Department Store building, conveying the enthusiastic, celebratory atmosphere. The current Fukuya Department Store building (originally the new annex) was yet to be built.

[43] Near Hon-dori and Fukuro-machi

Filmed circa 1938 (Showa 13) by Shinichi Yoshioka
Original film courtesy of Hiroshima Municipal Archives
Hon-dori, Naka Ward, Hiroshima City, and other locations

The initial cut shows Hon-dori intersection seen from the east. There is also a cut shot from the opposite direction.
The cut looking south from Hon-dori intersection shows the great camphor tree of Kokutaiji Temple casting a shadow over the tram road. The tree was designated by the national government as a Natural Monument, and the sidewalk was raised and the tramway tracks were detoured in order to protect its roots, which had outgrown the temple precincts. The building in front of the camphor tree is the Hiroshima Branch of the Bank of Japan, which survived the atomic bombing. The camphor tree did not, and what remained of the roots were removed after the war.
The footage also shows the traditional Japanese-style gate leading to Sanyo Kinenkan, a museum dedicated to Edo-period scholar Rai Sanyo. Built in 1935, Sanyo Kinenkan comprised a concrete building exhibiting items related to Rai, as well as a detached room (designated as a National Historic Site in 1936) where Rai wrote Nihon Gaishi [Unofficial History of Japan] after he was confined there as punishment for deserting his han (domain). The room was lost to the atomic bombing, as were the contents of the museum. The concrete building suffered major damage. The museum was rebuilt and is today open to the public as Rai Sanyo Shiseki Museum.
References: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Architectural Witnesses to the Atomic Bombing—A Record for the Future (1996); RCC News, broadcast on July 25, 2008.

[44]Hiking to Mitakidera

Filmed circa 1938 (Showa 13) by Shinichi Yoshioka
Original film courtesy of Hiroshima Municipal Archives
Mitakiyama, Nishi Ward, Hiroshima City

The footage shows a hiking party walking from Mitaki Station (on the National Railway Kabe Line) to Mitakidera Temple, and climbing the stone steps of the temple to the Yomei Waterfall area at the top for a picnic. According to one of the participants, residents of Hon-dori, both adults and children, often took part in such leisure activities, and excursions to places like Hijiyama and Miyajima were common. The film was recorded during a summer trip to Mitaki, which the participant recalls as involving steep uphill walks.

[45]Radio Calisthenics at Hon-dori

Filmed circa 1940 (Showa 15) by Shinichi Yoshioka
Original film courtesy of Hiroshima Municipal Archives
Hon-dori, Naka Ward, Hiroshima City

Hon-dori was part of a highway dating from the Edo period, and in and after the Taisho era it increasingly thrived as a street connecting the two commercial districts of Nakajima and Shintenchi. The building behind the children engaging in radio calisthenics is the Mitsui Bank Hiroshima Branch, completed in 1925. Set back from the street by about 4.5 m, the building survived the atomic bombing and today houses the Hiroshima Andersen bakery. Visible to the left is the sign of long-established china shop Watanabe Toen. The open space in front of Mitsui Bank provided an ideal playground for local children. It was used by them not only for radio calisthenics but also for games like jump rope and hanetsuki (Japanese badminton), also recorded in other films by the same recorder.
References: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Architectural Witnesses to the Atomic Bombing—A Record for the Future (1996); RCC News, broadcast on July 25, 2008.

[46]Motoyasu Bridge and Neighborhood

Filmed circa 1927 (Showa 2) by Kannosuke Kaminishi
Original film courtesy of Koichi Kaminishi and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

Filmed in late 1927 or early the following year, the footage records the busy Hon-dori Shopping Street and Motoyasu Bridge area. Recorded are the crowds around Motoyasu Bridge, Hon-dori Shopping Street with its eye-catching “lily-of-the-valley” street lamps, the stretch of the same street between the eastern end of Motoyasu Bridge and Saiku-machi (or Saiku-cho) and its three-globe “lily-of-the-valley” lamps, a fire engine speeding down Hon-dori, a cyclist stopping to make way, and a group of what appears to be Boy Scouts.
The footage was recorded by a Hiroshima-born immigrant to Canada, who was spending two years in Japan. The film was most probably made as a souvenir for other Hiroshima-born expats in Canada.

[47]Shokon-sai Festival

Filmed 1928 (Showa 3) by Kannosuke Kaminishi
Original film courtesy of Koichi Kaminishi and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Hon-dori, Naka Ward, Hiroshima City, and other locations

The initial cut shows the Hiroshima Prefectural Products Exhibition Hall (Industrial Promotion Hall). The next cut is a view of Kamiya-cho intersection from the south, showing in the middle a domed-roof structure which sheltered switch operators and passengers. The screens with horizontal stripes installed in front of shops lining the tram road indicate that a festival was underway.
The festival in question was the Hiroshima Shokon-sai, which was held annually either in spring or autumn at the Western Drill Ground (area north of today’s Kamiya-cho intersection), and was a major event in pre-war Hiroshima City.]
The footage subsequently records a military parade by the 5th Division, apparently held during the festival. Early models of tanks are also shown, following infantry and cavalry processions.
References: Hiroshima City Museum of History and Traditional Crafts, Taisho-jidai no Hiroshima [Hiroshima in the Taisho Era] (2007); Chugoku Shimbun (January 23, 2011)

[50]Hacchobori Area

Filmed circa 1940 (Showa 15) by Sadayoshi Matsuura
Original film courtesy of Isao Matsuura and Hiroshima Municipal Archives
Ebisu-cho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima City

The early part of the footage records Hacchobori, one of Hiroshima City’s foremost commercial districts. Trams, automobiles, and horse-drawn carriages are shown travelling past the Fukuya Department Store building, which survived the atomic bombing and looks outwardly unchanged today. The film is thought to date from around 1940, because of billboards associated with events to commemorate the 2,600th anniversary of the commencement of Emperor Jimmu’s reign.
The second half of the footage, showing Fukuya and its neighborhood, was shot from Kyoguchimon-dori, where the Hakushima tram line used to be. Hakushima Line was moved east to Hakushima-dori after the war.
Reference: RCC News, broadcast on April 29, 2013

[55] Nigitsu Shrine and Other Scenes

Filmed circa 1940 (Showa 15) by Sadayoshi Matsuura
Original film courtesy of Isao Matsuura and Hiroshima Municipal Archives
Futabanosato, Higashi Ward, Hiroshima City

The footage shows a family visiting Nigitsu Shrine near Hiroshima Station.
Nigitsu Shrine originated in the Edo period, initially to house the ancestral spirit tablets of the Asano clan, lords of the Hiroshima domain. During the Meiji era it was renamed Nigitsu Shrine, and became a locally popular cherry blossom viewing spot by the time this film was made.
All of the wooden structures, including the main hall, were lost in the atomic bombing. Most have been rebuilt today to resemble their pre-war conditions.
The arched bridge and subsequent scenes were probably filmed at nearby Tsuruhane Shrine.
Reference: Nigitsu Shrine, Nigitsu Shrine Official Website “History and Origin” page (2013)

[56] From “Hiroshima Division Leaving for Deployment”

Filmed December 18–21, 1931 (Showa 6)
Original film courtesy of Rokuro Akihiro
Ujinakaigan, Minami Ward, Hiroshima City, and other locations

The 13-minute, 30-second documentary film records the 5th Division of the Imperial Japanese Army leaving Hiroshima for deployment following the Mukden Incident of September 1931. The 5th Division was composed of personnel from Hiroshima and neighboring prefectures, and Hiroshima City hosted many associated military facilities.
Japanese troops, reinforced by the 5th Division and other forces from various parts of Japan, started a full-scale attack on Manchuria in December 28, 1931, occupying most of Manchuria by February 1932.
Reference: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Architectural Witnesses to the Atomic Bombing—A Record for the Future (1996)

[57]From “Dispatch of the 9th Division in Showa 7”

Filmed February 6–10, 1932 (Showa 7)
Original film courtesy of Ishikawa-ken History Museum
Ujinakaigan, Minami Ward, Hiroshima City, and other locations

The 6-minute, 15-second documentary film records the 9th Division of the Imperial Japanese Army traveling from Kanazawa to Hiroshima, where they departed from Ujina Port for deployment following the Shanghai Incident of January 28, 1932. The 9th Division was composed of personnel from Ishikawa and neighboring prefectures, and Kanazawa City hosted many associated military facilities. The footage shows soldiers crossing Kyobashi, a steel bridge built in 1927 on the national highway. The bridge survived the atomic bombing and served to convey evacuees and relief services.
Reference: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Architectural Witnesses to the Atomic Bombing—A Record for the Future (1996)

[58]From “Army Quarantine Station in September, Showa 3”

Filmed September 1928
Original film courtesy of RCC Broadcasting
Ninoshima-cho, Minami Ward, Hiroshima City

The 28-minute documentary film records work at a quarantine station for returning army soldiers. Located on Ninoshima, an island 4 km off Ujina Port, the quarantine station was established in 1895 as one of three such facilities in the country, where soldiers returning from the Sino-Japanese War were checked for infectious disease, disinfected, and if necessary quarantined. The large-scale facility was capable of processing several thousand soldiers per day.
The quarantine station became a field hospital in the aftermath of the atomic bombing. Staff members on site were unprepared for and overwhelmed by the number and state of patients as the premises became inundated with victims and people looking for family and friends.
Reference: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Second Special Exhibition of FY 2003 website, (2004)

[63]Hon-dori in the Snow

Filmed circa 1940 (Showa 15) by Shinichi Yoshioka
Original film courtesy of Hiroshima Municipal Archives
Hon-dori, Naka Ward, Hiroshima City

The footage records Hiroshima in the snow. Hon-dori is a 570-m shopping street connecting the city’s centers of commerce Kamiya-cho and Hacchobori. It prospered increasingly during and after the Taisho era, and today is home to about 200 shops. The footage shows Watanabe Doki-ten (today’s Watanabe Toen), which was established in the Edo period after relocating to Hiroshima to accompany the household of Asano Nagaakira when he was appointed daimyo of the Hiroshima domain. A purveyor of swords in the Edo period, the shop was primarily an ironmonger, selling items such as bronze braziers, vases, and Buddhist altar equipment in and after the Meiji era. After the Second World War, it became the china shop Watanabe Toen in response to a greater demand for chinaware. Watanabe Toen today occupies the third floor of the seven-story building Hondori Hills on the same site.
Compiled with cooperation from Watanabe Toen

[64]Gobinden at Hijiyama and Other Scenes

Filmed in the early Showa era by Daikichi Nakano
Hijiyama Park, Minami Ward, Hiroshima City, and other locations

Gobinden was a building on Hijiyama, a small hill with a panoramic view of Hiroshima City. It was a rest house built for Emperor Meiji originally on the Western Drill Ground (area near today’s Moto-machi, Naka Ward) during the First Sino-Japanese War. The building was later moved to Hijiyama, where it became a local tourist attraction rivaling the former Imperial Headquarters at Hiroshima Castle. The large tiled roof in the footage belonged to a structure built over the Gobinden to protect it from the elements. Gobinden itself contained photographs of the emperor, and items such as chairs and rugs. In front of the Gobinden was a large torii gate, a bronze statue representing a sacred horse, and stone lanterns. Gobinden was destroyed by the atomic bomb, and the surviving pair of stone lanterns were moved elsewhere. The site was cleared to become the large open space that it is today. The footage records the neighborhood of Kajiya-cho (today’s Honkawa-cho, Naka Ward) where the recorder used to live. It shows children of relatives playing traditional Japanese games, and scenes filmed at Gobinden, Hiroshima Toshogu Shrine, and Tsuruhane Shrine. The children appear to be dressed up for New Year’s, and the types of games played by the children also indicate that the footage was filmed around New Year’s.
Reference: Hiroshima City Museum of History and Traditional Crafts, Taisho Jidai no Hiroshima [Hiroshima in the Taisho Era] (2007)

[66]Unveiling of the Statue of Tomosaburo Kato

Filmed November 3, 1935 (Showa 10)
Original film courtesy of Kentaro Kato
Hijiyama Park, Minami Ward, Hiroshima City

Tomosaburo Kato was a Hiroshima-born naval officer, who took part in the Battle of Tsushima as chief of staff during the Russo-Japanese War. He was credited as saving Japan from a fiscal crisis, because of his instrumental role in Japan’s signing of the Washington Naval Treaty after the First World War. Kato subsequently became the first Hiroshima-born Prime Minister, but died of illness while in office.
Installed at Hijiyama Park, the twice life-size bronze statue of Kato in a full-dress naval uniform was unveiled to a waiting crowd of several thousand. A banquet was also held to celebrate the occasion. The statue of Prime Minister Kato, erected to great public enthusiasm, was requisitioned during the Second World War to make weapons. All that remains of the statue today is the plinth.
Reference: RCC News, broadcast on October 19, 2013

[68]Cherries on Hijiyama

Filmed in the early Showa era by Yasuto Kittaka
Hijiyama Park, Minami Ward, Hiroshima City

Hijiyama is a hill of about 70 m in height, offering a panoramic view of Hiroshima City. It was state-owned until the mid-Meiji period, but was opened to the public as a park in 1903 after being developed and replanted with cherry trees. It became one of Hiroshima’s tourist attractions after Gobinden—Emperor Meiji’s rest house in Hiroshima during the First Sino-Japanese War—and was relocated to the park in 1910. It is recorded that tens of thousands of people flocked to the park in the spring cherry blossom season. Hijiyama Park today is still one of Hiroshima City’s foremost cherry blossom spots.
Reference: Cultural Properties Division, Department of Culture and Sport, Citizens Affairs Bureau, City of Hiroshima, Hiroshimashi Kyodo Shiryokan Kikakuten Ohanami [Cherry Blossom Viewing: Temporary Exhibition at the Hiroshima Museum of History and Traditional Crafts] (2010)

[71]Row of Cherry Trees at Chojien

Filmed circa 1927 (Showa 2) by Kannosuke Kaminishi
Original film courtesy of Koichi Kaminishi and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Hakushima Kitamachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima City, and other locations

Along with Hijiyama Park, Chojien on the Ota River bank was a popular cherry blossom spot in pre-war Hiroshima City. A local merchant Chojiro Murakami started planting the cherries on the riverbank in 1910 and opened it to the public in 1916, naming the grove Chojien. It is recorded that the sight of the blossoming trees was magnificent, amplified by the equally splendid cherries across the river in Oshiba Park. After the war the cherry trees gradually succumbed to disease or age, the area became built up with high-rise apartments, and Chojien eventually disappeared. The riverbank has been replanted with cherry trees in recent years, however, once again offering visual pleasure to the public. The single-track railway and steam locomotive recorded in the second half of the footage probably belonged to what is now the JR Kabe Line, then operated by the private firm Hiroshima Denki. The Hiroshima City Hall under construction, shown toward the end of the footage, was completed in March 1928.
Reference: Cultural Properties Division, Department of Culture and Sport, Citizens Affairs Bureau, City of Hiroshima, Hiroshimashi Kyodo Shiryokan Kikakuten Ohanami [Cherry Blossom Viewing: Temporary Exhibition at the Hiroshima Museum of History and Traditional Crafts] (2010)

[72]From “Cherry Blossoms in Full Bloom”

Filmed April 12, 1933 (Showa 8) by Daikichi Nakano
Hakushima Kitamachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima City, and other locations

The footage records a family touring the many cherry blossom spots in Hiroshima City, including Hijiyama Park, Chojien, and Nigitsu Park, at the height of the cherry blossom season. According to a descendant, the film was recorded so that it could be screened for a family member who was unwell at the time, and couldn’t go out to enjoy the blossoms.

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