About Hibaku Streetcars

Our project began as we sought to perfectly recreate the look of streetcars in 1945, colors and all. We invited those who lived through that time and held repeated meetings to discuss the colors since all of the reference photos from before WWII were in black and white. As the streetcars running that day were all charred in the atomic bombing and there were no records at Hiroshima Electric Railway regarding the exact color of the streetcars from that time, we had no way of knowing what color they actually were.

From the Director of Streetcar Preservation and Design, Hiroshima Electric Railway:

When we were gathering materials from 1945, what we were left with was black and white photos and documents that had notes about the color of the streetcars. We used these references to create sketches. Comparing these sketches to models made by those wen_explanation_boxho actually saw the colors of the streetcar at that time, we worked to figure out what the closest colors were.

The process relied heavily on books, as well as the memories of the Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors). One of the most important models used as a reference for the project was created from memory by a survivor who was an elementary school student in 1945. Through this process, it was found that the streetcars were painted two colors: gray and navy blue.

Hibakusha who saw the streetcars as a child:

I really liked the streetcars, so I have a pretty good memory of them. The colors that I remember and the ones written in the materials match, so I think it’s safe to say these were the original colors.

When it came time to repaint the streetcar, they found something extraordinary. Patches of navy paint were found underneath the current paint job, thought to be the original paint from the time of the atomic bombing. Using this color as a reference as well, the repainting process began.


I heard stories from those who came before me, people who helped get the streetcar running again after the devastation of the atomic bombing.

After 70 years, this streetcar is finally back its former glory, running in the exact same way it did on that tragic day on August 6, 1945.