Peace Memorial Museum

Images from a new online exhibit from Google.

The above tricycle belonged to a toddler, nearly 4 years old, who was riding in front of his house when American planes dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima 68 years ago this August. The child, Shinichi Tetsutani, died that night, and his family later buried his bike alongside him. It remained underground for 40 years, until, in 1985, the boy's family dug up his grave to transfer him to a family plot. They gave the tricycle to Hiroshima's Peace Memorial Museum.

As of this week, it now lives online, archived in Google's Cultural Institute, a kind of cyber window into some of the world's brick-and-mortar museums. Google unveiled a new collection of images and artifacts from the bombings that utterly changed the two Japanese cities at the end of World War II. As urban history lessons go, these digital exhibits are eerily static, somber, barren, the opposite of how we normally talk about cities as symbols of dynamism and progress. Hiroshima and Nagaski, in contrast, are lessons in cities as targets.

The material, from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, shows neighborhoods torn down instead of built up. It shows time stopped instead of speeding by. It shows urban streets without any residents at all. The site is worth a visit if you don't think you'll make it to Japan in person any time soon.

A pocket watch stopped 1,640 meters from the Hiroshima hypocenter, via the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum
Nagasaki Atomic Museum
Shiroyama National School in Nagasaki, via Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

Top image via the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Environment

    No, Puerto Rico’s New Climate-Change Law Is Not a ‘Green New Deal’

    Puerto Rico just adopted legislation that commits it to generating all its power from renewable sources. Here’s what separates that from what’s going on in D.C.

  2. a photo of Northern Virginia's Crystal City.
    Life

    When Your Neighborhood Gets a Corporate Rebrand

    From National Landing to SoHa, neighborhoods often find themselves renamed by forces outside the community, from big companies to real estate firms.

  3. Life

    How to Inspire Girls to Become Carpenters and Electricians

    Male-dominated trades like construction, plumbing, and welding can offer job security and decent pay. A camp aims to show girls these careers are for them, too.

  4. Equity

    The Hidden Horror of Hudson Yards Is How It Was Financed

    Manhattan’s new luxury mega-project was partially bankrolled by an investor visa program called EB-5, which was meant to help poverty-stricken areas.

  5. A photo of a teacher at Animo Westside Charter Middle School in Los Angeles.
    Equity

    Can Opportunity Zone Tax Breaks Be a Boon for Charter Schools?

    The charter school movement is eyeing the tax incentives in the federal Opportunity Zone program to help fund school construction.