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Art By Atomic Bomb Survivors In Japan

From an MIT exhibit called Ground Zero 1945: Pictures By Atomic Bomb Survivors, stunning and tragic pieces of art from those who witnessed the horrors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. These have eerie parallels with some of the scenes of destruction we see in Japan today. WARNING: Many of these portraits are disturbing.

  • "Parachute dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima; the bomb exploded over 500 meters above ground, maximizing burn and blast effects." By Harada Haruo, 10 years old in August 1945

  • "The 'mushroom-shaped' cloud from the bomb's explosion, seen from the outskirts of Hiroshima." By Horikoshi Susumu, 6 years old in August 1945

  • "'Pika-don,' the blinding flash and massive explosion of the bomb." By Yamada Sumako, 20 years old in August 1945

  • "Downtown Hiroshima in ruins, as seen two weeks later." By Kokiri Tsutomu, 4 years old in August 1945

  • "Bomb victims at Kokuzenji temple." By Hamada Yoshi, 26 years old in August 1945

  • "Hiroshima in flames on the afternoon of August 6. The writing on the painting speaks of encountering 'living Hell in this world.'" By Nakano Kenichi, 47 years old in August 1945

  • "Corpses floating in the river." Sasaki Chizuko, 20 years old in August 1945

  • "Crossing a streetcar bridge 1,680 meters from the hypocenter on August 7. The artist's text tells of 'red, blue, green, and purple corpses swollen three or four times' floating under the bridge." By Kihara Toshiko, 17 years old in August 1945

  • "Victims beg for water and cry out that they can not see." By Uesugi Ayako, 45 years old in August 1945

  • "1,300 meters from the hypocenter, the artist begs forgiveness for being unable to save a stranger trapped under a collapsed building. 'The flames began to rise. There was nothing I could do to help. Get away, hurry! the person screamed at me.'" By Yamashita Masato, 20 years old in August 1945

  • "Black rain falls 1,300 meters from the hypocenter, as fire consumes the city on the other side of the river." Chakihara Jitsuto, 31 years old in August 1945

  • "A woman driven by unbearable thirst tried to catch the black raindrops in her mouth." By Takakura Akiko, 19 years old in August 1945

  • "The artist's text tells how his younger brother was exposed to radiation while doing demolition work (to prevent fires) on August 6. 'He returned home on August 20. On around the 25th, his nose began bleeding, his hair fell out, and small red spots appeared all over his body. On the 31st, he died while vomiting blood.'" By Yamashita Masato, 20 years old in August 1945

  • "People in the open, exposed to flash burns from the immediate explosion, became known as 'the procession of ghosts.' Here the artist explains that 'to prevent their red, exposed flesh from sticking, people thrust their arms in front of them like ghosts. Their skin, like the thin skin of a peeled potato, hung from the fingernails, where it was still attached.'" By Matsumura Kazuo, 32 years old in August 1945

  • "A man, skin peeling from his hands, 'desperately looking for his child.' Neither the man nor his child survived." By Onogi Akira, 15 years old in August 1945

  • "In this scene from August 17, 11 days after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, a child clings to its mother, whose wounds are breeding maggots. The small white box on the ground contains ashes from a cremation. The mother and child were strangers to the artist, who wrote at length separately of the horror of this scene." By Ichida Ykji, 32 years old in August 1945

  • "On August 12, six days after the bomb, the artist came upon a skeleton sitting in a still-intact tilted barber's chair." By Yamabe ShMji, 42 years old in August 1945

  • "Mother looking for a place to cremate her dead child. The artist's text notes that the child's burned face was infested with maggots, and speculates that the distraught mother 'probably picked up the metal helmet as a receptacle for her child's bones.'" By Matsumura Kazuo, 32 years old in August 1945

  • "Cremating Naoko. The artist's lengthy text tells of the unspeakable agony of cremating his three-year-old daughter, and never finding the body of her older brother at all. He speaks of Hell, and of the guilt he has felt ever since for having failed to fulfill a parent's responsibility to protect them." By Ishifuro Tamiki, 35 years old in August 1945

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