Thursday, May 29, 2014

Yamazato Air Raid Shelters Nagasaki

Yamazato Air Raid Shelters Nagasaki are located on the grounds of Yamazato Elementary School and are possible for viewings but only on weekends and holidays as during the week regular school classes are held at this working Elementary School.

In early 1945 as the war effort reached a fever pitch, an air raid shelter was dug at the Yamazato Elementary School, located about 600 meters north of the hypocenter, in order to protect the lives of the pupils from anticipated air attacks.  After the atomic bombing, burned and injured children, teachers and neighborhood residents crowded into the shelter, where ultimately most of them died.  Although the Yamazato Air Raid Shelters Nagasaki are now closed and chained off to the general public, their images still give you chill as you can nearly see and feel the fear and cries of desperation on the children as they struggle to find friends and loved ones and desperate just for one drop of water to quench their thirst.

The Yamazato Elementary School site also has a Children's Memorial which was erected in November 1949.  A small girl clad in traditional farm-style clothing kneels in prayer amid the flames ignited by the atomic bomb.  This memorial was erected upon the suggestion of Dr. Nagai and was paid for with funds donated by him and with royalties from the book "Living Under an Atomic Cloud", a collection of excerpts taken from the diaries of pupils who survived.  It is dedicated to the memory of the 1,300 pupils and teachers who died as well as their families.

This place and its remaining Memorials certainly is a sombre and sad place to visit.  It is very hard to try an imagine all the children, teachers and innocent people that were affected by the viciousness of war.  It is from these places that we can learn to forgive the wrongs of the past and build a better future for our children,one where war and terror can be eliminated from the horizon.

A must see but only on weekends!

Come and check out Yamazato Air Raid Shelters Nagasaki on a map:

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

The Air Raid Shelters saved many lives

Restored to their previous state

They are long indeed

One of the tunnels

From the outside

Click on the video below to see more of the Yamazato Air Raid Shelters Nagasaki:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Doctor Nagai Nyokodo Nagasaki

Doctor Nagai Nyokodo Nagasaki is an amazing place that details and presents the life of a man who dedicated himself to science and in a matter of fact humanity.   In June 1945 ( approx 2 months before the atomic explosion) Dr Nagai was diagnosed to be suffering from Leukemia as a result of being exposed to radiation through his research and only given a short time to live.

Doctor Nagai Nyokodo Nagasaki, in spite of having been exposed to the bomb continued working to help other bomb survivors until his death at the age of 43.  After the bombing of Nagasaki (which destroyed his house killing his wife inside) friends built a tiny 1 room shack for him and he lived in this tiny house with his two children.  Dr. Nagai was a devoted Catholic and he named the house "Nyokodo" (literally, Love others as you love yourself) in honor of the teaching of Christ.  Even as he lay in his sickbed in the house, he wrote a number of inspiring works such as "The Bells of Nagasaki" and "Leaving These Children Behind".

In the hope that some light might be shed on the shattered lives of children in the wake of the bombing, Dr. Nagai built a small reading room.  This was expanded into the Nagai Library after his death, and was later renamed the Takashi Nagai Memorial Museum to commemorate his unbreakable spirit and his inspiring achievements.  On display are some of Dr. Nagai's possessions, drawings, writings, related photographs and his personal story of his life and ultimately his death in 1951, some 6 years after his diagnosis when in fact he only had months to live shows his remarkable struggle to continue his ground breaking research, build up his literally achievements, spread the word of God and most of all care for his children who had already lost their Mother in the atomic explosion.

Apart from the Nagasaki Peace Park, this is the only other place where I have been reduced to tears of sorrow.  The life of Doctor Nagai Nyokodo Nagasaki must be celebrated and rejoiced as it is a story of love and compassion for ones fellow man.   The Museum is a real tear jerker but well worth it as it makes you realize what is really important in life.

Click here to see Doctor Nagai Nyokodo Nagasaki on a map:

Click on the pictures below to enlarge:

Dr Nagai's Nyokodo still receives lots and lots of visitors today

The basic 1 room house of Dr Nagai

Dr Nagai's tiny house he decided to live in after the bomb

A heartbreaking human story

Dr Nagai searching his house for remains after the Atomic explosion

Dr Nagai was an amazing Human Being

Click here to see more of Doctor Nagai Nyokodo Nagasaki on a video: