Monday, June 15, 2009

a visit to Hiroshima

Our third full day in Japan had us taking a Hikari "bullet train" ride to Hiroshima to visit its Peace Memorial Museum. Within the museum itself is both documentation, artfacts, personal stories, and a number of dioramic scenes, including a version of the famous "Atomic Bomb Dome" - one of the few structures near the original detonation site that still remains in the city and is now preserved (not far from the museum itself) as a testimony to the terrible events of that day.

Visiting Hiroshima now it'd be hard to now what happened given all its tall buildings, busy streets, (and of course famous okonomiyaki). That said, I hope you all feel the visit helped tie together the stories we read Nakazawa's Barefoot Gen and Hersey's Hiroshima, while at the same time raising a host of new questions as well - not only about the event or contested understandings of history, but also about the role museums play as cultural institutions of "meaning-making" that we collectively participate in, tourist and students alike.

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