About Nagasaki Peace Park
The Nagasaki Peace Park commemorates the atomic bombing of this Japanese city by American forces in World War II.
History of Nagasaki Peace Park
On 9 August 1945, US forces dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki – just three days after they detonated one in Hiroshima. The Imperial Japanese army had ignored previous ultimatums to surrender, and the US hoped that use of nuclear weapons would force their hand. 6 days after the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan did indeed surrender. The legacy of these bombings has been far-reaching, and still causes heated debates today.
Precise numbers are unclear, but it’s thought up to 40,000 people were killed instantly, and a further 60,000 severely injured. Many of those injured died of complications in the weeks and months afterwards, and yet more died of radiation sickness in the following years. 30% of the city was destroyed – unlike Hiroshima, no firestorm developed, and the bomb was not dropped quite as centrally.
The peace park was established in 1955, close to the hypercentre of the explosion. The remnants (a singular concrete wall) of Urakami Cathedral can be seen, as can the 10m tall bronze Peace Statue, designed by Kitamura Seibō, and plaque remembering victims. Every year on 9 August, a memorial ceremony is held in the park, where the Mayor of Nagasaki delivers a Peace Declaration.
The Nagasaki Peace Park today
The Peace Park is a lovely place to wander and reflect on this grim period in Nagasaki’s history. Anti-nuclear protesters gather here semi-regularly (unsurprisingly), so don’t be surprised if you stumble across them. Look out for the Peace Symbol Zone, which houses contributions from around the world on the theme of peace – including the most recent 2016 addition from Australia.
The park also houses a Monument for Korean Atomic Victims – around 13,000 Koreans were living in Nagasaki at the time, many of whom were being used as forced labour by the Japanese. It’s thought around 2000 of them were killed in the blast. The monument was unveiled in 1979.
Getting to the Nagasaki Peace Park
You can access the Peace Park via St Paul Street, just off the 206 Motorway: parking is located nearby. If you’re heading here via public transport, the nearest tram stop is the aptly named Atomic Bomb Museum.
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