Hiroshima (II)

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When you hear “Hiroshima”, you almost certainly think of the atomic bomb first. But at a prefectural level, Hiroshima is one of the best microcosms of the wide range of war memories and experiences across Japan as a who. This page takes you on a virtual tour around Hiroshima prefecture (see a map and basic data here) by looking at the tourism websites.

Hiroshima Prefecture

These are the prefectural level tourism promotion sites in Japanese: 広島県公式観光サイト and in English: Visit Hiroshima

Hiroshima City

History related to the A-bomb is presented using the term Peace Tourism. The principle site, of course, is the Peace Park and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. However, let’s contrast Hiroshima city with three other places in Hiroshima prefecture with important war history.

Kure City and Etajima City

Here is the tourism page for nearby Kure city (about 30 minutes by train from Hiroshima). They have a pamphlet in English. Here the focus is on naval history. The key sites include the Yamato Museum (Japanese hereEnglish here) and the JMSDF Kure Museum (English page). As you can see, Kure is a naval town, and there is also the Etajima First Service School (Naval Academy) in Etajima City (city tourism page in Japanese), a short boat ride away across the harbour. You can take a guided tour around this facility, which includes the Naval History Museum. I have written about my fieldwork in the following paper:

Philip Seaton, Islands of Dark and Light/Lite Tourism.

This Hiroshima City tourism site shows how Kure, Etajima and Hiroshima may be combined in a 2-day tour on the theme of war history.

Takehara City and Okunoshima (Rabbit Island)

Here is the tourism page for Takehara city, which contains the island Okunoshima, known colloquially as “rabbit island”. However, scroll down the English page and you will see a reference to the island’s darker history as a site of poison gas production. This history is preserved in the Okunoshina Poison Gas Museum (Japanese only). Again, see my article Islands of Dark and Light/Lite Tourism for more information.

Fukuyama City

This city (tourism website here, translations via Google translate) is the least well known site of war history, but is important as the site of a major air raid. There is a historical walking course around Fukuyama Castle that takes in the prefectural history museum (mainly Seto Inland Sea culture), the Peace and Human Rights Museum, and the Fukuyama Literary Museum. The Peace and Human Rights Museum documents the Fukuyama air raid and the history of discrimination against burakumin people in the area. The Fukuyama Museum of Literature focuses heavily on perhaps Fukuyama’s most famous son: Ibuse Masuji, author of the novel Black Rain about the Hiroshima bombing.

Video Materials

Below are five videos connected to tourism in Hiroshima prefecture.

Trailer for the film Black Rain
Trailer for the film Yamato.
Trailer for the anime film In This Corner of the World.
Trailer for the anime film based on the game Kantai Collection.
A vlog about “rabbit island”. Alas, the rabbits are not connected to the poison gas factory as described in the video.

Forward to Karafuto