TOKYO: Japan is commemorating the anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Bunkyo Ward in Tokyo has organized an exhibition of panels by artists MARUKI Iki and MARUKI Toshi who went to Hiroshima shortly after the bombing to record through their art the horror of the bombings and to help the victims.
At this time, censorship was imposed by the American occupation forces, but the Marukis continued to testify aboutwhat they had learned following the nuclear bombardment. They also volunteered to help with the cremation of dead bodies.
The two artists remained sensitive to the problems of the victims and their work was finally recognized with numerous prizes and exhibitions around the world. They were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.
Two large panels from the Hiroshima series are on display at the Civic and Cultural Space at Bunkyo Ward Gallery. These show entangled bodies of young teenagers in a panel titled “Shonen Shojo” made in 1951. Others show suffering bodies in flames and radioactive clouds of ash in the “Fire II” panel made in 1950 that recalls scenes from the immediate aftermath of the bombing.
Other parts of the exhibition teach the consequences and the scope of the two nuclear explosions by means of video, and historical and geographical friezes.
The exhibition brings together hundreds of curious people. This year is special since it marks the 40th anniversary since Bunkyo Ward declared itself a nuclear-free zone.
SHIKAKURA Taisuke, one of the organizers of the exhibition, told Arab News Japan that he remained opposed to the use of nuclear weapons and that he was surprised that at the G7 summit that took place in Hiroshima Japan did not clearly call for the prohibition and abolition of nuclear weapons.
The free exhibition runs from August 6 – the day 78 years ago when an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima – to August 9,the day an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.