Preserving heritage buildings has community value and also creates destination appeal for Hiroshima and Japan.
The buildings have more than 100 years of history and have great value as heritage buildings. As described by Mayu Seto and Nao Fukuoka, two Hiroshima campaigners who are passionate about preserving these warehouses, the largest of all the A-bombed buildings.
These buildings are significant as a feat of architecture at the time- the red bricks were made in Japan and the design was one of the highest quality at the time with reinforced concrete inside and red brick outside.
The buildings also represent Japan’s wartime military history when the Army used these warehouses to store, supply, make and repair Army uniforms and about 2,000 “mobilized students” like Iwao Nakanishi (who started the preservation campaign) worked here. It is an important relic of the devastating effects of nuclear weapons as the iron doors over the windows are warped and broken in various degrees around all of the buildings. It is also an important building for those whose lives were saved by being protected by the building on August 6th, 1945 when Hiroshima was attacked with an Atomic Bomb. It is also a memorial to thousands of people who came here to seek help after surviving the A-bomb, but who did not survive and lost their lives in these buildings soon after.
These buildings are of great value to Hiroshima, Japan, and the world in what it symbolizes and represents in great impact when you visit. They are also a huge asset to the destination of Hiroshima in terms of domestic and international tourism appeal. Being able to see these buildings in person helps relay Hiroshima’s peace message to the world to abolish the use of nuclear weapons.
Value to the Hiroshima, Japan, and International Communities
As Nao Fukuoka and Mayu Seto mention in the video, these buildings can be used to fill the needs of the local community while also creating sustainable tourism appeal. For example, parts of the buildings could be used as a peace museum which also addressed the wartime historical realities. The buildings could also serve as a physical reminder of the past- places for young people to see and touch history. It could also serve as a storage and recycling facility for the “Orizuru” peace cranes- these beautiful folded origami designs are sent to Hiroshima from around the world from those wishing for peace. Currently, thousands are sent to Hiroshima each year and some of the cranes are recycled into paper products, but most are burnt due to lack of space.
Other ideas are to collaborate with companies to reuse some of the warehouse space as offices, eateries, coffee houses and a variety of businesses as an aspect of CSR. Many international businesses are looking to create a sustainable and community-focused brand which makes reusing a historical building like this a perfect choice. Art galleries and artists studios, daycare centers for children and the elderly, research facilities for university students, conference venue for peace symposiums and sustainability-focused meetings.
The First Step is to Preserve
There are various ideas for how to use these buildings once remodeled and made safe from earthquakes, but first and foremost they must be preserved. The discussion of whether or not to knock them down has been delayed for now, so this is the time to raise our voices in support of the campaigners working to preserve these heritage buildings.
Thank you to campaigner and singer Mayu Seto and campaigner Nao Fukuoka for sharing these wonderful explanations and their passion with us in English.
- Official campaign website to preserve these A-bombed Buildings.
- Official campaign Facebook Page
- GetHiroshima covers the A-bombed Buildings in Hiroshima
- InboundAmbassador.com – Building on Heritage
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