building hiroshima

How Hiroshima Rose From the Ashes

It is hard to comprehend what the immediate aftermath must have been like in Hiroshima. There were the grim tasks of collecting the bodies and burning them, of clearing the rubble and debris. In all, 2.4 million sq. mi. had to be cleared and surveyed—a painstaking process that took four years. But after the most destructive event in the history of warfare, normalcy did return—slowly, fitfully but, eventually, resoundingly. Hiroshima today is a pleasant, prosperous city of 1.1 million people, with everyday concerns that are mostly no different from those of any other city in the developed world. One day in mid-July, Hiroshima’s mayor, the M.I.T.-educated, English-speaking Tadatoshi Akiba, confesses that he is consumed at the moment with efforts to build a new baseball stadium for the city’s baseball team, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. But the Bomb is the backdrop for everything that has been built here in the past six decades, from stadiums to automobile factories to shipyards. A city wiped off the map had to be rebuilt in every sense—not just physically but emotionally and psychologically as well.

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