Hiroshima Today

In 1958, the population of Hiroshima reached 410,000, finally exceeding what it was before the war. It is currently a major urban center with a population of 1.12 million people. Major industries in Hiroshima today are machinery, automotive (Mazda) and food processing. Interestingly enough, one quarter of Hiroshima's electricity is from nuclear power.

Rebuilding efforts over the decades have been fruitful. As early as 1979, the difference between Hiroshima in the immediate aftermath and what it had become was remarkable:

"In today's Hiroshima, bustling shopping centers line covered pedestrian malls and major department stores feature a range of merchandise almost as great as their Tokyo counterparts," wrote John Spragens Jr., a staff writer for the Corsicana (Texas) Daily Sun, in an article published on August 29, 1979.

The downtown streets of Hiroshima are now lined with high-rise buildings, and the park is green again. Every year on August 6, the day the bomb was dropped, Hiroshima holds a ceremony in Peace Memorial Park, where the mayor reads his annual Peace Declaration. Determined to fulfill its mission as an international peace culture city, Hiroshima strives to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

Memorial Cenotaph
The Memorial Cenotaph at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

The hibakusha who are still alive are becoming quite elderly, averaging over 80 years old. Sadly, some are confined to hospitals due to aftereffects, and many live in fear, wondering when the radiation might strike again. Although it is painful for them to tell their stories, many hibakusha are willing to do so in order to help the next generation understand the importance of peace.

Enola Gay at National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Enola Gay at National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

The Enola Gay became a star exhibit at the National Air Fair in Chicago on July 3, 1949 and in 1952 MGM released the movie Above and Beyond about Tibbets and the Enola Gay, starring Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker. The Enola Gay is on display at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center near Washington, D.C.