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75 Years, Remembering the Hiroshima Bombing

Series: Exhibits

At 8:15 AM on August 6, 1945 the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Justified as a means to end the war in the Pacific, it killed 80,000 people instantly and over 200,000 total. It was followed three days later with another bombing in Nagasaki. 

Explosion at Nagasaki
Explosion at Nagasaki

These bombings, though horrific, have led many to advocate for peace. In 2011, the University of Idaho received a gift from Hiroshima University. This gift, including some roof tiles and a manga series, was sent as a ”thank you” for helping to rebuild Hiroshima University in the post-war period. 

The help Hiroshima University received from the University of Idaho was long forgotten, but brought back to light by these tiles.

Roof tiles
Roof tiles

Also included in the packages were photographs of the letters exchanged between Hiroshima University President Tatsuo Morito and Forestry Professor Merrill E. Deters.

In his initial letter to the University of Idaho, President Morito expresses his wish to establish a ”Peace-University” and requests books for their ”international-peace-library.” He also requests seeds to plant on campus, so that it may turn from a ”bare, desolate ground destitute of a single tree” to ”…a fresh green color…which is a color of growth and hope.”

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Letter from Hiroshima University

Professor Deters responded by sending the seeds of the western white pine and the white fir, a copy of the book Foundations of Silviculture and $3. The University of Idaho was one of only 8 institutions in the United States to send seeds, and only one of 18 institutions in the United States to send money to President Morito’s cause.

On this, the 75th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb we ruminate on the words sent by Rebun Kayo, the man who collected the tiles and sent them to the contributing institutions:

“…please pray for the victims of the atomic bomb in accordance with the practices of your country and your religion… Each individual prayer may eventually connect to the prayers of others, which will eventually produce a greater power of mercy. And, this is where we see the hope for a peaceful world for the future.”

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