The exhibition hall building, now known as the Atomic Bomb Dome, is seen
about a decade before the U.S. atomic bombing in this 16 mm film shot
in 1935 by late Hiroshima resident Genjiro Kawasaki. | THE HIROSHIMA
PEACE MEMORIAL MUSEUM / VIA KYODO
HIROSHIMA – The Hiroshima Peace
Memorial Museum released online Wednesday digitally processed 16 mm film
footage that shows the central area of Hiroshima about 10 years before
the city was devastated by the U.S. atomic bombing.
The original film is the only footage owned by the museum depicting the area before World War II. The footage is “valuable data that clearly shows how Hiroshima looked
before being atom-bombed,” said a staff member at the museum. In the
closing days of the war, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on
Hiroshima, on Aug. 6, 1945, and another on the city of Nagasaki three
The three-minute, black-and-white video was originally shot by the
late Genjiro Kawasaki, a resident of Hiroshima, for his own collection.
The footage includes cherry blossoms, people dressed in fine kimono
in a shopping street, and the distinctive exhibition hall building — now
known as the Atomic Bomb Dome — before it was ravaged by the nuclear
The museum spent about ¥900,000 to digitize the original film, which
was donated in 1963. Work to process the film included removing
scratches and increasing the resolution, as the film was in a bad state
with poor image quality.
Lettering on a movie theater sign and the numbers on trams are both
clearly shown in the digitized footage, despite having been unreadable
in the original film. Museum officials say this allows more detailed
research into the circumstances in the center of the city at that time.
The museum now believes that the film was shot around April 1935, not
around 1936 as previously thought, based on the release date of the
movie listed as being shown at the theater, the officials said.