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Hiroshima City: its regeneration after the atomic bomb

Part 2 Dissertation 2003
Anniz Fazli Ibrahim Bajunid
Robert Gordon University, UK
Hiroshima is a classic example of a city totally destroyed by warfare and is a city well remembered as the one that sustained the first atomic bomb in the history of human kind. No one city is similar to Hiroshima City, for a single bomb dropped on Hiroshima differentiates the cataclysmic event in magnitude of destruction from other war torn cities in the rest of the world.

This study traces the efforts of the Japanese people and the government to rebuild Hiroshima after the destruction of the city when the Atomic Bomb - ‘Little Boy’, was dropped on August 6, 1945. The city was flattened within a radius of 4 kilometres. It was estimated that 96% of all buildings were destroyed. The transportation networks were paralysed, the water and drainage systems were disrupted and the sewage pipelines were dysfunctional. Insufficient funds and support from the local government, the prefecture and the national government halted all processes of rebuilding during the initial Allied occupational transition and the forming of the Government’s Headquarters (GHQ) in Tokyo immediately after Japan surrendered in August 1945. Half of the population of the city was lost, leaving the city dead, with large numbers of casualties in need of medical attention, food and shelter.

This study identifies the critical factors that enabled the city to be rebuilt, moving from a state of seemingly impossible challenges and unimaginable future to a modern vibrant and thriving city providing quality living. Visions, principles, policies and criteria generated by the local and national leaders in the process of rebuilding the city, which suffered unparalleled catastrophe, are identified and analysed. The study maps out the significant issues in planning and implementation of reconstruction that were dealt with by planners, architects and builders in their contributions/work towards the city’s dynamic revival. There is much that architects and other professional builders as well as the layman can learn from their experience, commitment, expertise, foresight and courage. This study is a tribute to the vision, will and competence of the Japanese people, of planners, architects and builders who rebuilt after destruction.

Anniz Fazli Ibrahim Bajunid

Anniz’s dissertation is the result of an ambition to select a subject that will provide a basis for a life’s work. His depth of investigation is exemplified by the commitment required to make a month’s visit to Hiroshima, meeting many of the key players in both the on-going planning of the city’s development, and in the analysis of the impact of the atomic bomb. Family connections with the city enabled access to important figures in the academic study of the city’s revitalisation. The generation of the research focus was carefully worked through, as was the sourcing of data from across the world to incorporate into the study. His analysis was well structured and provides a springing off point for his proposed further study of the topic.

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