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Painter and Hiroshima A-bomb survivor Hiroshi Hara dies at 87

The 500th sketch of the Atomic Bomb Dome that Hiroshi Hara drew in December 1996. (Mainichi)

HIROSHIMA -- Artist Hiroshi Hara, who survived the 1945 atomic bombing of this city and gained fame for his paintings of the Atomic Bomb Dome, died from cancer on April 14. He was 87.

Hara is survived by his son Hironobu and other relatives. A private funeral service will be held for close relatives.

Hara was exposed to radiation from the bomb when he entered Hiroshima the day after the United States dropped the "Little Boy" uranium bomb on the city on Aug. 6, 1945. He was 13 years old.

He saw many people who were injured in the bombing asking for water, and countless bodies floating in the city's rivers. Many of his school classmates were killed in the attack.

Hiroshi Hara is seen at Hiroshima Municipal Honkawa Elementary School in the city's Naka Ward in this Oct. 5, 2017 file photo. (Mainichi/Asako Takeuchi)

Hara has painted more than 3,000 watercolors of the A-Bomb Dome in the city's Naka Ward. The building, now a symbol of the nuclear attack and all the suffering it caused, was originally the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall. As a capstone to his career and his life as a "hibakusha" A-bomb survivor, in October 2017 he made an oil painting of the dome and donated it to Hiroshima Municipal Honkawa Elementary School, where some 400 children perished in the bombing.

Hara, who attended the Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly on Disarmament in 1988 in New York as a hibakusha representative, repeatedly appeared in the Mainichi Shimbun's "Hibakusha" feature article series. In an interview for the series, Hara emphasized that, as a survivor, it was his responsibility to make paintings of the A-Bomb Dome as a structure conveying the tragedy of the attack.

He also expressed concern over Japan's refusal to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which was adopted at the United Nations in July 2017.


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