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Renovated Hiroshima A-bomb museum building opens with new exhibits

The main building of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum reopens in Hiroshima, on April 25, 2019, after undergoing a two-year renovation. Some additional photos and victims' belongings have been put on display. (Kyodo)
The main building of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum reopens in Hiroshima, on April 25, 2019, after undergoing a two-year renovation. Some additional photos and victims' belongings have been put on display. (Kyodo)
The main building of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum reopens in Hiroshima, on April 25, 2019, after undergoing a two-year renovation. Some additional photos and victims' belongings have been put on display. (Kyodo)

HIROSHIMA (Kyodo) -- The main building of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum reopened Thursday after undergoing a two-year renovation, with some additional photos and victims' belongings put on display.

Themed the "Reality of the Atomic Bombing," the reopened building focuses on using personal items to introduce the lives of some individuals who fell victim to the U.S. atomic bombing in 1945.

By putting the personal belongings -- like clothing, shoes, photos and drawings -- on display, the museum hopes to make a larger impact on visitors than would be achieved by using explanatory text alone.

"(The renovated museum area) is the base of our activities to pass on the reality of the nuclear bombing. I hope many Japanese and foreign people will recognize the pain and grief of the victims and their families," Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui said at a ceremony held to mark the reopening.

A section featuring American prisoners of war and other foreign victims who were in the western Japan city at the time of the blast was also added.

There are now a total of 538 items on display in the museum's main building, roughly the same as before the renovation, but the number of photos increased from 112 to 173. One photo features a life-sized image of a girl standing in an area of devastation, other monochrome photos show severely burned victims.

"I knew about the atomic bombing, but I felt anew that it was truly awful," Tetsuro Nukina, 65, from Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture, said after visiting the museum.

"Every single displayed item provided me with a glimpse at dreadful facts," he added.

The main building of the museum had been closed since the renovation work started in April 2017, with the aim of both exhibition renewal and quake resistance reinforcement. It was the third large-scale renewal of the museum which opened in 1955.

About 1.52 million people, including a record-high 430,000 from overseas, visited the museum in the year through March.

The museum, composed of the main building and an east building, was designed by the late Japanese architect Kenzo Tange and was designated as an important cultural asset of Japan in 2006.

Paper cranes made by U.S. President Barack Obama, who visited the museum in 2016 while in office, are displayed in the east building.

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