HIROSHIMA -- The ruins of a large Imperial Japanese Army installation have been discovered at the site of a planned soccer stadium in the city center of Hiroshima.
According to the Hiroshima Municipal Government, the site is believed to be the remains of the Chugoku military district's supplemental transportation corps' base, which was destroyed by the atomic bombing on Aug. 6, 1945. It may be one of the largest atomic bombing ruins ever excavated.
The stadium, the new home of J-League first-division side Sanfrecce Hiroshima, will be built in the central park plaza on the west side of Hiroshima Castle in the city's Naka Ward. Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2022 for a 2024 opening. Ahead of construction, the city has been conducting an excavation survey on 14,000 square meters of the site since 2020, in the belief that it contains the remains of Edo-period samurai residences and modern buildings.
The transportation corps moved weapons and ammunition by horse and motor vehicle. The ruins were found more than a meter below the surface, and traces including building foundations, cobblestones, and waterways thought to make up the base stables, were confirmed.
Before the war, the area was lined with transportation corps' barracks and stables, but it was devastated by the atomic bombing. Located less than a kilometer from the hypocenter, many soldiers died in the attack. After the war, the site was filled with soil and simple housing was hastily built on top of it for citizens who had lost their homes in the bombing.
The municipal government checked the ruins against records such as aerial photographs taken just before the atomic bombing and determined that they were most likely the remains of the transportation corps' base. The city's cultural promotion division pointed out, "This is a valuable relic highlighting that Hiroshima was a military city before the war."
The ruins will be documented through photographs and other means, and the artifacts excavated will be considered for display after being processed for preservation. The municipal government has stated that there will be no impact on the stadium construction plan.
(Japanese original by Isamu Gaari, Hiroshima Bureau)