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Witnesses of war: 'A-bombed piano' museum opens in Hiroshima

Mitsunori Yagawa, left, guides a guest around the A-bombed piano museum he built on the grounds of his piano workshop in Hiroshima's Asaminami Ward on July 15, 2021. (Mainichi/Naohiro Yamada)

HIROSHIMA -- A second-generation A-bomb survivor, or "hibakusha," opened a museum on July 15 in this west Japan city displaying six pianos that were damaged in the U.S. military's Aug. 6, 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

    The museum in Hiroshima's Asaminami Ward also has pianos that survived air raids in the Hiroshima Prefecture city of Kure, and in Aichi Prefecture city Nagoya. "Pianos are also witnesses of war," 69-year-old piano tuner Mitsunori Yagawa said upon opening the museum. "I hope they will help children studying peace."

    Yagawa was commissioned to restore an A-bombed piano in 1998. After hearing the owner's experiences, he began holding concerts across Japan with the pianos, which he transported on a 4-ton truck.

    After more than 2,500 shows, he decided to build the museum on the grounds of his workshop, in the hope that people from around the country will visit, while thinking ahead to when he won't be able to tour due to old age.

    About 20 people including supporters of Yagawa attended the opening ceremony, and listened to a short concert with a grand piano that was at an elementary school about 2 kilometers from the blast's hypocenter.

    (Japanese original by Naomi Yamamoto, Hiroshima Bureau)

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