HIROSHIMA – A growing number of citizens are against the planned removal from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum of three dolls modeled after victims of the 1945 atomic bombing of the city.
The city said earlier this year that it would no longer exhibit the dolls following the 2016-2017 remodeling of the facility.
Calls to keep the dolls on display have grown among people living in Hiroshima, who believe they make a strong impression on the many elementary, junior high and high school students who visit the museum on peace studies trips every year.
The three dolls represent an adult woman, a female student and a boy. Dressed in shabby clothes, they are shown wandering in the wreckage of the city with their arms, seriously burned and with the skin peeling off, thrust forward.
Every day, visitors view the dolls, which are in the museum’s main building.
The three have been on display since 1991, when they replaced first-generation versions that had been exhibited since they first arrived at the museum in 1973.
Faced with persistent opposition to showing the dolls at the facility, city officials opted to focus on displays of genuine items in line with work to upgrade the aging museum’s main building. Instead of the dolls, it plans to show burned clothes and photographs of citizens who survived the bombing.
Following that decision, however, citizens launched a petition drive to keep the dolls on display.
The campaign spread rapidly after the future of the dolls came under renewed discussion at the city assembly in March. The signatures of 6,042 people were delivered to the museum in late June.
“The dolls make a strong impact on children and are necessary as a way to convey how horrible the bombs are,” said Akihiro Katsube, the 43-year-old founder of the campaign.