NAGASAKI - A statue commemorating the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki began undergoing restoration Monday, with the city hoping to unveil it in its original blue in late March ahead of the August anniversary of the attack.
The Peace Statue, a 9.7-meter bronze sculpture of a seated man by the late artist Seibo Kitamura, was erected in 1955 near ground zero and was last re-painted over a period of approximately five months from October 1999.
Every year, the city of Nagasaki holds a ceremony in front of the statue to mark the Aug. 9, 1945, bombing carried out in the final stages of World War II. The attack killed an estimated 74,000 people in the city by the end of that year and followed closely the atomic strike on Hiroshima on Aug. 6.
Workers have so far erected fences around the statue, and the city said it will set up scaffolding to completely cover the work with sheets by mid-February.
The monument will then be spray-painted to bring it back to its original blue, since the current paint has faded due to weathering. Workers will also mend cracks in the statue’s foundation.
The sculpture of the seated man has its right arm pointed to the sky, representing the threat of an atomic bomb being dropped, and his left arm is extended horizontally, symbolizing peace. The statue’s eyes are closed in mourning for the victims of the bombing, according to the city.