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Quote of the Week – Hirayama on Hiroshima

June 11th, 2008 · 14 Comments · Quote of the Week

Words of Ikuo Hirayama, 81 year old survivor of the Atomic Bomb at Hiroshima:

“I believe that art can overcome hardships. I believe that flowers can blossom from anguish and inhumanity.”


Referring to the peace flame, pictured above, that will remain lit until the world no longer has nuclear weapons, Hirayama said:

"I saw the color of the fire, which was orange. It reminded me of the day of the bombing, and I could not get rid of that color behind my eyelids,"

From NPR, Art, and Hope, from the Ashes of Hiroshima.  Take a moment to read the article and listen to the audio file.  You will be amazed by the courage and beauty that this man has created from his horrific experience.

His painting , "The Holocaust of Hiroshima", featured in the NPR article, is a moving tribute to all that lost their lives as a result of the bombing.  Some of his other works can be seen online at Gallery-Sakura and the Hirayama Ikuo Museum of Art.

Photo Credit:  Flickr, Hiroshima – Memorial Flame

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14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 www.japansoc.com // Jun 11, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Artist Ikuo Hirayama on Hiroshima…

    This artist survived the bombing of Hiroshima, adopted Buddhism, and went on create beautiful art to honor those who lost their lives. An amazing and talented man who shows us the beauty that can be borne of hardship….

  • 2 Mike // Jun 12, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    I was just in Japan and went to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I will be posting about them in the future!

  • 3 billywest // Jun 14, 2008 at 12:53 am

    Haven’t been to Hiroshima yet. But, it’s definitely on my list of places to visit in the next couple of years.

    Amazing that Mr. Hirayama was able to give something so positive to the world for all to see.

  • 4 alex // Jun 29, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    although horrible in its effects, the ends did justify the means with the bombing of hiroshima and nagasaki… it led to the end of WWII and the destruction of the evil japanese war machine. if you want to know about holocaust, go to nanjing and visit the memorial to the war crimes committed by japan there. or look on wikipedia about unit 731… war crimes committed by japan make the atomic bombings look like a back massage in comparison.

  • 5 Shane // Jul 1, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Alex, this was just one man’s way of overcoming his personal hardships and based on what I have read he is not doing this for any other reason.

    You bring up an interesting point but it’s quite a leap from the subject of the post which took no stance on the bombing itself.

  • 6 Alex // Jul 1, 2008 at 8:43 am

    I brought up the point because he refered to it as the holocaust of hiroshima, which insinuates that the bombing was on par with the extermination of the jews, which is incorrect and insulting to what the jewish people went through. but yeah it’s kind of a personal to me because i’ve been to the memorials in china and talked to people who fought in se asia and their experiences with what the japanese did and whenever i hear or read something about how horrible the bombings were i just feel that is hould remind people that they were not unprovoked. sorry

  • 7 ims // Jul 2, 2008 at 4:20 am

    i just thought i’d point out that the citizens of hiroshima and nagasaki paid the price for what their government did and that is not acceptable. and, it is pretty well known by those who have done some research that the bombs were dropped to prove what the american government had and was capable of.

  • 8 alex // Jul 2, 2008 at 10:01 am

    well no actually ims, that is incorrect. the bombs were dropped because a land invasion of japan, island by island, would have resulted in the deaths of (projected) 500,000 allied troops and over 2 million japanese military and civilians. prior to the bombings the japanese government were arming civilians with rudimentary weapons and telling them to fight to the death or kill themselves if american soldiers invaded because they would rape all the women and kill all the men (ironic because that’s actually what the japanese were doing in china, korea and the rest of asia). strange as it may sound but the bombing actually saved lives.


  • 9 Marius // Jul 3, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Alex, you are wrong. I won’t convince you but one day you may see it. Citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki went through HOLOCAUST. You are totally wrong saying that their suffering was any smaller than the Jews or that they somehow deserved it.

  • 10 Shane // Jul 3, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    The Merriam Webster dictionary defines holocaust as “a thorough destruction involving extensive loss of life especially through fire”. The Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin holocaustum, from Greek holokauston, from neuter of holokaustos burnt whole, from hol- + kaustos burnt, from kaiein to burn.

    Based on this definition the atomic bombing of Japan was a holocaust.

    This post is simply highlighting one mans way of dealing with his personal experiences.

    Let’s leave it at that and use another forum to debate the ethics of the bombing and any of the underlying strategies.

  • 11 Gaijin House Japan // Jul 13, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Enough of the debating guys. Your petty debates over which English word to describe the horror of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings just goes to show peace will never happen and you may one day be the cause! Grow up!

  • 12 Shane // Jul 14, 2008 at 9:01 am

    I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for chiming in Gaijin House.

  • 13 learning japanese words // Mar 15, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    I haven’t actually seen this one before and I don’t see this flame going out too soon. Anyone who gets the chance to visit should Hiroshima should take the chance. It may change the way you feel about a lot of things.

  • 14 alex // Sep 25, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Just read this