Nagarekawa Methodist Church, Hiroshima

Nagarekawa Methodist Church of Christ lies completely shattered on Hiroshima plain after atomic attack. Behind the church is the Hiroshima Central Broadcasting Office and Shukkeien Park. Photographed from the Chugoku Shimbun Newspaper Office. The Nagarekawa District, home to artists and writers, was destroyed by blast and heat that only left reinforced concrete buildings, like Nagarekawa Church, standing. Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto, who studied Theology at Emery University and had a congregation in the United States, was minister during the war. The day of the atomic bombing, he was finishing moving his family to Koi outside of the city after realizing that only Hiroshima and a few other cities were not bombed. Slightly injured when he was facing away from the blast, he ministered to the dying and injured for days, without food or rest. After the atomic attack he set up a care center for the sick, injured and orphans. He was featured in John Hersey's book, "Hiroshima," and later led the "Hiroshima Maidens" to the United States to get reconstructive surgery for their bomb-related injuries in May 1955. While he was there, he appeared on the American television program "This is Your Life" where he and his daughter were awkwardly and unexpectedly confronted with USAAF Captain Robert Lewis, the co-pilot of Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the bomb. However, Lewis expressed remorse about the bombing, which allowed the Tanimotos to forgive him and focus on stopping nuclear weapons, not the soldiers who used them. Later, he became the director of the Hiroshima Peace Center Foundation. His trip to the United States and his meeting with Lewis drew the ire of Hiroshima survivors called Hibakusha ("explosion-affected people") and Japanese right-wing organizations. Many survivors, often dealing not only with injuries, unemployment, and ostricization but extremely high levels of cancers, were not willing to forgive their enemies.
Caption Written By: 
Jason McDonald
Hiroshima Peace Museum
Date Photographed: 
Friday, October 5, 1945
Hiroshima Prefecture