August 17, 2011
Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor
Hiroshi Hara has painted the Atomic Bomb Dome 27 years in a row and on August 6th, 2011, the anniversary of the bomb dropping, the 79-year-old finished his 3,000th painting.
When the bomb fell on Hiroshima August 6, 1945, 66 years ago, Hiroshi was only 13 years old. Because he was on Etajimia island in Hiroshima Bay on vacation, he survived the bomb, but 187 fellow classmates and three teachers did not. Hiroshi returned to Hiroshima the next day, and the image of destruction has stayed with him since.
He developed his artistic abilities while being employed at the Japanese National Railways in the art department in 1954. In 1984 he founded an organization to share stories of atomic bomb survivors and relay their messages to children. That year he began to paint the symbol of anti-nuclear feeling, the Atomic Bomb Dome, reports The Mainichi Daily News
He pours his hope and dreams into each painting Hiroshi creates so that the world will end its reliance on nuclear weapons. By 1996 he had created 500 paintings of the dome. By 2007 he had reached 2,000 and since then has painted about another 1,000 approaching his current total of 3,000.
In 2002 Hiroshi Hara was diagnosed with colon cancer
possibly a result of his exposure of radiation from the atomic bomb.
"Three thousand paintings is just a stepping stone," says Hara, whose true goal is to surpass 3,085, the number of hits recorded by baseball player Isao Harimoto, 71, whom he calls "the pride of Hiroshima Prefecture."
Even when he reaches 3,085 paintings, Hiroshi does not plan to end his pursuit for world peace.
"This is my duty as a survivor," he says. His desire has been reborn since the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant after the tsunami
"Nuclear reactors give birth to the materials for nuclear weapons, so calling them safe is very strange in the first place," he said to the source.
For over 66 years, the Atomic Bomb Dome has stood as a symbol that as the late Ichiro Moritaka, professor emeritus of Hiroshima University said: "Humankind and nuclear weapons cannot coexist."
With this mantra in mind, Hiroshi Hara continues to paint for peace.