Why Should the Roof Tiles be Displayed? Preserving moments in history through artistic expression not only provides a way for victims and family to remember the events that unfolded but also keeps those in question accountable. While searching for various pieces of art related to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we found many different works (ranging from poems to art panels) that chose to focus on different aspects of the event. Some seemed more devoted towards depicting the physical horrors of the aftermath, while others focused on the pain of remembering what was lost. Although the impact and message of each piece varies according to the artist’s intent, all of them are sure to leave a lasting impression on their viewers. What does it mean for these tiles to have moved from Japan to the US and specifically, Princeton? Even if people outside of Princeton are not aware of the tiles, does Princeton as an institution owe it to the people whose lives were lost to display these tiles for the sake of taking responsibility? We must make an effort to take responsibility for the power that comes with knowledge. By organizing some of the related artworks in chronological order of their creation, we hope to get a glimpse of how art has been a form of communicating emotions over the years, as well as how the memory of the bombs has changed, with some artists choosing to look back in time and some choosing to look forward to a future with nuclear weapons. This highlights how the memory continues to live on in succeeding generations of survivors. To read more about personal accounts, see our interview with 3rd-generation survivor Misaki Katayama. A Legacy of Memorizaliation Hiroshima Panel – 1. Ghosts by Maruki Iri & Maruki Toshi (1950) Accompanying Text: “It was a procession of ghosts. Clothes burned in an instant. Hands, faces, breasts swelled; purple blisters soon burst and skin hung like rags. A procession of ghosts, with their hands held before them. Dragging their torn skin, they fell exhausted, piling onto one another, groaning, and dying. At the center of the blast, the temperature reached six thousand degrees. A human shadow was etched on stone steps. Did that person’s body vaporize? Was it blown away? No one remains to tell us what it was like near the hypocenter. There was no way to distinguish one charred, blistered face from another. Voices became parched and hoarse. Friends would say their names, but still not recognize each other. One lone baby slept innocently, with beautiful skin. Perhaps it survived, sheltered by its mother’s breast. We hope that at least this one child will awaken to live on.” Apparently, after witnessing the horrific devastation left by the bomb, Maruki Iri felt that he had seen “something that [he] wasn’t supposed to see”. Why, then, did he and his wife feel compelled to dedicate three decades of their lives to creating the Hiroshima Panels? Genbaku Shisu [Poems of the Atomic Bomb] by Toge Sankichi (1951) Give back my father, give back my mother; Give grandpa back, grandma back; Give my sons and daughters back. Give me back myself, Give back the human race. As long as this life lasts, this life, Give back peace That will never end. Title: August 6 can we forget that flash? suddenly 30,000 in the streets disappeared in the crushed depths of darkness the shrieks of 50,000 died out when the swirling yellow smoke thinned buildings split, bridges collapsed packed trains rested singed and a shoreless accumulation of rubble and embers - Hiroshima before long, a line of naked bodies walking in groups, crying with skin hanging down like rags hands on chests stamping on crumbled brain matter burnt clothing covering hips corpses lie on the parade ground like stone images of Jizo, dispersed in all directions on the banks of the river, lying one on top of another, a group that had crawled to a tethered raft also gradually transformed into corpses beneath the sun's scorching rays and in the light of the flames that pierced the evening sky the place where mother and younger brother were pinned under alive also was engulfed in flames and when the morning sun shone on a group of high-school girls who had fled and were lying on the floor of the armory, in excrement their bellies swollen, one eye crushed, half their bodies raw flesh with skin ripped off, hairless, impossible to tell who was who all had stopped moving in a stagnant, offensive smell the only sound the wings of flies buzzing around metal basins city of 300,000 can we forget that silence? in that stillness the powerful appeal of the white eye sockets of the wives and children who did not return home that tore apart our hearts can it be forgotten?! From the wording of these poems, it is clear that their purpose is to preserve the memory of the atomic bomb and to call for peace. The first poem remains engraved on a monument in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial park. As an activist, Sankichi makes it quite clear that the events should not be forgotten, and by emphasizing the harrowing moment the bomb was dropped, suggests that they should serve as a reminder of the dangers and long-lasting trauma of nuclear weapons. Hiroshima Panel – XII. Floating Lanterns (1968) Accompanying Text: “On August 6, the seven rivers of Hiroshima fill with floating lanterns, inscribed with the names of fathers, mothers, sisters. The tide shifts before the lanterns reach the sea, and they are swept back to the city by the swell. Extinguished now, the mass of crumpled lanterns drifts in the dark currents of the river. On that day in the past, these same rivers flowed dense with corpses.” It is interesting to note how the scenes transition from graphic depictions of the bomb to efforts to remember the event and prevent it from happening again. This highlights how we must not keep this event isolated in the past, but rather use it as a moment to learn from. The roof tiles donated to Princeton University have the potential to produce these effects of memory and acknowledgement. “Painting the Atomic Bombing with the Next Generation” (2004 ~ Present) The artworks produced during this event are special in that the student creators are paired with survivors of the bomb, who recount their experience to them. Essentially, the paintings are a visual representation of a survivor’s story. View More Works: The Hiroshima Murals: The Art of Iri Maruki and Toshi Maruki More on the panels produced by the Maruki couple “Atomic Bomb Literature” as a Japanese literary genre Maruki Gallery Works Cited Harada, Mahiru. “Dazzling Light,” Hiroshima for Global Peace, 2020, hiroshimaforpeace.com/en/paintings-of-the-atomic-bombing-by-high-school-students-art-club-hiroshima-municipal-motomachi-senior-high-school/. Maruki, Iri, and Toshi Maruki. “Floating Lanterns ,” Maruki Gallery, 1968, marukigallery.jp/en/hiroshimapanels/. “Ghosts,” Maruki Gallery, 1950, marukigallery.jp/en/hiroshimapanels/. Takehara, Akiho. “Let’s All Die, All Together,” Hiroshima for Global Peace, 2020, hiroshimaforpeace.com/en/paintings-of-the-atomic-bombing-by-high-school-students-art-club-hiroshima-municipal-motomachi-senior-high-school/.