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Newly digitized footage shows Hiroshima before A-bomb via The Japan Times

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum released online Wednesday digitally processed 16 mm film footage that shows the central area of Hiroshima about 10 years before the city was devastated by the U.S. atomic bombing.

The original film is the only footage owned by the museum depicting the area before World War II.

The footage is “valuable data that clearly shows how Hiroshima looked before being atom-bombed,” said a staff member at the museum. In the closing days of the war, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, on Aug. 6, 1945, and another on the city of Nagasaki three days later.

The three-minute, black-and-white video was originally shot by the late Genjiro Kawasaki, a resident of Hiroshima, for his own collection.


The museum spent about ¥900,000 to digitize the original film, which was donated in 1963. Work to process the film included removing scratches and increasing the resolution, as the film was in a bad state with poor image quality.

Lettering on a movie theater sign and the numbers on trams are both clearly shown in the digitized footage, despite having been unreadable in the original film. Museum officials say this allows more detailed research into the circumstances in the center of the city at that time.

The museum now believes that the film was shot around April 1935, not around 1936 as previously thought, based on the release date of the movie listed as being shown at the theater, the officials said.

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