Nagasaki: City of Life

長崎市 Nagasaki, Japan

29 May 2016

On August 9th 1945 at 11:02, an Atomic Bomb detonated 1,650 feet above this spot, turning the bustling city of Nagasaki into a hellish wasteland of fire and destruction. 39,000 men, women, and children died instantly and another 25,000 were wounded and many more died due to exposure to radiation. The waterway pictured represents the river that once ran through the city, where hundreds of half dying corpses piled upon each other to get one last drink of water before they died in severe agony.

Seventy-One years have passed since the bombing: Nagasaki, and Japan as a whole, has rebuilt itself and proven to be a leader in sustainable urban living and technology. Japanese Prime Minister Abe launched the Innovation for Cool Earth Forum (ICEF) to “provide a global platform for promoting discussion and cooperation among world leaders, industry representatives, academia and policymakers.” Unlike other developed countries which are vast swatches of urban jungle, Japanese cities co-exist with nature and are green in both the literal and figurative sense of the word.

When one walks through the city it is impossible to tell that Nagasaki had once been completely demolished, save the “Peace Park” where a museum and several monuments stand in memorial to those who died in the bombing. Those who look to build a sustainable model for urban centers should not overlook this city, whose name is too often associated with death rather than renewed life.

Ryan Torres
U.S. Merchant Marine Academy
United States of America

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