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() is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Ch goku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. It is best known as the first city in history to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) dropped an atomic bomb on it at 8:15 A.M. on August 6, 1945, near the end of World War II.[1] Its name means "Wide Island".

Hiroshima gained city status on April 1, 1889. On April 1, 1980, Hiroshima became a designated city. The city's current mayor since April 2011 is Kazumi Matsui.



Sengoku period

Hiroshima Castle Hiroshima was founded on the river delta coastline of the Seto Inland Sea in 1589 by the powerful warlord M ri Terumoto, who made it his capital after leaving Koriyama Castle in Aki Province.[2][3] Hiroshima Castle was quickly built, and Terumoto moved in in 1593. Terumoto was on the losing side at the Battle of Sekigahara. The winner, Tokugawa Ieyasu, deprived Mori Terumoto of most of his fiefs including Hiroshima and gave Aki province to Masanori Fukushima, a daimyo who had supported Tokugawa.[4]

Tokugawa period

The castle passed to Asano Nagaakira in 1619, and Asano was appointed the daimyo of this area. Under Asano rule, the city prospered, developed, and expanded, with few military conflicts or disturbances.[4] Asano's descendants continued to rule until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.[5] Hiroshima served as the capital of Hiroshima Domain during the Tokugawa period.

Imperial period

Hiroshima Commercial Museum 1915 Map of Hiroshima City in 1930's (Japanese edition) After the han was abolished in 1871, the city became the capital of Hiroshima prefecture. Hiroshima became a major urban center during the imperial period as the Japanese economy shifted from primarily rural to urban industries.

During 1870s, one of the seven government-sponsored English language schools was established in Hiroshima.[6] Ujina Harbor was constructed through the efforts of Hiroshima Governor Sadaaki Senda in the 1880s, allowing Hiroshima to become an important port city.

The Sanyo Railway was extended to Hiroshima in 1894, and a rail line from the main station to the harbor was constructed for military transportation during the First Sino-Japanese War.[7] During that war, the Japanese government moved temporarily to Hiroshima, and Emperor Meiji maintained his headquarters at Hiroshima Castle from September 15, 1894 to April 27, 1895.[7] The significance of Hiroshima for the Japanese government can be discerned from the fact that the first round of talks between Chinese and Japanese representatives to end the Sino-Japanese War was held in Hiroshima from February 1 to February 4, 1895.[8] New industrial plants, including cotton mills, were established in Hiroshima in the late 19th century.[9] Further industrialization in Hiroshima was stimulated during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, which required development and production of military supplies. The Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall was constructed in 1915 as a center for trade and exhibition of new products. Later, its name was changed to Hiroshima Prefectural Product Exhibition Hall, and again to Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall.[10]

During the First World War, Hiroshima became a focal point of military activity, as the Japanese government entered the war on the Allied side. About 500 German prisoners of war were held in Ninoshima Island in Hiroshima Bay.[11]

The growth of Hiroshima as a city continued after the First World War, as the city now attracted the attention of the Catholic Church, and on May 4, 1923, an Apostolic Vicar was appointed for that city.[12]

World War II and atomic bombing

Hiroshima after the bombing During World War II, the Second Army and Chugoku Regional Army were headquartered in Hiroshima, and the Army Marine Headquarters was located at Ujina port. The city also had large depots of military supplies, and was a key center for shipping.[13]

The bombing of Tokyo and other cities in Japan during World War II caused widespread destruction and hundreds of thousands of deaths.[14] For example, Toyama, an urban area of 128,000, was nearly fully destroyed, and incendiary attacks on Tokyo are believed to have claimed 90,000 lives. There were no such air raids in Hiroshima. However, the threat was certainly there and to protect against potential firebombings in Hiroshima, students (between 11 14 years) were mobilized to demolish houses and create firebreaks.[15]

On Monday, August 6, 1945, at 8:15 AM, the Atomic Bomb "Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima by an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay,[16] directly killing an estimated 80,000 people. By the end of the year, injury and radiation brought total casualties to 90,000 140,000.[17] Approximately 69% of the city's buildings were completely destroyed, and another 7% severely damaged.

Research about the effects of the attack was restricted during the occupation of Japan, and information censored until the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty in 1951, restoring control to the Japanese.[18]

The oleander is the official flower of the city of Hiroshima because it was the first to bloom again after the explosion of the atomic bomb in 1945.

Postwar period

Folded paper cranes]] representing prayers for peace and Sadako Sasaki

On September 17, 1945, Hiroshima was struck by the Makurazaki Typhoon (Typhoon Ida). Hiroshima prefecture suffered more than 3,000 deaths and injuries, about half the national total.[19] More than half the bridges in the city were destroyed, along with heavy damage to roads and railroads, further devastating the city.[20]

Hiroshima was rebuilt after the war, with the help from the national government through the Hiroshima Peace Memorial City Construction Law passed in 1949. It provided financial assistance for reconstruction, along with land donated that was previously owned by the national government and used for military purposes.[21]

Atomic Bomb Dome by Jan Letzel and modern Hiroshima In 1949, a design was selected for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, the closest surviving building to the location of the bomb's detonation, was designated the Genbaku Dome ( ) or "Atomic Dome", a part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was opened in 1955 in the Peace Park.[22]

Hiroshima was proclaimed a City of Peace by the Japanese parliament in 1969, at the initiative of its mayor, Shinzo Hamai (1905 1968). As a result, the city of Hiroshima received more international attention as a desirable location for holding international conferences on peace as well as social issues. As part of that effort, the Hiroshima Interpreters' and Guide's Association (HIGA) was established in 1992 in order to facilitate interpretation for conferences, and the Hiroshima Peace Institute was established in 1998 within the Hiroshima University. The city government continues to advocate the abolition of all nuclear weapons and the Mayor of Hiroshima is the president of Mayors for Peace, an international mayoral organization mobilizing cities and citizens worldwide to abolish and eliminate nuclear weapons by the year 2020 Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign.[23][24]


Hiroshima has eight wards (ku):

Ward Population Area (km ) Density
(per km )
Aki-ku 78,176 94.01 832 300px
Asakita-ku 156,368 353.35 443
Asaminami-ku 220,351 117.19 1,880
Higashi-ku 122,045 39.38 3,099
Minami-ku 138,138 26.09 5,295
(administrative center)
125,208 15.34 8,162
Nishi-ku 184,881 35.67 5,183
Saeki-ku 135,789 223.98 606
Population as of October 31, 2006


Hondori shopping arcade in Hiroshima As of 2006, the city has an estimated population of 1,154,391, while the total population for the metropolitan area was estimated as 2,043,788 in 2000.[25] The total area of the city is 905.08 km , with a density of 1275.4 persons per km .[26]

The population around 1910 was 143,000.[5] Before World War II, Hiroshima's population had grown to 360,000, and peaked at 419,182 in 1942.[26] Following the atomic bombing in 1945, the population dropped to 137,197.[26] By 1955, the city's population had returned to pre-war levels.[27]


Hiroshima is the center of industry for the Ch goku-Shikoku region, and is by and large centered along the coastal areas. Hiroshima has long been a port city and Hiroshima port or Hiroshima International Airport can be used for the transportation of goods. Hiroshima at night

Its largest industry is the manufacturing industry with core industries being the production of Mazda cars, car parts and industrial equipment. Mazda Motor Corporation is by far Hiroshima's dominant company. Mazda accounts for 32% of Hiroshima's GDP.[28] Mazda makes many models in Hiroshima for worldwide export, including the popular MX-5/Miata, Mazda Demio (Mazda2), Mazda CX-9 and Mazda RX-8. The Mazda CX-7 has been built there since early 2006. Other Mazda factories are in Hofu and Flat Rock, Michigan. Mazda 787B at the Mazda Museum in Hiroshima General machinery and equipment also account for a large portion of exports. Because these industries require research and design capabilities, it has also had the offshoot that Hiroshima has many innovative companies actively engaged in new growth fields (for example, Hiroshima Vehicle Engineering Company (HIVEC).[29] Many of these companies hold the top market shares in Japan and the world, or are alone in their particular field. Tertiary industries in the wholesale and retail areas are also very developed. Hiroshima port and ferry terminal

Another result of the concentration of industry is an accumulation of skilled personnel and fundamental technologies. This is considered by business to be a major reason for location in Hiroshima. Business setup costs are also much lower than other large cities in the country and there is a comprehensive system of tax breaks, etc. on offer for businesses which locate in Hiroshima. This is especially true of two projects: the Hiroshima Station Urban Development District and the Seifu Shinto area which offer capital installments (up to 501 million yen over 5 years), tax breaks and employee subsidies.[30] Seifu Shinto, which translates as West Wind, New Town is the largest construction project in the region and is an attempt to build "a city within a city." It is attempting to design from the ground up a place to work, play, relax and live.

One important industry in Hiroshima is the steel industry. The Japan Steel Works (formerly Nihon Seiko, established in 1907) has one of its plants in Hiroshima out of total of three plants (the other two are at Muroran and Yokohama).[31]

Hiroshima recently made it onto Lonely Planet's list of the top cities in the world. Commuting times rank amongst the shortest in Japan and the cost of living is lower than other large cities in Japan such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, or Fukuoka.


Shukkei-en Hiroshima has a professional symphony orchestra, which has performed at Wel City Hiroshima since 1963.[32] There are also many museums in Hiroshima, including the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, along with several art museums. The Hiroshima Museum of Art, which has a large collection of French renaissance art, opened in 1978. The Hiroshima Prefectural Art Museum opened in 1968, and is located near Shukkei-en gardens. The Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, which opened in 1989, is located near Hijiyama Park. Festivals include Hiroshima Flower Festival and Hiroshima International Animation Festival.

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, which includes the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, draws many visitors from around the world, especially for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony, an annual commemoration held on the date of the atomic bombing. The park also contains a large collection of monuments, including the Children's Peace Monument, the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims and many others.

Hiroshima's rebuilt castle (nicknamed Rij , meaning Koi Castle) houses a museum of life in the Edo period. Hiroshima Gokoku Shrine is within the walls of the castle. Other attractions in Hiroshima include Shukkei-en, Fud in, Mitaki-dera, and Hijiyama Park.


A man prepares okonomiyaki in a restaurant in Hiroshima Hiroshima is known for okonomiyaki, cooked on a hot-plate (usually in front of the customer). It is cooked with various ingredients, which are layered rather than mixed together as done with the Osaka version of okonomiyaki. The layers are typically egg, cabbage, bean sprouts (moyashi), sliced pork/bacon with optional items (mayonnaise, fried squid, octopus, cheese, mochi, kimchi, etc.), and noodles (soba, udon) topped with another layer of egg and a generous dollop of okonomiyaki sauce (Carp and Otafuku are two popular brands). The amount of cabbage used is usually 3 - 4 times the amount used in the Osaka style, therefore arguably a healthier version. It starts out piled very high and is generally pushed down as the cabbage cooks. The order of the layers may vary slightly depending on the chef's style and preference, and ingredients will vary depending on the preference of the customer.


The Chugoku Shimbun is the local newspaper serving Hiroshima. It publishes both morning paper and evening editions. Television stations include Hiroshima Home TV, Hiroshima TV, TV Shinhiroshima, and the RCC Broadcasting Company. Radio stations include Hiroshima FM, Chugoku Communication Network, FM Fukuyama, FM Nanami, and Onomichi FM. Hiroshima is also served by NHK, Japan's public broadcaster, with television and radio broadcasting.


Hiroshima Municipal Stadium Hiroshima is home to several professional and non-professional sports teams. Baseball fans immediately recognize the city as the home of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. Six-time champions of Japan's Central League, the team has gone on to win the Japan Series three times. Kohei Matsuda, owner of Toyo Kogyo, was primary owner of the team from the 1970s until his death in 2002.[33] The team is now owned by members of the Matsuda family, while Mazda has minority ownership of the team. Hiroshima Municipal Stadium, which was built in 1957, was the home of the Hiroshima Carp from the time it was built until the end of the 2008 season. The stadium is located in central Hiroshima, across from the A-Bomb Dome. The city is building a new baseball stadium near the JR Hiroshima Station, to be ready for the 2009 season.[34] Sanfrecce Hiroshima is the city's professional football team; they won the Japanese league championship five times in the late 1960s and have remained one of Japan's traditionally strong football clubs. In 1994, the city of Hiroshima hosted the Asian Games.


Satake Memorial Hall at Hiroshima University Hiroshima University was established in 1949, as part of a national restructuring of the education system. One national university was set up in each prefecture, including Hiroshima University, which combined eight existing institutions (Hiroshima University of Literature and Science, Hiroshima School of Secondary Education, Hiroshima School of Education, Hiroshima Women's School of Secondary Education, Hiroshima School of Education for Youth, Hiroshima Higher School, Hiroshima Higher Technical School, and Hiroshima Municipal Higher Technical School), with the Hiroshima Prefectural Medical College added in 1953.[35]


Local public transportation in Hiroshima is provided by a Tram system, operated by Hiroshima Electric Railway called for short. Hiroden also operates buses in and around Hiroshima Prefecture. Hiroshima Electric Railway was established on June 18, 1910, in Hiroshima. While many other Japanese cities abandoned the streetcar system by the 1980s, Hiroshima retained it because the construction of a subway system was too expensive for the city to afford, as it is located on a delta. During the 1960s, Hiroshima Electric Railway, or Hiroden, bought extra trams from other Japanese cities. Although trams in Hiroshima are now being replaced by newer models, most retain their original appearance. Thus, the tram system is sometimes called a "Moving Museum" by railroad buffs. Of the four trams that survived the war, two are still in operation as of July 2006 (Hiroden Numbers 651 and 652). There are seven tram lines, many of which terminate at Hiroshima Station. Light rail (LRT) Astram Line The Astram Line opened for the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima, with one line from central Hiroshima to Seifu Shinto and Hiroshima Big Arch, the main stadium of the Asian Games. Astram uses rubber-tyred metro cars, and provides service to areas towards the suburbs that are not served by Hiroden streetcars.[36] The Skyrail Midorizaka Line is a monorail that operates between Midoriguchi and Midori-Ch , serving three stops.

The JR West Hiroshima Station offers inter-city rail service, including Sany Shinkansen which provides high speed service between Shin- saka and Fukuoka. Sany Shinkansen began providing service to Hiroshima in 1975, when the Osaka-Hakata extension opened.[37] Other rail service includes the Sany Main Line, Kabe Line, Geibi Line, and Kure Line.

Ferries are operated by JR Miyajima Ferry and Miyajima Matsudai Kisen to Miyajima. Hiroden provides service to Miyajimaguchi Station, which is located near the ferry terminal for service to Miyajima. Hiroshima Port is the main passenger ferry terminal for Hiroshima, with service to Etajima, Matsuyama, and other destinations. There is also an international ferry terminal which has service to Busan and Ulsan in South Korea, Shanghai, Dalian, Qingdao and Ningbo in China, Keelung and Kaohsiung in Taiwan, as well as Hong Kong.[38] There is also a boat taxi service that runs along the ota-gawa channels into the city center.

Hiroshima Airport, located nearby in the city of Mihara, provides air service within Japan to Tokyo, Sapporo, Okinawa, and Sendai. International air service is provided to Seoul, Guam, Bangkok, Taipei, Shanghai, Beijing, and Dalian. Commuter air service is also available at Hiroshima-Nishi Airport.

International relations

Twin towns and sister cities

Hiroshima has six overseas sister cities:[39]

Within Japan, Hiroshima has a similar relationship with Nagasaki.

Further reading

See also



External links

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