Hiroshima A-bomb museum draws record visitors in FY 2016

2017.02.27 | Hiroshima

Yuri Takahashi (L) receives a commemorative gift as she became the 1,593,281st visitor in fiscal 2016 to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on Feb. 24, 2017, surpassing the previous record in fiscal 1991. Visitors have increased considerably since then-U.S. President Barack Obama visited there in May 2016. (Kyodo)

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum drew a record of nearly 1.6 million visitors in the year ending March, with visitor numbers rising in the wake of former U.S. President Barack Obama's May visit.

As of Friday, the number of visitors eclipsed the previous record of 1,593,280 set in fiscal 1999, and the figure is likely to reach around 1.73 million by the end of March, the museum said.

Following Obama's visit to the city as the first sitting U.S. leader in late May last year, the number of visitors to the museum rose 40 percent from a year earlier in June and July.

The museum had planned to stop displaying paper cranes presented by Obama but decided to continue the popular exhibit as it attracted many to the museum.

Yuri Takahashi, a 29-year-old nurse from Tokyo's Nakano Ward, who became the 1,593,281st person to visit the museum said, "I understood the horrors of atomic bombs after seeing the Atomic Bomb Dome. This is a place that marks Japan's history."

Museum director Kenji Shiga attributed the rise in the number of visitors to the display of the cranes dedicated by Obama and the popularity of "Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni"(In this corner of the world), a Japanese animated film set in Hiroshima before and during World War II.

The United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and a second on Nagasaki three days later. Japan surrendered on Aug. 15, bringing the war to an end.


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