- From the Archives
National Geographic Archives: Up From Hiroshima
70 years ago, an American bomber dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. In this piece from August 1995, Ted Gup visits the city 50 years after the attack.
IT IS ON THE THIRD FLOOR of Hiroshima’s Funairi Mutsumi Nursing Home that I first hear the name of Akiko Osato, spoken by her 85-year-old mother, Shima Sonoda. A frail, dignified woman with close-cropped black hair, she closes her eyes to remember that distant summer morning in 1945.
Shima, a widow, had asked her three elder children to mind the stationery shop in the front of their wood-frame house while she and Akiko, her four-year-old daughter, readied a wartime breakfast of soybeans, radish leaves, and rice porridge. Shima did so with a sense of relief. A few minutes earlier the air-raid sirens had sounded the all clear, and she and the children had climbed out of their makeshift bomb shelter, a