Trees around the A-bomb Dome are decorated with strings of blue LEDs and orizuru peace crane decorations until February 5.
Hiroshima city hopes the decorations, ostensibly to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Hiroshima’s iconic A-bomb Dome as a UNESCO World Heritage site, will provide an opportunity for visitors to “think about peace”. The blue color is said to symbolize peace and the Hiroshima City government hopes that the “gently articulated light production” will serve to spread a message of peace to the world.
The Asahi Shimbun reports [ja] that up until December 7, the day of the switch on, the city had received 20 messages raising concerns about how appropriate adding illuminations to the area around the Dome as well as criticism of the plan.
City mayor Matsui Kazumi explained at a press conference in November that the city was aiming to strike a respectful balance between a spirit of remembrance and festiveness with the display. The planned number of lights and length of time they would be on was later reduced to appease survivor groups that requested that any display would not be too gaudy.
Although the city website [ja] describes the illuminations as being part of a tourism campaign, mayor Matsui has also been quoted as saying that the aim of the display is not increased touristification of the A-bomb Dome, but to the significance of the Dome as a place of remembrance and to spread Hiroshima’s message of peace around the world.
Yahoo News conducted a survey of 100 people who had seen the lights. 78 said they thought the display was fine (mondainai) and 20 that it should be toned down. In an online survey December 5-8 was 10,193 voted “no problem” and 13,863 voted that it should be toned down.
Personally, if the marking of this anniversary is indeed necessary, I would have liked to have seen a more meaningful commemoration. As for the lights, the A-bomb Dome already presents a very arresting sight when illuminated by the spotlights that light it up every night of the year. What so you think?