The University Archives was recently given the honor and responsibility of providing a home for seven roof tiles that sustained damage in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. The roof tiles were collected in a river bed near ground zero of the atomic bomb explosion.
Along with the roof tiles, the donation includes photographs of the location where the tiles were recovered; booklets and pamphlets on the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; and documents related to the artifacts.
Hiroshima University was decimated in the atomic bomb attack— most of its students and faculty members perished and its buildings were demolished. In the post-war period, Hiroshima University’s president Tatsuo Morito reached out to universities world-wide to help to renew the institution by sending books for its library and saplings to bring its grounds back to life.
Princeton was among the schools that responded in 1951 by providing both a book for the library’s collection and a monetary donation for the purchase of a native tree for the campus; and now, in celebration of its 80th anniversary, Hiroshima University is reciprocating by donating these artifacts.
The roof tiles are distributed by Hiroshima University’s Association for Sending Atomic-bombed Roof Tiles in order to perpetuate awareness of the devastating effects of the atomic bombings in Japan, and to oppose the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons. In a letter that accompanies the donation, Toshimasa Asahara, President of Hiroshima University, explains:
The threat of nuclear weapons still exists in many areas of the world. It is our earnest desire, however, that the pain and sadness experienced in Hiroshima not be re-created anywhere else in the world.
This wish is not only the wish of those of us living today but represents the silent voices of the 240,000 Hiroshima citizens who perished from the atomic bomb. We believe it is also the will of others such as yourselves who will work together with us to build a peaceful future for the world.