The Associated Press, July 15, 2015
TOKYO (AP) — The 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be marked with memorial services, peace concerts and art exhibits.
More than 200,000 people died in the two blasts, which were the first wartime uses of nuclear weapons. The U.S. dropped the bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, and on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. World War II ended with Japan's surrender days later.
An annual government-sponsored memorial service marking the end of the war takes place Aug. 15 at Tokyo's Budokan hall, with Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and top ministers expected to attend.
Here are some of the events in Hiroshima and Nagasaki planned to commemorate the bombings, along with related points of interest.
An annual ceremony is held Aug. 6 at the Hiroshima Peace City Memorial Monument in Peace Memorial Park. A peace bell is rung at 8:15 a.m. to mark the moment the bomb was dropped, followed by one minute of silent prayers. Details at http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/spot/festival/hiroshimapeacecrmn.html . Reservations for campsites near the peace park: http://www.city.hiroshima.lg.jp/www/contents/1428909370849/index.html.
Hiroshima also has a Peace Memorial Museum, http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/index_e2.html . For self-guided walking tours to peace-related facilities and sites that survived the bombing, including trees, along with information on volunteer tour guides, visit http://www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/images_e/courses.pdf .
Other events include:
—Aug. 5 and 9, annual peace concerts.
—Aug. 6, lantern festival in the evening of the anniversary, http://www.urban.ne.jp/home/tourou/index_e.html.
—Aug. 6, concert organized by New York-based United Nations staff and citizens chorus.
—Throughout August, free showings of films related to peace and A-bomb, including Akira Kurosawa's "Rhapsody in August" and Isao Takahata's "Grave of the Fireflies," at Hiroshima City Cinematographic, http://www.cf.city.hiroshima.jp/eizou/.
—Sept. 4-6: Hiroshima 70 Peace Seminar, an international conference to discuss peace, constitution, diplomacy and security, at Hiroshima City University.
—Sept. 19-Oct. 3: Hiroshima Art Document 2015 international art exhibit at former Bank of Japan Hiroshima branch.
—Nov. 3: Hiroshima international peace marathon.
The Nagasaki Peace Memorial ceremony is held annually Aug. 9 in Nagasaki Peace Park at the peace statue, a large bronze figure with one hand pointing up and the other extending sideways. Nearby is the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and a black obelisk marking the hypocenter of the blast, along with a small wall section from a cathedral destroyed in the bombing. Details at http://www.peace-nagasaki.go.jp/english/information/index.html . A visitors guide to Nagasaki is available at http://www.city.nagasaki.lg.jp.e.jc.hp.transer.com/kanko/index.html .
Other events include:
—Aug. 1-2, play about life in Nagasaki the day before the bombing.
—Aug. 6-12, mural painting project "Kids' Guernica" at peace park, to be painted by 200 children and students.
—Aug. 2-9, international peace art exhibit at Nagasaki Brick Hall, Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum and Nagasaki University.
—Aug. 22, musical event for children at Nagasaki city cultural hall.
—Sept. 5-6, opera "Inochi" (life) based on atomic bombing, organized by prefectural opera association and performed at Nagasaki Brick Hall.
—Sept. 22-23, requiem chorus project at Urakami church.
Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this story from Tokyo.
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