21 Mar - 7 Jun, 2015
Arts Maebashi | Gunma, Japan
single screen video Installation
11 min 57 sec
"On the night of the August 8th air raid, there were many tragic scenes everywhere in the city, but among them, the most horrible was the bomb shelter in Koyanagi-cho by the Hitone Bridge and Hosogasawa crossing. The bomb shelter in Koyanagi-cho was known as a model shelter at the time, so when the air raid started, many people in the neighborhood as well as passersby took refuge there. They are thought to have numbered around 30. Eventually, the city was filled with fire caused by the Americans’ incendiary bombs, and many people were injured or killed. The entire area around the bridge, including Koyanagi-cho and Sakae-cho, was ablaze, and everyone in the bomb shelter was suffocated by heat and smoke. Several civil defense volunteers took notice of the situation and pulled bodies out of the shelter, but all were dead, except a few who came back to life after artificial respiration. According to the officials, 12 people were killed in the shelter, and many others around the shelter." - from official record of the city of Maebashi.
Mr. Harada was only 7 years old at the time of the bombing of Maebashi. He was one of the only few survivors from the bomb shelter by the Hitone Brigdge. His parents could not get inside the shelter as it were fully packed, so that he asked for a help to an unknown madam. His body was found under this madam. He was pulled out of the shelter and was brought back to life by artificial respiration. The madam was already dead, and till today, Mr. Harada doesn't know who this unknown madam who saved his life by covering her body around him is.
Installation view at Arts Maebashi, Japan