About Ikuo Hirayama

About Ikuo Hirayama

Career

Entrance into junior highschool and exposure to atmic bomb explosion

With dormitory residents (1943)

After graduating from the Setoda National Elementary School in March 1943, Hirayama entered the private Shudo Junior High School in Hiroshima City. With the Pacific War raging and the wartime regime in place at the time, he became sick and malnourished during residency at the dormitory and moved to a boarding house after his second year summer break. Painting was his only diversion from the hunger and loneliness of dormitory life. A program for wartime mobilization of students for labor service was set up in 1944. In spite of his poor health, he volunteered to work at the arsenal of the Hiroshima Army in Hiroshima City starting in July 1945.

On August 6, Ikuo Hirayama was working in the lumber depository outside the cabin. He was alone, looking at the clear sky after 8 am roll call. He noticed a white parachute falling from the sky and as he was going to enter the cabin to notify his fellow workers of the falling of the strange object, he noticed a large flash of light from behind. It was the explosion of the A-bomb. The shed was located a little less than 4 km away from the center of the explosion. He promptly returned to the dormitory, which was located a little less than 2 km away from the explosion epicenter to observe the situation from the foot of the Hijiyama Bridge. Witnessing this image of living hell, he quickly made plans to escape from Hiroshima to return to his parents’ home the next morning.

This experience as a 15-year-old junior high school student would remain with him for the rest of his life and served as inspiration for his later paintings depicting the life of Buddha including “Transmission of Buddhism” and a series of Silk Road paintings. You can see that his works, which are based on his junior high school days experiences, at the Hirayama Ikuo Museum of Art.

Partly because he had been sick in bed for a while after the exposure to the atomic bomb explosion, he transferred to the Hiroshima Prefectural Tadanoumi Junior High School in November after the war.

A ceremonial photograph with his family when he was the second grade at a junior high school
The back row right-side end (1944)

Sketchbooks

Sketchbooks

A get-well letter for his father

With dormitory residents (1943)

Hiroshima army weapon supply depot trace where Ikuo volunteered to work

Ikuo visited The A-Bomb Dome after 34 years he suffered

With classmates of Tadanoumi junior highschool (1945)

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