The Japanese government decided Tuesday to recommend a collection of photos and videos depicting the devastation in Hiroshima after the August 1945 atomic bombing to a UNESCO documentary heritage program for 2025, the 80th anniversary of the U.S. attack.
If accepted, it will mark the first time documents related to the atomic bomb have been added to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's Memory of the World Register.
The collection of 1,532 photos and two videos were taken between Aug. 6, 1945, when the bomb was dropped, and the end of that year.
They depict the mushroom cloud, wounded people and scenes of destruction near the hypocenter and were taken by citizens and photographers from newspapers and Domei News Agency, the predecessor to Kyodo News and Jiji Press, as well as the then Imperial Japanese Army.
One of the videos is preserved by public broadcaster NHK, while the other, currently stored in the National Film Archive of Japan, is used by the regional RCC Broadcasting Co. for reporting and program production.
The city of Hiroshima, along with the two broadcasters and newspapers Chugoku Shimbun, Asahi Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun, had sought the recommendation for UNESCO listing.
Photographer Seiso Yamada, 95, the only surviving former Chugoku Shimbun journalist who captured images at the time, expressed the hope that "people would feel the horror (of the atomic bomb) when looking at the photos."
The Japanese government will also once again recommend a sutra repository at Zojoji, a Buddhist temple in Tokyo, assembled by the first Tokugawa shogun. The collection was nominated in 2021 but not selected by UNESCO for listing in 2023.
Calls for nominations to the Memory of the World Register occur every two years, with each country able to submit up to two entries each time.
Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology selected two out of five applications this time to recommend to the program. The submissions will be made to UNESCO by the end of this month.
Those not selected for recommendation included some of the belongings left by Sadako Sasaki, a 12-year-old Japanese girl known for the numerous paper cranes she folded until she died from radiation-induced leukemia from the atomic bombing.