The Port of Hiroshima is located in southwestern Honshu, Japan’s largest island, on the Hiroshima Bay off the Inland Sea. The city covers several islets created by the Ota River’s six channels. The Port of Hiroshima is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture and the largest city in the Chūgoku region. The Port of Hiroshima is most famous perhaps because it was the first city to fall victim to nuclear warfare when the United States bombed the city in 1945 to end World War II. In 2005, over 1.1 million people live in the Port of Hiroshima.
The Port of Hiroshima is the center for the Chūgoku-Shikoku region’s industrial sector. The largest industry is the manufacture of Mazda vehicles, car parts, and other related industrial equipment. Mazda Motors is Hiroshima’s largest employer and biggest contributor to the local economy. Local industry also produces general machinery and equipment that is exported from the Port of Hiroshima. A busy research sector has grown up to support these industries. Tertiary retail and wholesale industries are also well-developed in the area.
The Port of Hiroshima joined Lonely Planet’s top cities in the world as a place to live. Its cost of living is lower than Japan’s larger cities, and the commuting times are among the shortest in the country.
In 1589, feudal lord Mōri Terumoto founded a castle town on the coast of the Seto Inland Sea in what was then Aki Province. He built Hiroshima Castle and moved in in 1593. Losing the Battle of Sekigahara to the Tokugawa shogunate in 1600, Terumoto lost most of his fiefs, including the Port of Hiroshima. His castle was given to Asano Nagaakira, who was the daimyo of the area, in 1619. Nagaakira’s descendants ruled the area until the Meiji Restoration of the late 19th Century. During the Edo period, the Port of Hiroshima was the capital of Hiroshima Domain.
It became the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture in 1871. During the Meiji period, the Port of Hiroshima became an important urban center when the country’s economy moved from rural to urban industry.
In the 1880s, Ujina Harbor was built, making the city an important port. The Sanyo Railroad reached the Port of Hiroshima in 1894, and the railway to the harbor was built during the First Sino-Japanese War to provide for military transportation. New industries, like cotton mills, were created in the late 1880s.
The 1904 Russo-Japanese War brought more industries making military supplies to the Port of Hiroshima. In 1915, the Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall was built as a trade center and to exhibit new products.
World War II changed everything. During the War, the Second Army and the Chugoku Regional Army’s headquarters were stationed there, and the city held big depots for military supplies and military shipping. Bombing of other Japanese cities had already caused great destruction and taken over 200 thousand lives, almost all of them civilians. While the Port of Hiroshima had not been attacked at that time, it was certainly a worthy target. Students were organized to create firebreaks in case of incendiary bombings.
On Monday, August 6, 1945, the American B-29 bomber Enola Gay dropped Little Boy, the world’s first nuclear bomb, on the Port of Hiroshima. About 80 thousand people were killed immediately. The city was devastated. About 70% of the buildings were destroyed, and another 7% were seriously damaged. By the end of that year, casualties had risen to as many as 140 thousand from injuries and radiation.
In September 1945, the Makurazaki Typhoon struck the Port of Hiroshima, bringing another three thousand casualties to the growing list of dead and injured. Over 50% of the bridges in the Port of Hiroshima were destroyed, and many roads and railroads were heavily damaged.
After World War II, the national government helped the Port of Hiroshima rebuild with financial help for reconstruction and donated military lands. In 1949, the design for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was selected. The Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, which had survived the detonation, became the Genbaku (“Atomic”) Dome and a part of the Peace Park. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum opened in 1955.
In 1949, the Japanese parliament proclaimed the Port of Hiroshima to be a City of Peace. It became a popular location for international peace conferences as well as meetings related to social issues. In 1992, Hiroshima University created the Hiroshima Interpreters’ and Guide’s Association to provide translation services for conferences and established the Hiroshima Peace Institute. Today, the city’s mayor is the President of the international Mayors for Peace who are organized to abolish and eliminate all nuclear weapons by 2020.
The Port of Hiroshima received status as a municipality in 1889, and it was incorporated by ordinance in 1980. Modern Hiroshima is the biggest industrial city in the region, and it is home to government offices, centers for public utilities, and many universities and colleges. Local industry produces automobiles, steel, rubber, ships, chemicals, and transport machinery.
With the concentration of industry has come a large population of skilled workers and basic technology that continues to attract new businesses to the Port of Hiroshima. Further, businesses get tax breaks for locating there. This includes Seifu Shinto (“West Wind” in English) the biggest construction project in the region and a “city within a city,” a development designed to support work, life, relaxation, and recreation.