Silent Witness

Silent witness: The bottle of souls

A mass of lead donated to the Peace Memorial Museum in 2016 takes the form of a 1.8 liter bottle.

The Nakamoto Printing Office was once located in present-day Sakaimachi, Naka Ward, 520 meters from the hypocenter. It is believed that lead type used in typographical printing was melted by the heat rays and the fierce flames then drained into a nearby bottle where it eventually solidified.

Katsuto Nakamoto (20 years old at the time), who was demobilized and returned to Hiroshima about a month after the atomic bombing, picked up this bottle which was lying amid the burnt ruins of the company that his father had run. Meanwhile, the remains of family members and and company employees were reduced to fragments and could not be retrieved. Believing that the souls of his late brother and sister and the company employees had massed in this bottle, Mr. Nakamoto looked after it carefully and handed down the story behind it until his own death.

The body of the bottle shines with glass fragments that adhered from other items in the room that melted. The deformed A-bombed artifact quietly conveys the havoc wrought by nuclear weapons.