Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Hiroshima-Nagasaki Feature—Issue 56, August 2015)

Itaru Takahara
Nagasaki Urakami Cathedral, 1945-1958
An Atomic Bomb Relic Lost

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Image 2

The outdoor Mass was conducted in what was formerly the interior of the cathedral. An altar was established on the southern wall to the left. The temporary church (built in 1946) is visible in the background. Standing to the left behind the belfry is the community center built in 1948.

Image 5

A vise was used to complete the demolition work. It is said that the sturdy ruins gave way only reluctantly.

Image 6

This rare photograph captures both the old and the new: the memory of the atomic bombing engraved in the ruins of the Urakami Cathedral, with the Peace Statue completed in 1955 pointing skywards in the background.

Image 7

The relic of St. Francis Xavier. During the stay of the papal legate in Nagasaki, the reliquary was placed in Oura Catholic Church, which escaped destruction in the atomic bombing.

Image 9

A student sits in the shadow of the southern wall and sketches the belfry.

Image 11

St. John the Apostle, tied up with rope for transport.

Image 12

The outdoor altar, with a large cross and St. Francis Xavier.

To view the full collection of Itaru Takahara’s photographs, see Nagasaki Urakami Cathedral, 1945-1958: An Atomic Bomb Relic Lost [長崎旧浦上天主堂, 1945-1958], photographs by Itaru Takahara with text by Kazuhiko Yokote, published by Iwanami Shinsho, Tokyo, 2010.