Crouching Tourist at the Memorial Cenotaph

Memorial Cenotaph - Hiroshima, Japan

Memorial Cenotaph – Hiroshima, Japan

This minimalist saddle-shaped structure is a cenotaph, an empty tomb or monument in honor of people whose remains are elsewhere. Located in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, it’s there to represent the victims of the first atomic bombing.

If you look through the opening, you might be able to make out the Atomic Bomb Dome, to which this memorial is aligned. You can click on the photo to see a larger version. It’s also aligned to the Peace Flame, which is hard to see from this angle.

The crouching tourist is an unplanned visual flourish. I have other versions, without anyone, but opted for a human form to add warmth. The simplicity and geometry of the site is rather cold, no doubt to echo the somber subject that this place represents. The scale and open space is also rather un-Japanese, in a sense that it seems a lot less cluttered than most of modern Japan.

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