Atomic Bomb Medical Museum – Nagasaki, Japan - Atlas Obscura

Atomic Bomb Medical Museum

A sobering scientific reminder of the human damage caused by the advent of the nuclear age. 


On August 9, 1945 at 11:02 a.m., the United States dropped a plutonium implosion-type bomb (nicknamed “Fat Man”) in the Urakami district of Nagasaki, Japan. Within the first two to four months after the bombing, it’s estimated the acute effects of the attack had killed anywhere from 39,000 to 80,000 civilians. During the following months, still more people perished from the lasting effects of burns, radiation sickness, and other related injuries and illnesses.

During the postwar decades, the Nagasaki University School of Medicine established the Atomic Disease Institute. It became a center for the collection of relevant scientific specimens, general information on hibakusha (the Japanese word for survivors of the atomic bomb attacks), medical records, scientific literature, survey reports, statistical records, documentary accounts, photographs, films, and audio-recordings. 

The information presented in the museum gives visitors a brief but comprehensive introduction to the effects of nuclear weapons and shows the devastating impact of the atomic bomb on the human body. The aim is to advocate for a world free of weapons of mass destruction and ensure that Nagasaki is the last place on earth to endure the catastrophes that follow in the wake of a nuclear explosion.

In the museum you can expect to find the bloodstained lab coat of Doctor Issei Nishimori, a then-medical student who was injured while examining a dermatology patient when the bomb exploded, a clock permanently stopped at the time of the attack, medical records, and photographs of the physical, human damage the bomb caused.

Know Before You Go

From the JR Nagasaki Station take streetcar Number One or Number Three for "Akasako" and get off at "Hamaguchi-Machi" tram station. Then walk about eight minutes.

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August 14, 2017

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