Isamu Noguchi, Memorial to the Dead, Hiroshima, c. 1982. Brazilian granite, stainless steel, wood...

Memorial to the Dead, Hiroshima

c. 1982
Brazilian granite, Stainless steel, Wood
In 1952 I was asked to design a Memorial to the Dead of Hiroshima. This, unfortunately, was never realized. Nonetheless, I decided to study how my sculpture might be executed from large blocks of black Brazilian granite. I had the notion that such a memorial might be meaningful somewhere in the United States as a gesture of regret and a sign of opposition to this devastating event. I also felt that Hiroshima itself would be needing a cenotaph in stone to replace the concrete shell structure designed by Kenzo Tange which had become damaged by time.

It was assumed that the height of my memorial, at least the portion above ground, should be four meters, or about thirteen feet. For such a size and considering the probable limits of stone sizes available, the number of sections required totaled fourteen. These sections would buttress each other and make a configuration somewhat like a arch.

On the wall is a photograph of what I had originally thought as a setting. An entry to a crypt below where the support of the arch above was made visible, rooted to the earth. This was to be a symbolic repository of the ashes, which can be better seen in the photo enlargement upstairs in Area 11.
Original Noguchi Collection
Quotations by Isamu Noguchi from The Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1987), unless otherwise noted.