Photo/IllutrationA postcard depicting an aerial photograph of central Hiroshima shot around 1930 (Provided by Kazuhiro Oku)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

HIROSHIMA--A postcard bearing a rare aerial image of Hiroshima from a decade or so before the city's 1945 atomic bombing has been found by chance in an old warehouse.

The image from the 1930s was among a collection of more than 400 postcards. Digital copies of some of them have been donated to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

Hiroshima resident Kazuhiro Oku, 52, spotted an album of old postcards when he was tidying up a family warehouse in Etajima city, an island off the Hiroshima coast where his grandmother lived.

Most of the cards in the collection were unused. It is believed they were collected by Oku’s grandfather and his family.

Postcards were popular as souvenirs in the prewar period, according to Kosuke Nishimukai, the chief curator of the Hiroshima Prefectural Archives.

“Even if they are of the same landmark, if they are compared by camera position and date they were taken, they can reveal finer details of a structure or can confirm the transition of it over the years. They are precious historical records so I would like people to take good care of them if they have any,” said Nishimukai.

The prefectural archive has an impressive collection of more than 4,000 postcards depicting scenes of Hiroshima Prefecture. It rated the image of the aerial shot of the city center taken by a photography team of the Osaka head office of The Asahi Shimbun as "rare."

It is estimated to have been taken around 1930 based on the shape of bridges and school buildings.

It shows Aioi Bridge, which was used as a target in the 1945 atomic bombing, as well as the iconic building now known as the Atomic Bomb Dome. It also shows the area that was turned into the Peace Memorial Park after the end of World War II. It used to be choc-a-bloc with countless homes and buildings.

Some other photographic postcards from this time also provide important records of scenes of everyday life and landmarks in the city that were lost after the atomic bombing.

Outside of the city, there was a postcard showing seaplanes at a beach on Sensuijima island in Tomonoura bay in Fukuyama. Spectators can be seen surrounding the planes.