Here's What People In Hiroshima Thought About Obama's Visit

President Obama made a historic visit to the city on May 27. We asked people in Hiroshima how they felt about his speech.

President Barack Obama visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial on Friday. In a historic move, he became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the site.

Kimimasa Mayama / AFP / Getty Images

BuzzFeed News asked people in Hiroshima about their impressions on Obama's visit and his speech. Here's what they said:

"This became a huge step towards total abolition of nuclear weapons."

Eimi Yamamitsu / BuzzFeed

"We haven't listened to Obama's speech yet, but we think this became a huge step forward. He doesn't have to apologize, it's something that happened in the past. But we weren't happy the transportation system was affected due to his visit."

"A historic step."

Eimi Yamamitsu / BuzzFeed

"I watched Obama come on helicopter. People who were also watching his visit were very optimistic about him."

"A very huge, first step towards total abolition of nuclear weapons."

Eimi Yamamitsu / BuzzFeed

"This is a huge step because Mr. Obama, a representative of the number one nuclear power state came to Hiroshima. He said to 'eliminate the existence of nuclear weapons'-- this is the starting point. I also thought he was an honest person when he said that we may not realize the goal in his ilfetime."

"I felt very happy."

Eimi Yamamitsu / BuzzFeed

"I became an atomic bomb victim when I was 16. I lost my sister. I detested atomic bombs, but I don't have feelings of hate anymore. I come to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park everyday, but I couldn't make it yesterday. That's why I'm here today to stand and reflect at places where Obama offered flowers and where he delivered his speech.

"I'm very happy that he came, because I never expected an American president to visit here. After the atomic bomb was dropped, the bomb blasted away everything-- there were no sights of people, buildings, or anything. Just a clean road. And today, it's just emotional how foreigners, children and many people are interacting at this very place."

"A first step towards a world without nuclear weapons."

Eimi Yamamitsu / BuzzFeed

"I watched him on television. I recognized there were no words of apology, but I thought he was apologizing in his heart. I could tell from his expressions that he's friendly."

"A step closer to peace."

Eimi Yamamitsu / BuzzFeed

"We saw President Obama on television. Seeing Mr. Obama come to Hiroshima and talk with atomic bomb victims, we thought that he was able to properly accept things."

"It's important for the world to think about how we should move on from here, rather than about Mr. Obama."

Eimi Yamamitsu / BuzzFeed

"It's like, so what? Japan started the war in the first place, so the blame goes to both of us. It's peaceful now, so isn't it irrelevant to make a racket of apology and other things?"

"It's wrong to think that he's become a symbol of peace just because he came here. If it was Trump..."

Eimi Yamamitsu / BuzzFeed

"Just because President Obama came here doesn't mean he'll become a symbol of peace. Does everyone really think that he took a historic step? That's something Japanese people added afterwards. I'm pretty sure Clinton will win in the next presidential election, but imagine what it'd be like if Trump wins..."

"This might only end as a legacy, but thanks for coming."

Eimi Yamamitsu / BuzzFeed

"With only few months left, I don't think he'll realize anything he said in his speech. I felt as if I was listening to Mr. Obama's personal intention, rather than the U.S. as a whole. But it was good that he came rather than not coming at all."

"We wanted to hear his honest impression of the Atomic Dome."

Eimi Yamamitsu / BuzzFeed

"It was a moving speech. But what we wanted to hear more was how he honestly felt when he went to see the Atomic Dome and talked with victims of the atomic bomb. Seeing how there are many people at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park today, there was a meaning to his visit here."



A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.