Early 1940s, Maker unknown, Japan. Gift of Dr Guy P. Hallwright, 2008. Te Papa
This figurine was found in Hiroshima, Japan, after the United States dropped an atomic bomb there on 6 August 1945. The figurine is a tanuki (raccoon dog). It was collected by a member of Jayforce – New Zealand's contribution to the occupying force after Japan's surrender.
At least 70,000 people were killed in Hiroshima that day, with many thousands more dying or suffering from radiation in years to come. The atomic bomb was the first to be used in war, and it kick-started the nuclear-arms race.
Nuclear weapons appalled many New Zealanders, but the country remained closely allied with nuclear powers Britain and the US.