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Thread: Hibakusha: A-bomb survivors learning to never give up

  1. #1
    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    Default Hibakusha: A-bomb survivors learning to never give up

    Hibakusha: Learning the nobility of never giving up

    Masahito Hirose (Noriko Tokuno/Mainichi Shimbun)

    The Nagasaki Global Citizens' Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons opened in Nagasaki on Oct. 21. Even though North Korea's nuclear bomb test two weeks earlier made the assembly's cherished ideal seem somewhat remote, Masahito Hirose's determination remains as firm as ever.
    "We want to show how to encourage North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons through dialogue instead of pressure," maintains the 76-year-old former high school teacher who served as the forum's secretary-general.
    The roots of his thinking go back 55 years. He was a fourth-year student at Doshisha University at the time. The Korean War was raging, and there was talk in the U.S. of using nuclear weapons.
    "Can we allow that to happen?" Hirose asked himself.
    Determined to do something, he had a meeting with the mayor of Nagasaki and arranged to borrow two cardboard boxes full of atom bomb-related material stored in a shed in the city's commemorative Peace Park, near the epicenter of the Aug. 9, 1945 blast. This material -- photographs, personal belongings of bomb victims, and so on -- became the core of a 10-day exhibition Hirose set up at the university. It was Japan's first atomic bomb exhibit, and it took place while the nation was still under American occupation.
    Since then, Hirose has led a grass-roots peace movement dedicated to collecting bomb victims' accounts of their experiences and preserving buildings scarred by the explosion.

    Hirose in June this year. (Mainichi)

    Have there ever been times when you felt your activities were deadlocked?
    It has, Hirose admits. "Once," he says, "I ran away."
    He went to China in 1994, and for four and a half years taught Japanese at a university in Harbin. Though the Cold War was over, there seemed no end to regional strife. It seemed hopeless. He could no longer bear to be at the site of a nuclear attack. He would go abroad, to be among people who loved learning and respected their elders. He might even spend the rest of his life in China, he thought.
    He came back to Japan at the urging of his family. Returning to the task of collecting the testimony of blast survivors, he thought, "The starting point for the abolition of nuclear weapons is getting across to the world the truth of what nuclear weapons do."
    He knows how hard the road ahead is, but, his eye on the future, he declares, "I do not despair; I do not yield to pessimism."
    The Oct. 21 assembly was titled, "Merely wishing for peace won't change anything."

    "Brave words, aren't they?" smiles Hirose.
    "The anger of Hiroshima" is often contrasted to "the prayers of Nagasaki" -- references to the differing responses of the two bombed cities. But prayer alone may not be sufficient. From Hirose's lifelong determination to make his voice heard I have learned the nobility of never giving up. (By Kenji Shimizu, Mainichi Shimbun)

    The Mainichi is seeking media organizations to actively participate in spreading news of the Hibakusha Project around the world. Please contact us at for more details if your organization would like to be involved.


    If you think it's crazy, you ain't seen a thing. Just wait until we're goin down in flames.

  2. #2
    Elite Member Sojiita's Avatar
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    I am posting a link to a particularly detailed and horrific account of a survivor of the Nagasaki bombing who was in the medical college hosptal less than 1 kilometer from the hypocenter. It is incredible reading. It was actually transcribed by the survivor many years later in his old age. It really gives a harrowing insight into exactly what people went through during and in the days and weeks after the bombing in northern Nagasaki.
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

  3. #3
    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    Nagasaki usually doesn't get as much attention as Hiroshima for some reason but it's nice that personal anecdotal accounts are brought to light by activists and ppl who are interested.

    Thanks for the link Sojiita.

    If you think it's crazy, you ain't seen a thing. Just wait until we're goin down in flames.

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