With the adoption at the UN of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on July 7, and as the surviving hibakusha become fewer in number, it is important to share their firsthand accounts, and their desire for peace, more widely. With this in mind, and along with a particular need to raise awareness amongst the young people of the world, a new book has now been published.
This new book, “Hiroshima and Nagasaki: That we Never Forget,” is a compilation of the English language components of four books which were first published in Japanese and English. It contains the testimonies of hibakusha, the victims of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945 respectively. There is one volume each of women’s experiences and of men’s experiences from Hiroshima and one volume from Nagasaki. It also contains a collection of interviews with the hibakusha and their families about the bombing itself and their struggles with radiation-related illnesses.
In total, over 50 hibakusha give vivid testimony of living through the nightmare of those fateful days and the hellish aftermath making the book a unique resource for those engaged in advocacy and education for peace. It demonstrates forcefully the human and humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons.
Shigeru Nonoyama, who was exposed to the atomic bomb in Hiroshima at the age of 15, shares “Each and every scene was hell itself,” and he affirms that “Human beings do not need atomic bombs.”
Masao Tomonaga, Director Emeritus at The Japanese Red Cross Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Hospital, shares his reflections of the book: “After reading the stories in this book, I am shocked once again by the extent to which the atomic bombing affected every aspect of survivors’ lives. The anxiety they still feel regarding the potential aftereffects emerging in their own bodies, or the genetic effects emerging in their offspring, is quite beyond imagination...an instantaneous exposure in August 1945 has kept survivors imprisoned by its aftereffects for over 70 years.”
416 pages (English only). On sale via Amazon from September 1, 2017. Price 1,620 yen (paperback) and US $3.99 (e-book). Published by Daisanbunmei-sha, 2017. Compiled by the Soka Gakkai Youth Division.