Resource: Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Messages from Hibakusha

Memories

A few years ago we did a resource post on the Hiroshima archive, which includes extensive digital resources for studying the bombing of Hiroshima. This week, we would also like to introduce the site “Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Messages from Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors)” that was made available by the Asahi Shimbun. Previously, this resource was only available in Japanese, but Asahi Shimbun took steps several years ago to ensure an English-language version was available as well. Their press release stated:

The Asahi Shimbun has launched the English version of its website “Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Messages from Hibakusha.” This website currently contains first-hand accounts and messages from 200 A-bomb survivors as collected by the Asahi Shimbun. It will eventually contain a total of 370 testimonies. Over 350 volunteers worldwide have helped translate the testimonies into English.

We launched the Japanese version of this website in November 2010 in order to let the world know the reality of A-bomb radiation exposure and the survivors’ earnest hope for peace. The Japanese-language website contains accounts and messages from 1,651 A-bomb survivors. The contents are drawn from a survey of hibakusha conducted by the Asahi Shimbun in 2005 in cooperation with the Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations and Hiroshima and Nagasaki Universities.

Launched officially in 2010, the site contains testimonies collected from 2008 to 2014 thus far, and includes interviews, personal statements, and photographs of the survivors telling their stories. There are two columns in the Asahi Shimbun that run these stories. From the website:

The column “So tell me . . . about Hiroshima” started with the April 2008 issue of the Hiroshima Edition of The Asahi Shimbun. The reporters followed the lives of the victims and asked them their thoughts. …. Articles appear in the newspaper basically once a week and continue to be posted.

“Notes from Nagasaki” started with the August 2008 issue of the Nagasaki Edition of The Asahi Shimbun. The articles are short, about a page each, and run from a few to more than ten days successively while painting a picture of the lives of each person featured. There hasn’t been a day without an article being published and the series continues to this day.

Messages

There are also sections called “Messages from Hiroshima” and “Messages from Nagasaki” that recall first-hand accounts along with the distance the individuals were from the detonation hypocenter. This is an incredible and heart-wrenching resource for personal accounts of the bombings, and definitely worth your time as a casual reader or researcher. Be sure to check it out.

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About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of graduate life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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