After the atomic bomb: Hibakusha tell their stories

In this issue, the Review has chosen to feature the voices of hibakusha, those who survived the nuclear bombings in Japan.* These three hibakusha have shared their experiences with the hope that our readers will understand the horrors of nuclear weapons use. They have each suffered and witnessed the horrific suffering of others caused by nuclear weapons, and their families may continue to suffer medical problems for generations to come. Each calls for assurances that nuclear weapons will never be used again. These are their stories.

About the authors

Dr. Masao Tomonaga
Chairman of the Nagasaki Global Citizen’s Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Was born in Nagasaki and survived the detonation of the second atomic bomb on 9 August 1945. He later graduated from Nagasaki University Medical School, where he specialized in internal medicine and haematology. He was previously the Director of the Japanese Red Cross Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Hospital, and engaged in research on the after-effects of atomic bomb radiation on human health. He is now Chairman of the Nagasaki Global Citizen’s Assembly for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and directs a clinic attached to the Atomic Bomb Survivors Nursing Home.

Mr. Sadao Yamamoto
Advocate for the elimination of nuclear weapons

Mr. Sadao Yamamoto was born in 1931 and was 14 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945. He was approximately 2.5 kilometres away from the hypocentre when the bomb exploded. He has since become an advocate for the abolition of nuclear weapons through sharing his story. In 1970, he conducted the first performance of Ishibumi – Requiem for a Male Chorus, in honour of the first-year students who were killed in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. It has been sung every year since, and to mark the 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima, the original choir sang the requiem in 2015.

Mr. Yoshiro Yamawaki
Advocate for the elimination of nuclear weapons

Mr. Yoshiro Yamawaki was just 11 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped in Nagasaki. He and his twin brother were about 2.2 kilometres from the hypocentre. He has since become an advocate for the elimination of nuclear weapons and hopes that in sharing his experience he can prevent others from having to suffer the effects of nuclear weapons. In 2010 he was appointed as a Special Communicator for a World without Nuclear Weapons by the Japanese government.

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