HIROSHIMA, NAGASAKI and Nuclear Weapons

The Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 7, 1941. The attack led to the formal entry of the United State into World War II the next day. Finally, the first nuclear weapon was used in Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945, and the second one in Nagasaki on August 9, just a few days after Hiroshima. The two bombs killed at least 70,000 people in the initial blast, and approximately 70,000 more died from radiation exposure. These were the first and hopefully will be the last nuclear bombings to human beings.

In May 2016, Barack Obama became the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima. He called for a "world without nuclear weapons".

Most of our generation don't know war, but we know these terrible tragedies.

Every August 6, Hiroshima city holds the Peace Memorial Ceremony to console the victims of the atomic bombs and pray for lasting world peace. Media make special broadcasting programs featuring the days, such as interview from atomic bomb survivors, reproduction of the situation using CG and so on.

To tell the truth, I knew this part of history from the Manga, "Barefoot Gen" called "Hadashi no Gen, (はだしのゲン)" depicting of nuclear devastation, when I was an elementary school student. The story is about one boy who suffers pain and loss of family because of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, and tries to survive with his own two feet. I could read it at the school library. It was popular among students because it was simply comic and kids do love story with pictures. Additionally, there are so many documentaries, soap operas and Manga featuring nuclear devastation. One of them is "Grave of the Fireflies" called "Hotaru no Haka (火垂るの墓)" which is a popular film outside Japan. The story is about two siblings who struggle to survive during the final months of World War II.

We, Japanese have a chance to see such information at least once in a lifetime. I know, without a question, that human beings MUST NOT USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS FOREVER. If people all over the world had a chance to get to know such information I did, nuclear weapons could be abolished, I believe.

How to learn more

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum has renovated in April 2019. This museum conveys to the world the horrors and the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons displaying belongings left by the victims, atomic bombed artifacts, testimonies of atomic bomb survivors and related materials.

If you have a chance to visit Japan, this place would be the ideal one to add on your itinerary. It is worth visiting.

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