City of Hiroshima begins annual process of adding names to register of A-bomb dead

(by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer)

On June 7, the City of Hiroshima began the process of adding new names to the register of the A-bomb victims at Hiroshima City Hall. The names of A-bomb survivors who have died since August 6, 2018, or whose deaths have been recently confirmed, are written in the register. During the Peace Memorial Ceremony, to be held on August 6, the register is placed into the stone chest within the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, located in Naka Ward.

As of June 6, the City of Hiroshima has confirmed the deaths of an additional 2,232 A-bomb survivors. On the same day, Kazuko Ikegame, 77, and Nobuko Nakamoto, 76, residents of Minami Ward, began updating the register. Both women are A-bomb survivors and former employees of the City of Hiroshima. After putting their hands together and offering a silent prayer, they carefully wrote each person’s name, the date of death, and the person’s age at the time of death in an ink brush.

Ms. Nakamoto has been performing this role for the past 18 years. She said, “I will write the names of the A-bomb victims as I thank each one of them for their efforts in helping to rebuild present-day Hiroshima.” Ms. Ikegame, who has been involved in this work for the past 29 years, said, “All the victims had a long life, overcoming great sadness and suffering over the 74 years since the atomic bombing.” Her expression conveyed the importance she attaches to each name.

As of August 5, 2018, the names of 314,118 people were listed in the register as victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and the register is now comprised of 114 volumes. In addition, there is a volume which has only the title “many people whose names are unknown” written on the cover, and one more volume containing the names of nine victims from the atomic bombing of Nagasaki at the request of the bereaved families.

The City of Hiroshima is accepting applications for entry in the register by 5 p.m. on August 5. For further information, please call the Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Department at 082-504-2191.

(Originally published on June 8, 2019)