Junior Writers Reporting

Bun Hashizume, A-bomb poet

Join your power and “carve out your own future”

“The power of each individual is small, but if we join together, our power will be great. I want you to move Japan and the rest of the world so you can carve out your own future.” Poet Bun Hashizume, 82, who experienced the atomic bombing in Hiroshima and now lives in Tokyo, stressed her words in our interview.

At the time of the bombing, Ms. Hashizume was 14. Working for the war effort as a mobilized student, she was on the third floor of a branch of the Hiroshima Chokin Bank, located in Sendamachi (part of present-day Naka Ward), about 1.5 kilometers from the hypocenter. When the bomb exploded, there was a powerful flash, as if the sun had fallen in the sky. She suffered a wound to her head, which bled badly. Later, she endured a high fever, diarrhea, and other mysterious health troubles. The experience was a trauma that affected her for decades.

In 2001, she published a book entitled “The A-bomb Account of a Girl, Age 14,” which depicted her experience. In 2011, she issued a new edition of the book after adding her thoughts on the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear power plant and her hopes for the elimination of nuclear power plants. She is now seeking to publish an English version of the book. She hopes her book will encourage readers to reflect on war and the use of nuclear energy.

When we asked her what we should do to help realize the abolition of nuclear weapons, she said, “I want all of you to think about it.” Instead of providing an “answer,” she gave us the “assignment” of considering the question for ourselves.

In our interview, she repeated, “Don’t just take everything on faith. You must have doubts and ferret out the truth.” With these words in mind, we will search for our own answers.

We want to begin by taking part in activities where we can interact with others in the world, tell them about the atomic bombings, and urge them to work together to abolish nuclear weapons from the earth. (Ryo Kamiyasu, 17, and Kantaro Matsuo, 15)

(Originally published on November 4, 2013)