Shedding light on Chinese A-bomb survivors — Volunteer guides form group with plan to establish memorial monument

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

On December 3, in order to shine a light on people who were from mainland China and Taiwan and exposed to the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, some volunteer guides of Peace Memorial Park located in the city’s Naka Ward, formed a group with a plan to establish a memorial monument for Chinese A-bomb survivors. The group aims to erect a monument near Peace Memorial Park to ensure the fact of the atomic bombing of Chinese people is properly conveyed.

The guides who initiated the plan are Akio Kusumoto, 63, a resident of Hatsukaichi City and a former high school teacher, and Shunsuke Taga, 72, a resident of Nishi Ward. While guiding visitors around Peace Memorial Park and visiting several monuments including the Monument in Memory of Korean Victims of the A-bomb, they became increasingly concerned about why there was no war memorials for Chinese victims. They held a preparatory meeting in May of this year and since November have widely called on citizens to participate.

On this day, an inaugural meeting was held at the Peace Memorial Museum, attended by about 50 citizens. The group has decided to clarify how and why many people came to Hiroshima from mainland China and Taiwan and how they were exposed to the atomic bombing and suffered the consequences of the bombing, as well as to aim to create a monument and install an explanation panel. Considering that Japan’s colonial occupation and wars were the main causes behind many people having been brought to Hiroshima, the group has expressly stated in its bylaws that the purpose of the group is to prevent historical mistakes made by Japan from occurring again.

In the Hiroshima atomic bombing, 12 university students from mainland China were exposed to the atomic bombing and six of them died. In Hiroshima Prefecture, many of those who were from mainland China and Taiwan were engaged in forced labor and also experienced the atomic bombing. Mr. Kusumoto said, “We would like to pass down historical facts properly. I hope our activities will help lead to an opportunity of achieving friendly relations between Japan and China.

(Originally published on December 4, 2022)