Hiroshima City begins briefing sessions for children, grandchildren of survivors as “Family A-bomb Legacy Successors” to communicate A-bomb experiences

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

On May 11, a briefing session of “Family A-bomb Legacy Successors” provided by the Hiroshima municipal government was held at the Peace Memorial Museum located in the city’s Naka Ward. These family successors will listen to their family members’ experiences of the atomic bombing and convey to the public their experiences on behalf of the survivors themselves. With the number of A-bomb survivors able to share their A-bomb accounts decreasing due to the aging of that population, “Family A-bomb Legacy Successors” is a new program the municipal government established in fiscal 2022. In addition to the existing program known as “A-bomb Legacy Successors,” or ‘memory keepers,’ in which third parties pass on the A-bomb survivors’ accounts, the program will also seek the cooperation of family members of the A-bomb survivors to uncover new A-bomb experiences and pass them on.

The family successors program is intended for people who are children or grandchildren of A-bomb survivors. They must have a living family member who experienced the atomic bombing and be able to listen to their experiences and check the contents of the manuscript in which they speak. Activities for about five years or more are required. The applicants will receive two years of training in principle to learn about the damage caused by the atomic bombing, effective public speaking, and after practical training in giving lectures, they will speak at the Peace Memorial Museum, as well as at other venues.

Twenty people from inside and outside the city who were considering applying for the program attended the briefing session held on May 11 and heard about the application and training schedule from a city official.

According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the average age of A-bomb Survivor’s Certificate holders was a record-high 83.94 years as of the end of March 2021. Their total number was 127,755, falling below 130,000 for the first time. In 2021, Sunao Tsuboi, then 96, former chair of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations (Hiroshima Hidankyo) and Emiko Okada, then 84, an A-bomb survivor who also served as a trainer for “A-bomb Legacy Successors” passed away, and people who had made efforts to share their A-bomb accounts with people passed away one after another. An official at the city’s Peace Promotion Division explained, “It is necessary to accelerate the efforts to communicate the true consequences of the atomic bombing to future generations.”

To apply for the program, the applicants need to attend a briefing session. The briefing session on this day was the first of all four sessions. The remaining dates are at 2 p.m. on May 13, 10 a.m. on May 15, and 10 a.m. on May 21, all at the Peace Memorial Museum.

(Originally published on May 12, 2022)