Voices of A-bomb survivors on the Internet

by Hiromi Morita, Staff Writer

Akihiko Ito, 71, an A-bomb survivor currently living in Tokyo, has posted a video clip on YouTube to encourage people to visit the English version of his website, which features testimonies by A-bomb survivors. Mr. Ito, who worked as a reporter for the Nagasaki Broadcasting Company (NBC), hopes that his video clip will help increase the number of young people in nuclear weapons states exposed to these testimonies. In the video, a man who was in utero at the time of the bombing and born to an A-bomb survivor, appeals to the world to listen to the voices of A-bomb survivors at the www.voshn.com website.

The video clip is 3 minutes and 39 seconds long. Kosei Mito, 62, a former high school teacher, appears as the spokesperson. Mr. Mito lives in Fuchu-cho, Hiroshima Prefecture and has served as a volunteer guide in Peace Memorial Park for foreign visitors. In the video, he touches upon the devastation wrought by the bombing and introduces Mr. Ito’s website. This is followed by a sample of voices of A-bomb survivors.

Since the 1960s, Mr. Ito has recorded audio testimonies of A-bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 2006, based on these recordings, he produced nine CDs with the voices of 284 survivors. Mr. Ito also offers the opportunity to listen to these voices on his website. His English page, however, has attracted a total of only 3,300 people so far, while more than 96,000 people have visited his Japanese page. To attract young people from abroad to his site in English, his friend suggested that he upload a video clip to YouTube, a popular video sharing website.

Mr. Ito asked Mr. Mito to appear in the video and it was shot in mid-June by the A-bomb Dome. The video was then professionally edited and posted to YouTube in July. According to Mr. Mito, he has already received a response from an American he once guided through Peace Memorial Park. The man said he was moved by the testimonies of the A-bomb survivors on the Internet.

Mr. Ito now plans to create Chinese and Russian pages for his website, too, hoping young people in those nuclear weapons states will also listen to the voices of A-bomb survivors on the Internet.

(Originally published on July 11, 2008)