A memoir to touch the hearts of people worldwide

By Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

The late Goichi Sashida, the former mayor of Tanashi City, Tokyo (now Nishi-Tokyo City) died in 1969 at the age of 59. Before his death, he published some of his hand-written memoirs as “Genbaku no Ki” (“A Memoir of the Atomic Bombing”). This memoir has been translated into English by a Nishi-Tokyo resident and is now available on the web, where it is hoped that it will further convey the experience of the atomic bombing to the world.

This record was made by Dr. Sashida while he was stationed in Hiroshima as an army surgeon, providing medical services despite his own exposure to the bomb. Toshiko Fujikawa, 70, of Nishi-Tokyo City, was so impressed with his memoir, which had been out of print, that she had it reprinted last summer. Aya Kawato, 84, a former English instructor in the city and an acquaintance of Ms. Fujikawa, translated the memoir into English.

Neighborhoods turned to charred rubble, piles of corpses of those who had died searching for water … Ms. Kawato felt that these unimaginable experiences “should be read in the United States, the country that dropped the atomic bombs,” and so she proposed doing the English translation herself.

After two months of trial and error, the translation was completed and added to a series published by the Social Science Research Institute of International Christian University, which had been asked to proofread the draft translation.

“Dr. Sashida’s desire for peace should resonate in the hearts of people worldwide,” Ms. Fujikawa commented. A study session for citizens, including English instructors, was held for five days during the week of August 6 this year. Dr. Sashida wrote that conveying the A-bomb experience is “the responsibility of the survivors.” His wish is steadily being realized.

English version ¥1260
Japanese version ¥500
The English version is available on the university’s website: http://subsite.icu.ac.jp/ssri/.

(Originally published on August 17, 2008)