Former journalist provides A-bomb testimony

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

Yoshio Asano, 76, a former journalist of the Chugoku Shimbun and an A-bomb survivor (hibakusha), has provided his account of the bombing to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in their efforts to collect the testimonies of hibakusha. Mr. Asano was exposed to the bomb’s residual radiation when he entered the city soon after the explosion. Later, he engaged in reporting connected to the bombing. On October 30, Mr. Asano described his experience of looking for his childhood friend two days after the blast. “Due to my own experience,” he remarked, “I had a special interest in covering issues related to the atomic bombing.”

On August 6, 1945, Mr. Asano, then a second-year student at Hiroshima Second Middle School (now, Hiroshima Kanon High School), was on a boat headed for Kamikamagari Island in Kure City, where his grandparents lived. When he retuned to Hiroshima, his house in the southern part of the city was in ruins. In an air-raid shelter located on the east side of Tsurumi Bridge, not far from his house, Mr. Asano found his childhood friend suffering from severe burns.

Mr. Asano recounted his experience while being filmed on a riverbank near Tsurumi Bridge, where the air-raid shelter used to be. Reflecting upon the painful memory, Mr. Asano said, “My friend called out for his mother three times and then passed away.” He hopes that the neighborhoods and lives that were wiped out by the atomic bomb will be long remembered.

While working as a journalist, Mr. Asano concentrated on coverage related to the atomic bombing, including the series “20 Years After the Bombing” which explored the lives of hibakusha after the war. During his career, he was committed to conveying the voices of other survivors rather than speaking of his own experience. At this time, though, he decided to offer his testimony in the hope of helping to pass on the memory of the atomic bombing to future generations.

(Originally published on October 31, 2008)