Collection of writing by A-bomb survivors to be published

by Kyosuke Mizukawa, Staff Writer

The Lost Decade, a collection of writing by atomic bomb survivors (hibakusha), will be published at the end of July. The written accounts describe the survivors’ hardships after the atomic bombing, when almost no support measures were available and no survivors’ groups had yet been formed. The Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations, chaired by Sunao Tsuboi, is coordinating this project and the book’s publication was announced at the group’s general assembly held in Hiroshima on June 4.

In July 2007, the group began to solicit writing from hibakusha which relates their health struggles and other suffering in the decade after the bombing. The 122 accounts that were collected describe how they bore the pain of keloids, endured loneliness, worried about their marriages or locating work, and received encouragement from their teachers.

The book had been scheduled to be published in the summer of 2008, but the process of confirming and editing the contents took longer than expected. In all, 71 accounts will be included in the book.

Also included will be responses to a survey of 7,000 survivors the organization conducted in 2006. The survey asked hibakusha about their experiences during the “lost decade.” The book will feature photographs of the devastated city as well.

Some of the 2,000 copies to be published will be donated to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and libraries. Editing of the book, including its page makeup, is now in its final stage. Mr. Tsuboi hopes the book will convey to readers the suffering that the survivors faced, always uncertain about even the immediate future.

About 80 people attended the general assembly and approved the establishment of a second-generation survivors’ division. They also decided to dispatch more than six members, a larger delegation than to the previous conference, to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference scheduled for next spring in New York.

(Originally published on June 5, 2009)