New collection of writing by A-bomb survivors is published

by Uzaemonnaotsuka Tokai, Staff Writer

The Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations, chaired by Sunao Tsuboi, has published The Lost Decade: Struggles of A-bomb Survivors, a collection of writing by atomic bomb survivors (hibakusha). The writing focuses on the 10 years after the war, a period during which hibakusha faced a near total lack of relief measures. The feelings of the survivors, as they suffered from the aftereffects of the bombing and worried about locating work and marriage partners, are candidly described.

In response to a call to write about their A-bomb experiences, 122 hibakusha submitted their accounts and 71 of these experiences, collected since 2007, were included in the book. Setsuko Morita, 76, a resident of Higashi Ward, Hiroshima, confessed in her account that she thought of committing suicide due to the keloids that plagued her body, including on her arm. She wrote that she could not enjoy her youth, as her friends went out dancing, and experienced “years of sadness where I didn’t even want to exist.”

Until the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations was established in 1956, there had been no hibakusha-related organizations, while relief measures for hibakusha had been insufficient. There were also groundless rumors that caused hardships for many survivors in locating work and marriage partners.

Kota Kiya, secretary general of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations, said, “We hope people will see that this collection represents the last message from aging hibakusha.”

The book has 207 pages and 2,000 copies have been published. The confederation will donate some copies to libraries in Hiroshima Prefecture and sell others for 2,000 yen. For further information, please call 082-241-7226.

(Originally published on August 5, 2009)

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