Medical students from Japan and abroad visit nursing home for A-bomb survivors

by Akira Koyama, Staff Writer

On August 19, students from Japan and abroad who are aspiring to become doctors and nurses visited “Yano Orizuru En,” a special nursing home for atomic bomb survivors (hibakusha) in Aki Ward, Hiroshima. There they listened to the A-bomb accounts of the residents.

The group was comprised of ten overseas students from seven nations, including Indonesia, the Netherlands, and Brazil, along with 18 Japanese students. They listened to the A-bomb accounts of five residents through the interpretation by a Japanese student.

One of the students asked Toshiko Harada, 90, who was looking back on her A-bomb experience at a former army facility near Hiroshima Station, “Were you left with emotional scars?” The student nodded as Ms. Harada replied: “The experience was so traumatic that I still see the scene in my dreams.”

H. Sina Tonge, 21, a medical student from Turkey, said, “This is the first time I’ve heard accounts of the atomic bombing. I’m too shocked for words.”

The students are taking part in the “Hiroshima Summer School,” organized by an NGO called the International Federation of Medical Student Associations Japan. From August 18 to 23, they are learning about the medical care of hibakusha and paying visits to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Radiation Effects Research Foundation.

(Originally published on August 20, 2009)