Diary of 13-year-old A-bombing victim

English version of “Yoko’s Diary” published in Australia: Brother hopes to provide opportunity to learn about A-bombing

by Sakiko Masuda, Staff Writer

The diary of a 13-year-old victim of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima has been translated into English and published in Australia. Yoko Moriwaki was dismantling buildings to create fire breaks when the atomic bomb was dropped and died that same night. Hiroshima resident Koji Hosokawa, 85, a survivor of the A-bombing, later made his younger sister’s diary into a book.

The 224-page small-format English translation was published in May by Harper Collins, a major publishing company, under the title “Yoko’s Diary.”

In 2010 Australian history writer Paul Ham visited Hiroshima in conjunction with a book he was writing on the atomic bombing. At that time he met Mr. Hosokawa and was moved by his story of his sister’s death. This led to the publication of the English version of the diary. Mr. Ham took on its editing, saying he wanted to communicate the fact that innocent women, children and other ordinary citizens had lost their lives in the A-bombing.

The translation was done by Debbie Edwards, an Australian translator who has also translated the accounts of survivors of the A-bombing. She included explanations of terms such as “hibakusha” and “air raid warnings” so that the story could be easily understood by foreigners and took care to ensure that it could be read by schoolchildren.

Mr. Hosokawa published the original book in 1996 in order to leave behind evidence of his sister’s life. The diary consists of entries from the time Yoko entered First Hiroshima Prefectural Girls’ High School (now Minami High School) in April 1945 until the day before the atomic bombing. It begins with entries describing her joy and determination upon entering high school. On August 5 she wrote, “Tomorrow I’ll help clean up at the building demolition site. I will work as hard as I can.”

“The English translation will give people around the world an opportunity to learn about the atomic bombing,” Mr. Hosokawa said. “I would like it to give people a way to relate to the horror of the A-bombing through my sister’s death.”

(Originally published on June 24, 2013)