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Hiroshima survivors: Haunted 70 years on, determined to remember

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By Kiyoshi Takenaka

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"determined to remember" - how could he (and others) ever forget?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

One of the most sobering moments I think I've ever had was standing on the bridge at Hiroshima and looking into the sky to see where the Little Boy Atomic bomb detonated above the city. I'm sure it's completely impossible to imagine the experience. I'm sure you wouldn't want to be able to.

It's hard to believe that's where Humanity was at in 1945. That this kind of terror was developed, considered and implemented as a solution. That a nation had been so destructive and vile that people fully believed that such measures against them were fully warranted.

This was the final dagger in the heart of the Modernist age that brought so many advancements and so much horrible and wonton destruction.

I can't see it ever being forgotten.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Their stories need to be heard.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

@ Tamarama - Your comment was spot-on. I literally got goosebumps while reading it.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Tamarama "I'm sure it's completely impossible to imagine the experience"

That is why atomic bombings of civilian population were and still are among worst crimes against Humanity.

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

It should never, ever be forgotten, and is indeed one of the most heinous crimes against humanity on record. Likewise crimes committed by Japan and other nations during wartime should also, despite pleas to 'forget and move on', never be forgotten. The minute we forget about crimes like this and start pushing for more militarism is the minute we vow to repeat the same mistakes.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

@smithinjapan "despite pleas 'to forget and move on', never be forgotten".

Agreed. It makes us humans.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@yamashi I assume Unit 371, the Bataan death march, and Nanking Massacre rank above the atomic bombings on your list. You must be really focused on crimes against humanity to want to mention something so far down.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Knowingly bombing children, in a city with little direct military value, targeting not a base, but a city center, against clear rules of war.

It is incredible that the human mind is so rubbery that Americans can still be conditioned to approve of that, against all sense and reason.

-9 ( +5 / -13 )

In a flash, one that was brighter than a thousand suns, a whole city was gone. So were 78,000 lives, although many more would eventually die from blast effects in future days, months and years. In the real world, it has been the balance of fear, not idealism, that has kept the major powers in check for the past 70 years. Would it have worked so well .. . if Hiroshima and Nagasaki had not been put through their agonizing sacrifice?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I never visited two cities, but I will one day, and I will never forget.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

As usual no real context, I feel for the victims, BUT the J-govt at the time bears a HUGE responsibility for both Hiroshima & Nagasaki, need more talk from survivors for sure but Japan desperately needs to put all of WWII in proper perspective, context, but they is unlikely to happen.

And Japanese need to remember the many MILLIONS outside Japan that also have horrific memories of what the IJA did!

18 ( +20 / -2 )

@scipantheist

"I assume Unit 371, the Bataan death march and Nanking massacre rank above the atomic bombings in your list"

Crimes of Unit 731 and other mentioned events were committed by military units. So, US military authorities should punish Imperial Japanese Army or Navy by dropping those bombs on military base or naval harbour. By bombing civilians, they placed themselves much lower than those from Unit 731. Speaking nonsense that atomic bombings saved American soldiers is the same as speaking of NAZI death camps that saved NAZI soldiers from future resistance.

-19 ( +3 / -21 )

The crimes of Unit 731 were perpetuated against the common people. The bombing of Hiroshima was against the common people. The target was the same by both sides.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

The difference between Japanese war crimes and America's dropping of the bomb was that Japanese war crimes were committed with absolutely no provocation, America did not drop the bomb on Japan because they felt like it, they dropped it because it was a war, whether or not it was necessary, it's not like America had done it out of the blue for no reason, Japan had attacked the US, the US fought back in any way they could, that's different from when japan invaded several countries and tortured them all to death for no reason, the bomb was just a bomb, it killed alot of people instantaneously, I'd rather be vaporized in an instant than be raped, beaten, and then bayonetted or buried alive.

13 ( +17 / -3 )

yamashi: "Crimes of Unit 731 and other mentioned events were committed by military units."

Yes, on civilians... MILLIONS across Asia. So, no, the bombings do NOT put the US lower than atrocities committed by Japanese. Atrocities are atrocities, plain and simple. And you seem to forget that while the bombings cannot ever be justified, they weren't just dropped on some random nation -- they were dropped on a nation that STARTED the war with the US. Unlike you, though, the people in this article mention a fear of the return of a militaristic Japan -- given that it was such a Japan that got them bombed in the first place and benefitted no one. These people know above all that you do not attain peace through gearing up for war, and the only end to such war is to suffer obscene amounts of destruction and lose nearly everything (and everything for many).

You seem to suffer from a kind of delusion that the bombings makes Japan right, and the US wrong. NO ONE was right at all, and many innocents suffered because of the arrogance and lack of sanctity of life by governments. The US was wrong to drop these bombs, and the IJA was wrong in the atrocities it committed, and in colonization in general. It's not a contest to see who is 'more wrong'.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

I sleep well a night with my country's actions. Not only did it put an end to your war, but it successfully kept the Reds confined to their borders lo these past 70 years. And all for 1/14 the number of civilian casualties Japan inflicted. Not a bad deal for any country.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Japan was clearly a defeated nation by 44-45. The significance of the Hiro/Nagasaki bombings were to intimidate Stalin. These were the early precursors of the "Cold War". Lets hope a few people remember the cold war too.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Yamashi

That is why atomic bombings of civilian population were and still are among worst crimes against Humanity.

Yes it is, but unfortunately the bombing cannot be extracted or removed from it's context - it has to be viewed within the frame of World War 2 and the shocking acts of barbarity Japan visited upon Asia and the Pacific Islands at that time. That is the ugly prelude to the Atomic bombs that cannot be ignored. The Japanese made victims of millions first - up to 30 Million, in fact. It's a horrific number, isn't it?

See to me, the experience of standing on the Aioi Bridge is not just an acknowledgement of what happened in Hiroshima, but also the wider madness that preceded it - it encapsulates all of that. If you just think of the victims of Hiroshima, you are myopic in the extreme.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Above this comment there are so many deep and passionate statements, and rightly so, all I would like to say is if I ever have the chance to meet Hiroshi Harada although I am British I would still have to bow very low out of respect, although my Japanese is rubbish, I think that you would not need a translator, as my actions hopefully would say it all.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

The Potsdam Declaration had originally offered Japan the chance to retain the Emperor as part of a constitutional monarchy. This was deleted by Truman's friend and Sec'y of State James Byrnes, and of course rejected by Japan. If this part had not been removed there's a good chance that the war would have ended in July and the atomic bombs would have never been used.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I meant regardless of your views on the bombings (and there are various), people need to hear their stories. I am not endorsing Japan's attrocities in any way by saying this (those need to be remembered too), but all sides and suffering should be known, as too many politicians would gladly send people to war again in the world.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

danako: could I please see the source for your claims that "The Potsdam Declaration had originally offered Japan the chance to retain the Emperor as part of a constitutional monarchy." Because I'm pretty sure the Potsdam Declaration originally offered no such assurances to Japan to "retain the Emperor" as you allege. I've never heard of such a claim anywhere and cannot find it anywhere on the internet.

There was never any declaration by any Allied power during the war which ever offered Japan the chance to retain the Emperor. All that would be decided once Japan surrendered. And sure enough, MacArthur allowed Hirohito to remain on the throne.

The Potsdam Declaration made NO direct mention of the Emperor whatsoever. It declared, in fact, that Japan must surrender "unconditionally." This didn't guarantee that the Japanese Emperor would be removed from power, but it also certainly didn't spell out he'd be kept on after the war. It also clearly threatened Japan with its "prompt and utter destruction" should it dither in surrendering. Japan dithered and the Prime Minister of the time, Suzuki, maintained official silence in response, and thus the threat of the Potsdam conference was fulfilled as promised by the leaders of the US, China and the USSR.

At any rate, since Japan dithered instead of quickly surrendering once threatened with "prompt and utter destruction," perhaps you should redirect your blame for the atomic bombs from Truman to where it truly belongs: the Japanese government and its Emperor, Hirohito? That would make much more sense: after all, if Japan had surrendered, the I can hardly imagine the US going ahead with using its bombs on the two cities, regardless of whether it had the capacity to do so or not!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I first saw this statement at the Yashukan museum at the Yasukuni Shrine and then started to research it myself. I suggest starting with Joseph Grew and the Committee of Three and see what you find. If you are anywhere near Yasukuni you can see it for yourself. It's in big letters and quite obvious.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

lets put the Abombs into perspective, around 200,000people died in the blasts, Russia lost around 20million fighting the Germans, Germany around 6million, China/Asia around 10million ,Hitler slaughtered 6 million Jews in gas chambers and burning there bodies many also starved and froze to death. Total deaths were around 60million during WW2 2/3rds of those civillian. Yes the Abombings are shocking but this suffering pales in comparison to conventional warefare, and most likely ever will. my point is if your going to look at the suffering during WW2 you need to look at the whole picture not just what happened in your own back yard. remember all not just some.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Of course the Declaration didn't mention the Emperor, I said that it was DELETD by James Byrnes And I usually don't get into the right and wrong about it. Because I'm in the minority here that believes that it did in fact end the war and save lives. I have no doubt that Japan dithered because they were hoping to get more favorable conditions of surrender. I think Suzuki probably did want to end everything but if he appeared as a defeatist he would probably be assassinated as others were. His statement that 'Potsdam has nothing for us' was intercepted by US intelligence and probably a driving force to use everything and prepare for an invasion.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@yamashi By bombing civilians, they placed themselves much lower than those from Unit 731. and how many 100s thosands civilians did the IJA kill during the colonisation of Asia, im guessing it was much more than the Abombs killed. so your argument is as pathetic as it is wrong.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@Strangerland: The crimes of Unit 731 were perpetuated against the common people. The bombing of Hiroshima was against the common people. The target was the same by both sides.

That is true. Yet, the Japanese military officers who were responsible for Unit 731 were sentenced as war criminals and the government that OK-ed the bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not. That government and the following ones have continued to teach their people that killing innocent civilians through the A-bombings (and the fire-carpeting of Tokyo) was absolutely justified and saved lives. I fail to see how it makes the then-American government any better than the Imperial Japanese Army.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@Jane, The commander of Unit 731 was actually given immunity becase the US thought his knowledge was invaluable for their own germ warfare program.

7 ( +7 / -1 )

JaneM: " Yet, the Japanese military officers who were responsible for Unit 731 were sentenced as war criminals and the government that OK-ed the bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not."

If you think for even a moment that Japan was aptly punished for its war crimes with Unit 731 among the myriad of massacres the IJA committed you are SORELY mistaken. To this day, most Japanese politicians do not even acknowledge that Unit 731 existed and claim it is propaganda to make Japan look bad. In fact, many here if you mention Unit 731 or the Nanjing Massacre demand you 'forget about it already!' if they admit 'something happened', demading to know why people won't 'move on' from history; and yet here they are, pointing out the need to always remember the atomic bombings, when Japan was the victim of horrendous acts.

I agree that it should not be taught that the atomic bombings 'saved lives' because the only thing that can be proven is that it TOOK lives, and that the bombings were motivated by politics and the need to show something for the price tag of the Manhattan Project that had billions invested in it. BUT, if you think Japan has owned up and atoned and teaches the wrongdoings during WWII -- especially when we have a PM hell-bent on changing the past! -- is ignornant at best.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

You are comparing apples and oranges. To make your own end justified.

He Germans conducted the da!e research, plus vivisections, impregnating women with ape sperm and way more.

Scientists on both sides were given waivers resulting in the medical field we know tr.ght know. As western scientists were NOTallowed to conduct such, hence the data was invaluable,plus German and Japanese scientists won the space race.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@GW

As usual no real context, I feel for the victims, BUT the J-govt at the time bears a HUGE responsibility for both Hiroshima & Nagasaki, need more talk from survivors for sure but Japan desperately needs to put all of WWII in proper perspective, context, but they is unlikely to happen.

And Japanese need to remember the many MILLIONS outside Japan that also have horrific memories of what the IJA did!

Absolutely agree. In all the time I have lived here I have heard many, many people talk about the horrors of the A bomb. Never have I heard anyone discuss the horrors inflicted on others in Asia during WW2

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Speaking that "A-bombs saved lives" means that Pandora Box was opened.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Japan needed a concussive shock. Nobody felt sympathetic or compassionate toward the Japanese, particularly after the horror stories about prison camps and the maltreatment of American and British prisoners. In the heat of war, sensibilities are hardened to an extent that seems incomprehensible in later years.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

If we forget Hiroshima the world would be a more dangerous place. If we forget war time atrocities, massacres, sexual enslavement by militarized, the world would be a more dangerous place. We are given memory in order not to forget and we are given history and witnesses to history to enhance our collective memory even the direct witnesses pass on.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

If you can twist logic and all that is holy to justify the dropping of A-bombs upon civilian cities, you can literally justify anything at all.

The excuse that concerns me the most is that since "Japan" started the war, it was okay to bomb even children as if they were responsible for everything that "Japan" did. What does this mean for the future?

It means that I, as an American, am responsible for all the wrongs of my government and military, and so is my child. And so, if someone of some country my country has wronged decides to blow up my house with me and my family inside, he is totally justified.

Of course, I know the answer will be that America has never done anything wrong. Really? I think if I were to go with the premise offered, I would have to say that if any Chinese person decided to start executing random Americans for the exoneration of Shiro Ishii and his friends, this thread has done an excellent job of justifying it. Or, what? A declaration of war is needed?

This is just sick. Sick, sick, sick. And it was 75 years ago so its not like any of us are responsible. So why go to suck sick lengths to justify it at the expense of your own future?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

If you think for even a moment that Japan was aptly punished for its war crimes with Unit 731 among the myriad of massacres the IJA committed you are SORELY mistaken.

Smith, The Tokyo tribunal took place after the end of the war, after the A-bombs were dropped and most of Tokyo with its civilian population was put on fire, meaning that people were burned alive. So your argument that Japan was not aptly punished about what its army did does not stand well at all here. And again, talking about the millions of people who suffered under the Imperial Army rule and the number of victims of the bombings puts you in line with those same politicians who argue about the numbers of Nanking massacre. It is a pity you can't see their point because you are doing something very similar to what they do.

To this day, most Japanese politicians do not even acknowledge that Unit 731 existed and claim it is propaganda to make Japan look bad.

While what you say about Unit 731 is true, I am still to see a proof that the mainstream politicians and the government have denied the existence of the unit. Not acknowledging something and denying are still two words with different meanings in the dictionary. The point most of those same politicians try to make about Nanking is the number of people who were massacred. That the massacre took place is not disputed except by the most right wing but such extreme opinions are, thankfully, very few. Even you, I believe, are well aware that their (conservative politicians') argument is that the figures stated by the Chinese government are exaggerated. Again, I am still to see a proof that the government of Japan has denied that it happened.

In fact, many here if you mention Unit 731 or the Nanjing Massacre demand you 'forget about it already!' if they admit 'something happened', demading to know why people won't 'move on' from history; and yet here they are, pointing out the need to always remember the atomic bombings, when Japan was the victim of horrendous acts.

From what I have read and heard, many of the "many here" are rather foreigners living in Japan who are tired of the use of such tragic events by the governments in the region. If it were not for this constant nagging and bickering, the whole region would have moved on. I do recommend you to read up on latest history and political issues (last 20-25 years) in East Asia so that you might see things in perspective.

The Atomic bombings need to be remembered because as some people pointed out, rememberance might ensure that such horrible acts will not be committed again. I doubt that there are many people out of the USA who would support the American rhetoric and not agree that, regardless of what the Imperial Army did, all the civilians killed in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, etc. were victims of the war. Your generalization (the civilian population of the bombed cities = Japan) in the above comment only shows (again) your deeply rooted dislike for the country but is not logically viable.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Gobshite totally agree all the time ive been in Japan I continually keep hearing the story of the Abombs how many Japanese suffered, how much a victim Japan was and how bad America is for doing that to civilians. one the other side I have very rarely seen it spoken or reported the atrocities/murders/ suffering the IJA commited or the wrong doing of the emperor and those in power at the time. Was Japan a victim and did Japanese suffer during WW2 absolutely, but to say Japan was the main victim and suffered the most during is just plain ignorant and false.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

History is written by the war winner, and what Japan did was exaggerated. Even 7 decades after the war, China/SK/USA are newly exagerating things, such as changing comfort women to sex slaves, etc.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@wtfjapan "how bad America is for doing that to civilians".

Still, there is a simple question. Americans dropped atomic bombs on defenceless civilians of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Later, during Cold War times, Americans developed plans, called "Dropshot" and "Totality". Those plans depicted massive air strikes and nuclear bombings of cities and industrial centers of the USSR. But Americans did not apply it. Guess, why ? Because Soviets could effectively respond by that time. Here we have awful truth. Americans brutally bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki simply because civilians of those japanese cities could not strike in response...

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Even 7 decades after the war, China/SK/USA are newly exagerating things, such as changing comfort women to sex slaves, etc. yes even after 7 decades people still exaggerate that 6 million jews werent slaughtered in Hitlers gas chambers, there bodies turned into commodities, removed of fillings, hair cut off to be used in insulation for Hitlers war machines, men women and children. doesnt change the fact that it happened.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

yamashi Apr. 15, 2015 - 12:07AM JST Here we have awful truth. Americans brutally bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki simply because civilians of those japanese cities could not strike in response...

Here we have awful truth. Japanese brutally massacured Nanking, Manila, and all the neighboring coutries simply because civilians of those cities could not strike in response....

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Americans "brutally bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki" because stupid Japanese leaders would not give up fighting a stupid war they foolishly started and lost.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

@sfjp330 "Japanese brutally massacured Nanking, Manila and all the neighboring countries"

People of Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren't guilty of crimes in Nanking, Manila and all the neighboring countries. Do not confuse IJA to ordinary japanese civilians.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

yamashi Apr. 15, 2015 - 05:35AM JST People of Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren't guilty of crimes in Nanking, Manila and all the neighboring countries. Do not confuse IJA to ordinary japanese civilians.

Why don't you ask your J-goverment. Why do you see PM Abe and over 150 goverment representatives still visiting Yasukuni every year where 14 Class A is remembered? Don't you think this angers neighboring countries? Do you see this in Germany? Japan has never come to grips with its actions and has deliberately refused to face them. Germany, at least, went through such self examination after WWII, and indeed, repentance, that its Nazi past, though not erased, no longer strongly stains the nation of today. Indeed, Germans today have understood their special, historical obligation to face their past honestly. Japan is responsible for at least as many deaths as the Nazis. It's many years of atrocities: concentration camps, its bio-war experiments on Chinese civilians, its deliberate programs of starvation and murder of prisoners, the rapacious killings of conquered cities and their peoples. This and more all swept under the Japan's nationalist rug without even the barest pretense of acknowledgement that they ever occurred.

The basic Japanese attitude towards the war seems to be, “Ok, we are super-peace-loving and were reluctantly forced into war, but only because the U.S. bullied us, and we had really good intentions for the rest of Asia. A few bad things happened, but that’s what happens in war, and did you know that Japan suffered a lot, too and even got nuked, and Japan's attitude is that "we are victims too". We’re sorry we fought the war, but anyway most of those atrocities probably didn’t happen or were exaggerated anyway so were not really all that sorry.” Following the lead from their political masters, Japan's education bureaucrats began to censor history books for schoolchildren to prevent them learning the truth about Japan's military aggression between 1931 to 1945, and the many horrifying atrocities that were committed by Japanese during the course of that military aggression.

If Japanese school children are told anything at all about the Pacific War, it is usually in a false context where the U.S,, Britain and the Netherlands are dishonestly accused of "forcing" Japan to wage a defensive war to obtain supplies of oil and rubber. The schoolchildren are not told in official history textbooks that oil and rubber were withheld from Japan in an effort to persuade Japan to halt its brutal and unprovoked war against China. The children are not permitted to learn in their history books about the slaughter of millions of prisoners of war and captive civilians by the Japanese military. In addition to the hundreds of thousands of captive foreign women who were forced to become sexual slaves in Japanese Army brothels across East Asia and the Pacific region. At times the falsifications and distortions of history in Japanese school textbooks have become sufficiently outrageous to produce a storm of international protest. In 1982, on the 50th anniversary of Japan's forcible seizure and annexation of China's Manchurian region, the Ministry of Education ordered amendments to school history books in reference to Class-A war criminals interred at the shrine. No wonder relations with neighboring countries does not improve.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

"Do not confuse IJA to ordinary japanese civilians."

The vast majority of Japan's soldiers and sailors were civilians in uniforms. Ihe imperial army and navy were conscript services.

"That is why atomic bombings of civilian population were and still are among worst crimes against Humanity."

Nope, due to its key strategic value: it forced a quick end to the war and thus ended further bloodshed. You cant make anything near the same evaluation with Nanking or the destruction of Manila. The bombings spared Japan invasion by Allies and the Soviets, which would have been much much worse in terms of death and violence for all sides, never mind the country being politicially divided like Vietnam or Korea.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

@JeffLee "The vast majority of Japan's soldiers and sailors were civilians in uniform"

Apples and oranges. Soldiers are soldiers while civilians are children, women, elderly people.

"Nope, due to its key strategic value"

No any "strategic value" can justify plain brutality and ordinary war crimes.

"it forced a quick end to the war"

Not true. Units of IJA in Manchuria fought till last days of August.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

yamashiA pr. 15, 2015 - 06:42AM JST Apples and oranges. Soldiers are soldiers while civilians are children, women, elderly people.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries had two plants along the coast of Hiroshima City. One of them is in Ebaokimachi, part of Naka Ward, and was called “Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Hiroshima Shipyard” during the war. According to a report on the A-bomb damage in Hiroshima, the number of people working at the two plants, at the time of the bombing, was approximately 9,200. About 3,200 of them were mobilized students, while the others were young women and Korean workers. In 1944, the Hiroshima Shipyard completed its first ship, the Hisakawamaru, which then set sail. From April 1945, the plant began producing one-man torpedoes that made suicide attacks on U.S. ships.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country." General George Patton

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"Not true. Units of IJA in Manchuria fought till last days of August."

An Aug. 15, the emperor cited the bombings in his formal surrender speech for his decision to summarily end the war, accepting the potsdam declaration (which he ignored in the lead up to the bombings. funny coincidence, eh?).

Those would have been rogue units, and make a lousy point for any debate on this subject.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@wtfjapan: @Gobshite totally agree all the time ive been in Japan I continually keep hearing the story of the Abombs how many Japanese suffered, how much a victim Japan was and how bad America is for doing that to civilians.

For all the fifteen years I have lived in Japan, the Japanese message has always been that Hiroshima should not be forgotten so that such things never happen again. Even in the article above, you have the following: "But Hiroshima needs to keep on sending a message to the world that things like this should never happen again.” As far as I can see there are no words like "victim" or " victimhood." The Japanese government has not asked for any apologies from the US and if there are any such pleas from the survivors they must be very few. To me it looks like there is no statements to the effect of Japan being a victim, let alone the main victim of WWII. What you hear about how bad America was for dropping the bombs and that the civilian population killed in 1945 was victim is from foreigners like me who, sorry to repeat myself, do not buy into the American rhetoric that the bombs were absolutely necessary to save lives. Again, killing innocents to save lives is one of the purest forms of hypocrisy.

To me, at least, it seems that you are reading too much into the statements of the survivors. And though the world understands that the Americans at present are not to blame for the bombs dropped 70 years ago, refusing to accept that the bombings were plain and simple mass murders, does not make modern Americans look good.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Maybe the Japanese who pretend to value civilian lives so highly should consider their advise to Okinawans at the end of the war. I believe it came with a grenade.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

“If we forget Hiroshima, the world would be a dangerous place,” Kajiya said.

Man is a primitive frightened creature who clings to the hope that destruction makes him safe.

The global mosaic of destruction and plodding power struggles prove nothing was learned from Hiroshima. Every year sees the new dawn of another dark tomorrow. Our ignorance cannot outpace the ever increasing threats of false certainty and the promise of destroying our neighbor before they destroy us.

Standing at Umeda, the ninety minutes to Hiroshima seemed too far to reach into the horror of that memory. Maybe that is the problem.

All the suffering is wiped from our awareness and replaced with the promise of new destruction to prevent Hiroshima from ever touching our lives again, the comfort of ignorance and denial. That is the razor's edge all of us live with.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JaneM - I totally agree with you.

Japan is not trying to say that we are the main victim, but rather trying to say let's not forget so this sort of tragedy won't be repeated.

Just like some people here said that Japan was not the only victim, there were tons of others in other countries that suffered badly and many lives were lost elsewhere but what Japan can do to voice the importance of not repeating the brutal war, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are perfect examples of how this should never happen again.

People in Japan are not taught how bad America was, at least I don't remember being taught that way (yes, I went to Japanese schools). When Americans go to the memorial park in Hiroshima, they are very much welcomed with open arms by the people of Hiroshima/Japan and they appreciate that people are visiting (whichever countries they are from, that doesn't matter). One of my American friends said when his father visited him in Japan, they went to the memorial park, the father was not comfortable as he thought Japanese people wouldn't want Americans there but as a matter of fact, he felt very much welcomed. Just like Americans are welcomed in Hiroshima, Japanese are welcomed in Hawaii, and THAT's what we need.. To not forget and to recognize what happened and still hold hands together and not let it happen ever again... that's the message Hiroshima wants to send out to the people.

They're not playing the victim card. What they want isn't an apology, what they want is to be remembered as one of the war victims, that's all.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@JeffLee "Those would have been rogue units"

Any war lasts till the moment when last enemy soldier drops his weapon and surrenders. The mentioned speech of Emperor did not stop Imperial Kwantung Army to fight. Those "rogue units" up to million soldiers were defeated in battles in various places of China and Korea.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@yamashi, based on that statement then the war didn't end until 1974 when Teruo Nakamura surrendered in Indonesia.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Crazy Joe:

" In a flash, one that was brighter than a thousand suns, a whole city was gone. So were 78,000 lives, "

Well, more people than that died in the firebombing of Tokyo, as well as other cities. Does it really make a difference for the victims if they died "in a flash", or more gradually? I have always wondered what makes the Hiroshima victims special. Just who gets to decide which victim is worth more than another?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Two wrongs don't make a right. It's beyond me why some people even try to stand for a certain nations while they don't actually know what the real motivations behind the decisions. Even if we are taught so-called "histories" in our schools, at least by our adulthood, we should learn enough that our nations won't teach things unfavorable to the current political systems. In many cases, people killed in wars are not informed of the reasoning. With or without context, these one-sided attacks on civilians by armed forces are genocides and people involved in these attacks have the blood on their hands, no matter what organization they belong to.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"the Japanese message has always been that Hiroshima should not be forgotten so that such things never happen again."

That "Japanese message" might have more credibility if the Japanese actually came clean about all the wartime things war they have so strategically "forgotten." Like how they seized the Vietnamese rice harvest during the war, triggering a famine that killed millions of Vietnamese.

Never heard of it? Yeah, of course you didn't.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They're not playing the victim card.

Yes, they are.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Black sabath,

I will follow your logic.

On 9/11 the USA was attacked because of the politics of several successive governments’ political meddling in the affairs of the Middle East. (As we all know, that meddling destabilized the region which resulted in destruction, suffering and loss of human life.) The people who were killed in the attacks in New York and Washington on that day were innocent civilians (with a few exceptions in the Pentagon). Every year, the victims are commemorated and, despite the formerly stated reason for the attacks, the killed and injured are considered victims. Commemorating those who died and saying that such events should never be forgotten is then, according to your logic, playing the victim card. I doubt that any sane or non-indoctrinated person would agree with this logic and say that the people who were killed deserved to die and so they should not be remembered and the day should not be commemorated.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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