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'I still hate the glow of the sun': Hiroshima survivors' tales

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My great grandfather, Earl J. Megahan he was on-board the West Virginia I don’t know much he never really told anyone other than after he jumped ship and swam through the water which was on fire because of the all the oil and when he went on another ship after he jumped they told him to get off and he passed away with only telling my Grandfather of what happened who also passed so we won’t ever really know the full story sadly. If any vets know him or know someone that knew or knows of him that would be awesome. I was only one year old when he passed away so I never got a chance to ask.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Yeah, war is a terrible thing, but please, spare me the melodramatics and self pity. Before they go blaming and hating the US for the dropping of the bombs they should be considering all the atrocities committed by Japan in the fist half last century during Japan's [attempted] imperial rule of Asia, which lead up to the bombings. The Nanging massacre killed more civilians than both of the bombs combined. They only have themselves to blame.

3 ( +21 / -18 )

Before they go blaming and hating the US for the dropping of the bombs they should be considering all the atrocities committed by Japan in the fist half last century during Japan's

Morality is absolute, not relative. The fact that other people have done worse things doesn't diminish or justify our own crimes. Nor does victory.

5 ( +18 / -14 )

Reminds me of that line from Michael Douglas' Black Rain: "You made the rain black!!"

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Those at fault are long dead, move forward. The terrible result of the bombs should have halted production in 1945. The USSR wanted to develope them and USA needed to lead. Today 5000 plus nukes exist? How many dozen nations have them?

Viewing the sun as death is the absolute opposite. The sun is life!

We all know war is terrible, we all wish peace was the norm. Since the dawn of humanity war has raged somewhere. If the pawns were not used in the game of chess as expendable the game would not be played. Are we humans pawns god the powerful? Respecting a persons position instead of a persons character is all wrong. Better go respect character instead of wealth or social level.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Yet have the Americans learned their lesson? Will they use nuclear bombs again? The whole point is never to use these weapons again. I feel for the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who were killed, maimed and suffer to this day from the effects of radiation. Nagasaki and the mother church were almost wiped out. The children of many of them suffer to this day. Yet the Americans are callus to their suffering and even compare the atomic bombs to military ships being attacked.

-18 ( +7 / -26 )

Read a story about a Japanese bomb survivor who by himself tracked down Info and families of 12 US POW that perished in the bombingx and their names were added to the Memorial.

'Even enemies deserve closure' Mori-San said.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Misako Katani, now 86, is one of the rare survivors of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

When her mother and sister were killed in the Hiroshima bomb she took their ashes to the ancestral graveyard in Nagasaki—only to be caught up in the second atomic blast.

Sjeesh. now that is bad luck.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Why are these stories resurfacing now?

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Keiko Ogura.

I tell everybody that it was hell. But they don’t understand.

Only those who also suffered from the bombs could truly understand the hell of what she went through.

Just like the ones who survived the nazi concentration camps can only know what it was realy like for them.

No images or words can truly convey what it was like.

I hope the hell she and others suffered is never repeated.

.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Why are these stories resurfacing now?

You'll hear em' again next Aug too.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

please, spare me the melodramatics and self pity. Before they go blaming and hating the US for the dropping of the bombs they should be considering all the atrocities committed by Japan in the fist half last century during Japan's [attempted] imperial rule of Asia, which lead up to the bombings.

I wouldn't call this "self pity". And they don't hate the U.S. They just want to be understood (even though it is very difficult to understand without experiencing yourself) and don't want people to forget about it, and they want to tell their stories because they believe that doing so will help to aim for the nuke- free world.

Why are these stories resurfacing now?

Would you ask why the 9/11 or 3/11 stories resurface every year? It was a true tragedy that we need to convey the message to our children & grandchildren. Why should it not resurface?

4 ( +8 / -4 )

One thing ever impress me is the unequivocal "high morality" and the immovable sence of "justice" of so many commentators in here

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Found the article:

http://m.wvtm13.com/hiroshima-survivor-even-former-enemies-deserve-closure/39733464

He is now doing the same for Nagasaki and European POW. Heard his story is being made into a movie, he even met with the grandson of Truman.

Kudos and respect to him we need more people like him.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

My condolences.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I hope that this year will be the beginning of knowing what actually happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki under the mushroom clouds.”

Many people know. People who don't also don't know about The Holocaust, Nagasaki, Unit 731, the Burma Railroad, the use of biological weapons in China by the Japanese etc etc.

What I'd like for the victims of Hiroshima to think about is this.

Everyone who hears your story is touched. Nobody would want that or wish it on anyone. Your story needs to be told and not forgotten. Just like the victims of the Holocaust and the bombings in Tokyo and China and London and Dresden. It's hard to compare suffering. I know people who were in pain until the day they died because of what happened when Japan fought against America, Australia, Great Britain, China etc etc. millions suffered because Japan went to war.

Tell us about your suffering , but also make the trip to China and other countries and listen to the suffering of other people. Hiroshima wasn't something that just suddenly happened.

Women lost their sons, fathers and husbands in many countries because of Japanese aggression. Civilians were raped, burned and bombed by Japanese.

Let's listen to all the stories of suffering of people prior to Hiroshima.

Now re nuclear weapons. If America, England and France got rid of all their nukes tomorrow, do you really think every other country will get rid of theirs.,and no country will build more later? Really?

Japan hasn't shut down the yakuza yet. You really think you can get North Korea and other countries to not build nukes?

And even if there were no nukes - try telling victims of bombs, grenades, rape by Japanese soldiers, experiments by Unit 731 that the world is a happy place.

You suffered. I weep with you. Go and weep with others who suffered before the atomic bombs were dropped.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

War is terrible for all the civilian, the only party to blame should be the one which brought the country into a state of war.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

who has suffered from breast and skin cancer because of the radiation she was exposed to that day.

How do we know that. I admit it's possible, but plenty of people who haven't been nuked get the same diseases, and many who were nuked didn't. Maybe they should have said "possibly because of..."

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

War is terrible for all the civilian, the only party to blame should be the one which brought the country into a state of war.

The article doesn't mentioning anything about who should carry the blame, so why did you bother to mention it?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Terrible incident. I fully place the responisibilty on the Japanese Royal Family. It was they who brainwashed their people to go kill people in other nations which rendered this reaction. And NOW, they white wash history and play the victim card. I suppose they do this so the general popluation doesnt wake up a realize that Japan DOESNT NEED A ROYAL FAMILY. The Emperor fully funded departments like;

The Epidemic Prevention & Water Purification Department (Unit #713) 関東軍防疫給水部本部 731部隊

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/731%E9%83%A8%E9%9A%8A

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Disillusioned:

" Yeah, war is a terrible thing, but please, spare me the melodramatics and self pity. "

My feelings too. The horrors of WW2 were endless. You can read similar stories to hers from victims of firebombings of Dresden, Hamburg, or for that matter Tokyo. But somehow, some victims are supposed to be more equal than others. Enough already.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

i don't understand comments like this:

Before they go blaming and hating the US for the dropping of the bombs they should be considering all the atrocities committed by Japan in the fist half last century during Japan's [attempted] imperial rule of Asia, which lead up to the bombings.

Why do the atomic bomb victims need to consider the atrocious acts of their government before they can talk about their experience (many of the victims don't "hate" America anymore and just want their story told)? If the government is using this rhetoric, then yes, it is very hypocritical. But not for the civilians victims. I think their story should be told, in as emotional tone as the they want to tell it, otherwise the bombings can seem like something too far in the past.

Yet have the Americans learned their lesson? Will they use nuclear bombs again?

@YukiOtani Considering they haven't used them since, I would think the U.S. Government have. Let's hope they and all other countries that have nuclear weapons, don't forget.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The fallacies are strong in this thread. First, the fact that Japan committed atrocities does mean that the atrocities committed against them require any less apology or acknowledgement. If two kids hit each other, they both apologize. Bringing up Japanese crimes in this discussion is neither here nor there.

Moreover, the individuals who suffered from the bombs were civilians. They didn't commit the crimes that y'all want Japan to apologize for. They were innocent.

Knowing and remembering their suffering is valuable. It keeps us honest in discussions about war.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

For once I would like to read this stuff with even MINIMAL context wrt WWII...........

By all means tell your stories, its worth while to let others know, but please remember the bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki is very well known, worldwide, common knowledge.

Yet for 70+ yrs Japan still has great difficulty acknowledging their atrocities, heck the govt wont even apologize to its own people who they DIRECTLY caused great suffering & abuse!!

And while saying there should be no more nukes Japan has LIVED under the US NUCLEAR UMBRELLA............

Meanwhile ask Japanese about what Germany did in WWII & its amazing what they know! But about their own country........very little & denials left, right & centre!

Pushing the Japan as victim mentality is not going to help much I am afraid

0 ( +3 / -3 )

If two kids hit each other, they both apologize.

spbpb: That's the thing though. Japan hasn't been very sincere with their apologies for war time atrocities committed by the Japanese during WWII. I don't think anyone is trying to down play the human toll of the atomic bombs. But Japan conveniently looks over their own role in WWII that lead to the bombs being dropped. They don't teach it in their schools and they try to remove it from their history books. Thankfully, the rest of the Asia, and the world, doesn't forget.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The article doesn't mentioning anything about who should carry the blame, so why did you bother to mention it?

Because it is my right to have an opinion about what caused this, I wish more will do the same so we can avoid history to repeat itself.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"If two kids hit each other, they both apologize. "

If one kid goes around beating everyone up, including infants and won't stop and kids are bleeding and dying , and partners with another kid who is exterminating babies and eventually another big kid hits him over the head with a bat and finally after saying he will keep slashing kids until he dies but now finally gives up - most people would thank the big kid for saving everyone.

This was not just a little altercation over baseball cards where both kids were bad.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I am not insensitive to the suffering of others, but for some reason, I CHOOSE to be indifferent to the cries of these people.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Most of these comments sounds like those that justify Holocaust because now Israel is doing the same thing with Palestine. Hit military targets, ffs. Not two (not one, TWO) cities filled with civilians. That's a war crime as much as everything bad(and they did a lot) Japanese has done during the same(and the previous) war. People are outraged remembering all the towns and villages Nazis burned to ashes in many European countries just because they feel like doing that, when the end of the war was approaching. Still, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a necessity. Killing random people on such a scale was a necessity. I will never understand that.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Please correct me if iam wrong, but has some one started or has documented these stories of the survivors? and have they been saved for the next generation to recall? Either way these are powerful memories, the survivor should be able to forget them, but we need to remember them.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Their stories should be heard and never forgotten. Having said that, I wonder how many Japanese under 30 have no clue about Japan's many attacks & atrocities that brought the war to the main islands of Japan...

4 ( +6 / -2 )

These stories always employ the same tropes and tactics to pull at our hearts: suggesting the people looked like zombies and using the children in their narration. Always the children. And yes; I know they have suffered unimaginably; but what gets me is that the Japanese think the a-bombs were the sole instances of great suffering of the war. Millions died in nazi camps, the Philippines, Indonesia, Europe, etc. but not once the Japanese step back and reflect on the unimaginable pain of others perpetrated by imperial Japan. Once again, we are led to believe that the Japanese were the sole sufferers and deserve an award for their victim hood. And they always carry an air of self-righteousness and think it's a virtues to have suffered.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Hit military targets, ffs.

Actually, Hiroshima was a military target

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki#Hiroshima_during_World_War_II

"A number of military units were located nearby, the most important of which was the headquarters of Field Marshal Shunroku Hata's Second General Army, which commanded the defense of all of southern Japan,[106] and was located in Hiroshima Castle. Hata's command consisted of some 400,000 men, most of whom were on Kyushu where an Allied invasion was correctly anticipated.[107] Also present in Hiroshima were the headquarters of the 59th Army, the 5th Division and the 224th Division, a recently formed mobile unit.[108]"

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Sensei258: "How do we know that. I admit it's possible, but plenty of people who haven't been nuked get the same diseases, and many who were nuked didn't. Maybe they should have said "possibly because of..."

I notice you only question this with the Korean, not with Tsuboi, for example. How sad is that?

All victims of war have stories to tell, and all should be remembered and passed down; not "Remeber Hiroshima, but let's forget Nanjing and the other stuff that happened 70 years ago, please!" These men and women, and all others around the world, need their stories to be told, regardless of where and to whom, and the stories to be retold correctly so that we may not repeat them.

Why should this be remembered and not other things?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

This is very very sad. But am I so jaded that I immediately want to scream that WAR is the problem here, not the weapons or the nations or the scale or the slogans. War is a disease humanity was born with. Make no mistake, we ALL BEAR this mark of Cain for killing our brothers.

This woman has no face to me. She has lived forever as one witness or another chronicling the horrors of war. Carthage was razed and its people flayed and dismembered. Dresden burned. Vera Cruz. Khan put a whole continent under the knife. Poison gas in trenches. Buzz bombs over London. Dachau. Agincourt. Warsaw. Auschwitz. Rwandan amputees. Nanking. Pearl Harbor. Bataan. Hiroshima.

Had enough yet, foolish humans?

How about Buddhist barbecues, My Lai, the Highway of Death, depleted uranium shells, sarin gas, Disappeared in Chile, Angolan mercenaries, Darfur, Sarajevo, minefields to the horizon... and ... and..... Hogan's Heroes and MASH with TV trays.

We aren't finished, are we? Are we?

Let's not miss the lesson. If this woman achieves her goal of keeping humanity from killing itself with the thousands of atomic bombs we have waiting in silos and bunkers, please please everyone rest assured that humans will find other ways to kill each other in large quantities. They always have. It is a thought that drives all sympathy for this woman away, while leaving me with total empathy. She has no face because she is all of us. I can feel her pain. Every one of us knows about the horror of war, and every one of us is foolish enough to believe that sharing that horror is enough, or apologizing for it, or avoiding it. It is not even close to being enough.

Clearly, we just have to stop. I challenge every country, starting today, to stop war for 70 years as Japan has. After three generations have gone by, I might feel sympathy for this woman and her memories. Until then, all I can say is that I feel her pain because this is the world we live in. A world of war. Some of us are lucky enough to point to it, read about it, or remember it. The rest of us are in it.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

5Sppedracer5: "I challenge every country, starting today, to stop war for 70 years as Japan has."

A good idea, but for a couple of points: 1) Japan didn't stop, they were stopped. Keep in mind that finches had had their way, Japan would be a very different nation today. Also keep in mind that many who brag about what a peaceful nation it is, complain about the current constitution (some compliment it, to be fair), forced on them by the US, and want it to be changed so that Japan once again has the ability to wage war. 2) why stop at 70, as the aforementioned may well wish in their quest to change article 9? Why not forever?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Many who were there are not registered victims because of the Japanese society discrimination against bomb survivors, that included my ex wife, her parents and brother. She has cancer now, but can only get regular medical care because her mother and father never registered. She still remembers, and I heard the tales of what it was like. Her father pointed out where he was when the bomb went off over Hiroshima to us on New Year Day 2005 as we went to the ceremonies at the new Hiroshima Castle and shrine on the new tram. He died a couple years later. That was my last trip to Japan. I'm too old to make another trip there and after my brother in law took all the small estate of the family for himself my ex will never return either if she survives her cancer. My mother in law's younger brother also took everything from his sisters.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Condolences, only the dead truly know the end of war. Those bombs as horrible as they were, saved hundreds of thousands of lives, both for Japan and America. Could you imagine the number of casualties had the US invaded? Continue to tell your stories, let us never forget.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

These are important, terrible stories that need to be told and heard. You can just tell by reading this that none of them are really able to adequately convey the true Hell's Inferno and the depravity of man these people have experienced. Ordinary people, doing ordinary things who just happened to be victims of one of the World's very worst acts of violence and wholesale slaughter.

Very, very sad stuff.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

We never heard these stories in history class . Those bombs were a terrible thng to create and preserve. People need to find. Better way to express a world view. War especially nuclear war is not the answer. Let's find real purpose and meaning in our lives and work to preserve the human race or Chad in and let a few subivors figure it out for us.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I hear what y'all are saying, and I agree. Japan should be more open and honest about its own atrocities. But my two points still stand.

1) This is a conversation about the atomic bomb and the suffering that it caused. Conversations about other atrocities and Japan's own history is a red herring. The suffering experienced by these individuals is not affected by those things. The bomb caused awful damage, and that should be remembered and respected. Whether or not it was justified, we should be aware of the harm that we caused. My point with the kid example, was that harm, whenever it is caused, is regrettable.

2) The people who suffered, the people in this story, are civilians. These people were innocent. These people did nothing wrong. They are no more deserving of punishment than citizens of the British Empire, or even of the US back in our expansionist days.

None of us know the horror that these survivors went through. Knowing this suffering and regretting it is a valuable thing. Telling survivors Japanese to "just get over it" is an inappropriate response for the above two reasons.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"An estimated 20,000 Koreans were among the dead in Hiroshima. Many had been taken to Japan as forced labourers during its 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean peninsula"

How many more Koreans would have been taken to Japan as forced laborers if the A-bombs hadn't been dropped?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Though it may be not concerned with this article, when I was elementary school student, I was vividly impressed with its cruelty of the war in reading the book "Hadashi No Gen", which a number of school in Japan have in their library. I am 20-years-old Japanese now, not a few friends of mine have read the book at the youth,and they said "it was impressive". "Hadashi No Gen" is being removed from elementary schools across the Japan, since it isn't educationally proper for their age of the school. It is ridiculous. it is the very book that bring the reality and what happened in Hiroshima at the day.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan was also working on developing an atom bomb for use in World War 2. Something that tends to get glossed over.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

it's not that I don't sympathize with the civilians in hiroshima and nagasaki. the bomb was dropped 71 years ago. and these people are 79, 78, 86, 91 years old. suddenly they came out in troves and claimed they got cancer due to the bomb?? smells like they got other motives.. abe chan please get a better scriptwriter.

-2 ( +0 / -1 )

My family like many other families had suffered in wars. I was approached recently on the street by some volunteers, who were mostly elderly and asked to sign some kind of petition banning nuclear weapons. I had to politely decline and the little old lady gave me a most incomprehensible look as to why. It's hard for me to explain to her in my limited Japanese that if there was to be a war. I do prefer the nuclear version.

At least the war would be short. Conventional war gives the war mongers more hopes of winning at the expense of the suffering of non-combatants.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If you didn't want a nuclear bomb to be dropped you should have surrendered when given the opportunity before the bombs were dropped.

Japan made imperial land grabs. Japan lost. The citizenry paid the price. Japan was not the only nation to suffer during WW2. Stop trying to make yourselves out to be the only victims - the USSR had 1/3rd of its population decimated during the war. The whole of the late 30's to mid 40's was a black period of awful judgment around the world.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

“An apology doesn’t matter. I just want (President Obama) to come and visit Hiroshima and see real things and listen to the voice of survivors.”

If only that sort of reasoning and mentality existed in most Japanese in regards to issues of WW2 outside of Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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