A-bomb survivors say it's difficult to convey the horror of atomic weapons

A-bomb survivors say it's difficult to convey the horror of atomic weapons

NAGASAKI children younger than you had to work in place of adults who went to war, and they died on a school trip to Nagasaki Peace Park on May 31, said Mitsugi Moriguchi, the chief secretary of Nagasaki no shogen no kai Nagasaki testimonials association.

He is concerned that more and more children seem to respond that they don't know when asked about the atomic bombings of the cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Moriguchi says it is becoming increasingly difficult to convey the experience of the atomic bombing as 77 years have passed since the tragedy. He was invited to a peace education school in the city of Nagasaki a few years ago. Moriguchi planned to show a video of Sumiteru Taniguchi, who died in 2017 at the age of 88, being treated for serious burns to his back after being exposed to the A-Bomb about 1.8 kilometers from the hypocenter.

The suggestion was rejected by the school's principal, who explained that parents will protest that their children are scared and can't sleep at night. Moriguchi was only 8-year-old when he heard an air raid warning and rushed to a bomb shelter after putting on a protective hood. He prayed, Please god. He returned to the city about 10 days after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, where he had evacuated from the Saga Prefecture town of Shiroishi. Smoke from burning corpses could be seen everywhere across the scorched fields, and he felt numb due to the shock.

There were marks left from burning bodies on the school playground, and children were piling up stones saying things like This is the mark where my father was burned, and This is the mark where my mother was burned. Moriguchi's elder sister, who was exposed to radiation in a munition factory about three kilometers from the hypocenter at the age of 19, suffered from multiple primary cancers after World War II and died at age 41.

How can nuclear weapons, which annihilate everyone on the spot, be passed on?

Taniguchi's way of doing so was showing the photo of his own back burnt red, and saying, Please don't look away. It is becoming increasingly hard to tell children about the reality of nuclear damage, like Taniguchi experienced. Moriguchi, who worked as a middle school teacher for about 40 years, is becoming more concerned.

Five years have passed since the death of Taniguchi, who sometimes took off his shirt to show his scars, and called for the abolition of nuclear weapons. Moriguchi worries about the current situation in which Russia is invading Ukraine is suggesting it may use nuclear weapons. He said that the world doesn't understand what will happen if nuclear weapons are used.

Moriguchi is disappointed by politicians who talk about nuclear sharing between the two countries to deploy U.S. nuclear weapons in Japan and jointly operate them, because he feels they don't know anything about the cruelty of nuclear weapons. The Nagasaki testimonials association has recorded over 2,000 A-bomb testimonies for more than half a century, and even now, if people who want to testify about their A-bomb experiences, Moriguchi and others will visit them to keep records.

Why do A-bomb survivors keep talking about their experiences even if it brings back painful memories?

Moriguchi explained that A-bomb survivors do not want people to take pity on them. They want people to understand the horror of nuclear weapons, and reach a point where they think that's why we should never start a war.