Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors call for disarmament 75 years on from nuclear attacks

Rory Sullivan hears from experts and survivors on why the testimonies of the hibakusha are key to ‘changing the entire narrative about nuclear weapons’

Thursday 06 August 2020 21:42
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Hiroshima mayor Kazumi Matsui (R) and representatives of bereaved families at an event to mark the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August, 2020.
Hiroshima mayor Kazumi Matsui (R) and representatives of bereaved families at an event to mark the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August, 2020.

“In a city of 245,000, nearly 100,000 had been killed or doomed at one blow; a 100,000 more were hurt.”

These haunting words, written by the journalist John Hersey in The New Yorker in August 1946, showed Americans the scale of what their country had unleashed on the population of Hiroshima the previous year.

However, the true horror exposed by Hersey’s reporting, which ran to 30,000 words and spanned an entire issue of the magazine, lay not in numbers but in a narrative which tracked the experiences of six atomic bomb survivors.

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