That history should not repeat: Hiroshimas storytellers
Seventy, five years ago, this week, the B twenty, nine, bomber, Nola gay dropped little boy, the world's first use of an atomic weapon. At Eight fifteen in the morning of August six Japanese time. The first atomic thumb has done enemy talk. It detonated over. Hiroshima immediately killing around one hundred and forty. Thousand People I'm was aimed to explode about zero point. In the city at the junction of. Untold River. Three days later, another stroke sake. As Japan marks the anniversary, it hopes to keep the wartime memories alive using the stories of people who survived the attacks. On all. Holland. But the average age of survivors is now over eighty three. But those. This'll be the last chance to hear from those witnesses during a major anniversary. August sixth nineteen forty five was supposed to be a day off for seventeen year old. Takeo to Toco. No Snyder is the economists Tokyo Bureau chief. She had made plans to meet two girlfriends at eight fifteen owning at a train station on the west side of Shema. She was running late, and then she stepped outside, she saw flash and heard a bang. Which you regained consciousness, she found herself lying thirty meters away a mushroom cloud rising over the city. People with charts skin peeling from their arms rushing over a nearby hillside. Mr K. Ohka left's to look for her mother. and. Found rivers filled with bodies took her six days to locate her mom who is still miraculously alive. Mom lived for another twenty two years. We stuck ohka became a prominent voice amongst the hypocrisy shower, atomic bomb survivors, atomic sufferers. Telling Her story abroad many times in hopes of preventing atomic bombs from ever being used again. I heard this tale from her daughter. He got no. Mario. Who's part of a fascinating unique project underway in both your Sima Nagasaki to help preserve the stories, of Hypoxia, for generations to come to, how does this project work? So there are still some hundred and thirty thousand living. inbox. Amiss. Gone. But their average age is now over eighty three and the number who can tell their stories publicly is declining drastically. Just. You got the fact that could have done this. So the city government's in both fishermen sake have been recruiting scores of volunteers like music Otieno to become what they call dense Shosha or legacies successors. These are essentially memory keepers, people who learned the stories of the hypoxia down to the most gruesome details in order to be able to retell them with power and veracity for years into the future do. So the volunteers in, Hiroshima, have to go through a rather rigorous course, three years of study training discussion with hypoxia before they're allowed to retell the stories in public. Ms Higashi, no is somewhat unusual in that. She inherited own story, most of the Dan Shosha, take on a stranger's burden. And it simply because that's that generation of of survivors passing that the these city governments have started this program. Yeah, it is. It's really reflective of the anxiety that many people in here, C.`mon, Nagasaki and throughout Japan feel about fading wartime memories I'm what will happen. Once this generation firsthand witnesses passes away the city governments and the peace museums. Atomic bomb museums in both cities have been collecting and recording testimony for many years. But this then social program is away, they hope to preserve these memories in living form to retain the emotional impact. The comes from searing these stories from another human being. and. So where does this fit in with the the wider of up the bombing of of the war in Japan? For Japan, the Hiroshima Experience became central to wartime memory and park has some scholars have argued because it allows victim narrative to dominate shifting the focus away from the atrocities Japanese soldiers committed abroad in Asia and the Pacific certainly oaks in China and Korea have bristled at the lack of context that some of the retailing's of the aroma and Nagasaki experiences or trey. and. If you look at Japan today, it's of course, wrestling a new with the legacy of the Second World War and its aftermath in particular the constitution that America imposed on Japan after the war, which renounces war bars Japan from maintaining armed forces. In practice, Japan does maintain a powerful military which it calls the Self Defense Forces and its Prime Minister Obey Shinzo years has hoped to change the constitution to revise the constitution in order to make explicit that Japan's military is constitutional and and perhaps to expand the limits of what they're allowed to do. Curiously, the public still supports maintaining the postwar constitution. So in short pacifism is still deep seated in today's Japan. and. What about the the the effort of auction others to to learn the lessons of the second. World War d? How does nuclear non-proliferation look at this stage from where you are. Well. This is another source for concern. Of course, non-proliferation efforts in recent years have been faltering just this January. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. It's doomsday clock. It's subjective measure of our proximity to self-annihilation closer to midnight than anytime since its establishment in one, thousand, nine, hundred, eighty, seven, the hawks are are pleased and take solace in the signing of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in two, thousand, seventeen, it invokes there unacceptable suffering in its preamble and a nod to how the memory of interesting Nagasaki continues to shape non-proliferation efforts globally yet at the same time, no country with nuclear weapons has signed up to that treaty neither has Japan in fact, which shelters under America's nuclear umbrella. And, and how does that sit with Hypoxia at this stage at this anniversary being marked. I spoke with US Akihiko the governor of the prefecture, and he expressed the view that I heard from many others both your seem sake, which was a wish that Japan would use its moral authority as the only victim of atomic weapons to push harder for their abolition. The hypocrisy. Have Long gramps and spoken about abolishing the bomb before the last houses away. Just to make the do. You call. You can. That's unlikely. But the hypocrisy hope that their stories at the very least. Deter the world from ever using his weapons again. Thank you very much for your time. Thank you very much for having me.