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Hiroshima for Global Peace

II Peace Movements

1 Peace Movements During the Occupation

(1) Campaigns against the Atomic Bombings Immediately After the Bombing

On August 10, 1945, immediately after the atomic bombings, the Japanese government came to the conclusion that the use of the atomic bombs was a violation of international law and demanded that the United States stop. Furthermore, the government called the weapon an “atrocious bomb” in the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War (dated August 14). The Japanese media reported in detail the Japanese government’s criticism as well as the criticisms against the atomic bombings communicated from abroad. Moreover, in late August there was wide media coverage of theories purporting that it would be impossible for humans and animals to survive in the bombed areas for the next 70 years due to residual radiation (theory of 70 years of sterility).

The United States responded tensely to a series of actions (campaigns against the atomic bombings) that included protests from the Japanese government; and the reference to the atomic bombings in the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War; as well as the 70-year sterility theory in the bombed areas, which spread in late August. When the information related to the atomic bombings was broadcast from Japan for overseas audiences, newspapers in the United States covered most of it, but added contradictory explanations for nearly all the points made. Furthermore, on September 19, the GHQ issued a press code to strictly censor Japanese media coverage of the atomic bombings.

Until the war ended, campaigns against the atomic bombings were conducted with an aim of stirring up support for retaliation, but after the end of the war they assumed a tone (within Japan) that blamed defeat in the war on the atomic bombings, while externally trying to avoid responsibilities for actions taken in the war. The censorship by the United States to control information on the atomic bombings thwarted such intentions of the Japanese government and the military. At the same time, the press code led to suppression and distortion of information on the details of the damage caused by the atomic bombs.

(2) The World Federalist Movement

The Peace Festival (see 9-I-1) organized by the City of Hiroshima could be called the starting point of the peace movement, based on the experience of the atomic bombing. The citizens’ call for world peace communicated from Hiroshima through the mayors’ peace declarations and other means garnered a great deal of attention from overseas. Different global campaigns for peace zeroed in on the A-bombed cities, and some of these movements had a powerful influence on Hiroshima. The World Federalist Movement and the Partisans for Peace Movement were examples of such movements during the occupation period.

The World Federalist Movement was founded based on the concept of achieving a world without war by establishing a single world government, transferring a portion of each country’s sovereignty to this new world government, and eliminating military forces in each country. The United World Federalists of Japan was founded in Tokyo on August 6, 1948. In Hiroshima, Mayor Shinzo Hamai and Governor Tsunei Kusunose were supporters of this movement, and in October 1949 a signature campaign collected 100,000 signatures from citizens to petition U.S. President Harry Truman to lead the initiative to establish a “world peace organization.” In addition, the Asia Congress for World Federation was held in Hiroshima for four days from November 3, 1952. This conference was the World Federalist Movement’s first international conference in Asia; and for Hiroshima, it was the first full-fledged international peace conference after the war. This was a big event with 51 participants representing 22 countries (eight from Asia and 14 from Europe and the United States), 263 participants from Japan and 400 observers. Over 170 people sent messages to the conference from 31 countries, including Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell. The Hiroshima Declaration made on the last day of the conference included the resolution to ban the manufacture and utilization of atomic weapons as well as a recommendation to governments, calling for the freedom to publish pictures depicting the A-bomb damage and research publications.

After the City of Ayabe in Kyoto Prefecture declared itself a world federalist city on October 14, 1950, similar declarations were issued by various cities in Japan. In Hiroshima, too, the Hiroshima City Council adopted a resolution on October 30, 1954 to declare the city a world federalist city; and on March 18, 1959 the Hiroshima Prefectural Assembly made a declaration that Hiroshima was a “prefecture of peace” (equivalent to the declaration as a world federalist city). Hiroshima Prefecture was the sixth prefecture in Japan to make a declaration of this kind. In earlier declarations, there was no wording on nuclear weapons, but Hiroshima Prefecture’s declaration called for the abolition of nuclear weapons, stating, “We support the objective of building a world federation to abolish nuclear weapons and to bring about a lasting world peace.” Hiroshima was the first city to declare itself a world federalist city among the local autonomies in Hiroshima Prefecture and the fifth in Japan (Sekai Renpo Undo Hiroshima Nijugo Nenshi Henshu Iinkai, 1972).

(3) Partisans for Peace Movement

The year 1949 was a turning point in terms of the postwar standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union (the Cold War). In April, President Truman said that he would not hesitate to use atomic weapons. In September it was confirmed in an announcement that the Soviet Union (in the socialist camp) possessed the atomic bomb, which was a significant shock to the world. Also, the People’s Republic of China was established in October, and the German Republic (East Germany) was born in Europe. Meanwhile, in April of that year the 1st World Congress of Partisans for Peace was held in Paris and Prague. This peace movement became a global movement, urging people to win peace. On October 2, the Japan Congress of Partisans for Peace was held in Tokyo as part of the events related to the International Day of Peace. There was no mention of atomic weapons at the Tokyo Congress, but the Hiroshima Congress, held as part of the Japan Congress, issued the following declaration: “As citizens of Hiroshima, who were the first people in human history to experience the horrors of the atomic bomb, we demand the ‘abolition of nuclear weapons.’” From then on, calls for the abolition of nuclear weapons grew frequent within Japan. In the signature drive to support the Stockholm Appeal (March 19, 1950), the damage done by the atomic bombs was brought to the fore. Several photos of the horrible scenes from the day of the atomic bombing were displayed at the signature stand for the Stockholm Appeal, set up in central Hiroshima City (Akahata, May 27, 1950), and the June 9 edition of the Heiwa Sensen (Battlefront for Peace) (a bulletin for the Japanese Communist Party Chugoku Regional Committee) published six photos taken just after the bombing of Hiroshima. An exhibition of The Hiroshima Panels by Iri Maruki and Toshiko Akamatsu was held in various places in Japan. From then on, the atomic bomb experience came to play an important role in the movement to abolish nuclear weapons.

2 The Movement to Abolish Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs

(1) Citizens’ Movements and the Atomic Bomb Experience

Mayor Hamai participated in the establishment of a citizens’ group for the discussion of peace issues, which was launched in October 1951. Based on the proposal made by this group, a committee was organized to hold a citizens’ peace rally on August 6, 1952. During the preparations for this event, the committee members had different opinions over whether to use the slogan, “No to the Subversive Activities Prevention Act.” In the end, a unified rally was held under the following four slogans: “No more Hiroshimas,” “No more war and protect the pacifist constitution,” “Stop the Korean War now,” and “People of the world, let’s unite for peace.” The rally was held on August 6 following the conclusion of the Peace Ceremony. The number of participants was a little under 2,000, but it was the first outdoor rally sponsored by a citizens’ organization and adopted a declaration advocating a stop to the manufacturing and use of atomic weapons. On August 6, 1953, the Hiroshima National Peace Rally was held at the Hiroshima Citizens’ Plaza organized by 48 organizations, including the Hiroshima Prefectural Labor Union Congress, Hiroshima Regional Labor Union Congress, and General Council of Trade Unions of Japan (Sohyo), with 950 representatives from 22 organizations across the nation in addition to 6,630 participants from 22 organizations in Hiroshima Prefecture. After adopting 13 slogans, including “Ban the use of atomic bombs, “No to rearmament and military bases,” and “Stable livelihoods for A-bomb survivors,” the participants marched to the cenotaph in a 1,500-meter-long procession.

In this way, prior to the Bikini Atoll hydrogen-bomb incident, in Hiroshima the experience of the atomic bombing was linked to the issue of banning atomic and hydrogen bombs and began growing into a big movement.

(2) World Conference against A and H Bombs

After the Bikini Atoll hydrogen-bomb incident in March 1954, various actions against atomic and hydrogen bombs took place spontaneously in Japan, such as adopting resolutions, signature drives, and holding meetings. Signature drives were not new as the Partisans for Peace movement had already conducted signature collections, but resolutions by the National Diet as well as by the prefectural and municipal assemblies were a new phenomenon. With the adoption of a resolution calling for the banning of nuclear weapons by the Nagasaki Prefectural Assembly on October 22, all 46 prefectures had adopted a similar resolution. As of that date, 169 cities and 92 towns and villages had also adopted a resolution of this kind. In August 1955, the World Conference against A and H Bombs took place in Hiroshima with a backdrop of such heightened movements. Though there was no plan to hold this conference in subsequent years, it has continued every year until today.

The (first) conference in 1955 focused on the issues of the damage inflicted by atomic and hydrogen bombs and of the United States military bases. The issue of relief measures for A-bomb survivors was enthusiastically called for by the preparatory committee in Hiroshima, the host city of the conference. This became an important theme and took root as an important agenda item in the subsequent conferences as well, along with the issue of banning atomic and hydrogen bombs. The issue of the U.S. military bases was, on the other hand, raised by representatives from various areas. During the second conference, subcommittees were set up to seek an organic relationship between the anti-nuclear movement and other movements such as the movement against U.S. bases; the struggles to support Okinawa; the actions to defend the Constitution; and the movement to restore diplomatic relations between Japan and the Soviet Union. This indicates that various peace movements supported the conference and attests to the fact that the conference served as a focal point for these movements. While this aspect of the conference ensured its continuation, it invited criticism against the conference as well. Later (at the fifth conference), the Liberal Democratic Party, the Democratic Socialist Party and other organizations left the anti-nuclear movement due to the differences in opinion over the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. In 1961 the National Council for Peace and Against Nuclear Weapons (Kakkin) was formed with the Democratic Socialist Party at its core. In addition (the ninth conference), because of the different opinions regarding socialist countries and the Partial Test Ban Treaty, organizations such as the Socialist Party and Sohyo began to hold separate conferences, and in 1965 the Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs (Gensuikin) was created. The World Conference, which had been organized by the Japan Council against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs (Gensuikyo, established in September 1955), came to be held separately by the three organizations: Gensuikyo, Kakkin, and Gensuikin.

The conclusion of the Partial Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) in 1963 had a huge impact on global movements to ban atomic and hydrogen bombs. The Aldermaston Marches in Britain, well-known large-scale marches against nuclear weapons, were discontinued in 1964. In Japan, although the conclusion of the PTBT had caused a rift in the anti-nuclear movement, the anti-nuclear movement did not end. The reasons for its survival include significant changes involving the nuclear situation in Japan such as the issues of the port calls of the U.S. nuclear submarines and of nuclear tests in China. Although the three organizations differed in the issues they addressed and the methods they pursued to promote movements, they all held World Conferences around the anniversary of the atomic bombings to call for the banning of atomic and nuclear weapons, and to support A-bomb survivors.

On July 1, 1955, the Hiroshima Prefectural Assembly adopted a resolution to support the World Conference against A and H Bombs held in August, and the Hiroshima City Council also adopted a similar resolution on July 28. The expectations placed on the World Conference by the local municipalities were also seen in the fourth and fifth conferences (the Hiroshima City Council supported a similar resolution on July 2, 1958 and on June 15, 1959), but their support vanished with the confusion of the fifth World Conference, and contradictory actions took place. The “request for the execution of a grand memorial service for A-bomb survivors” (December 15, 1959) and the “request to hold the ceremonies to commemorate the atomic bombing in grave solemnity” (March 23, 1964) were resolutions conveying the local community’s criticisms to the sixth and ninth conferences, respectively.

(3) Nuclear-free and Peace Declarations in Hiroshima Prefecture

From 1954 onward, the National Diet, prefectural assemblies, and municipal councils often expressed their support for banning nuclear weapons and for a nuclear-free peaceful world. The Hiroshima Prefectural Assembly adopted a resolution almost every year from May 1954 to 1962 on the banning of atomic weapons and the international management of nuclear power. The municipal councils in Hiroshima Prefecture also adopted similarly phrased resolutions to “Ban atomic and hydrogen bombs,” “Ban nuclear tests” and “Support the World Conference against A and H Bombs,” at least 38 times between 1954 and 1961. However, after 1963 when the Partial Test Ban Treaty was concluded, resolutions against atomic and hydrogen bombs by the local autonomies in Hiroshima Prefecture ceased (according to the research by the Office of Prefectural Historiography of Hiroshima Prefecture in August 1975). Interest in banning atomic and hydrogen bombs at the local autonomies grew once again in 1982 and onward. Amid heightened nationwide anti-nuclear movements in that year, on March 25 the Hiroshima Prefectural Assembly adopted a statement strongly requesting the national government to maintain the Three Non-Nuclear Principles and to make utmost efforts to advance the abolition of nuclear weapons at the Second Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly devoted to Disarmament (SSD II). In addition, 10 cities and 16 towns and villages in Hiroshima Prefecture adopted similar resolutions by the end of April.

The March 25, 1982 the Fuchu Town Council, in Aki-gun, adopted a resolution to declare a “nuclear-free local autonomy,” which was the declaration of the town’s own will to work towards nuclear abolition, in contrast to the resolutions of many other local autonomies which called for the national government to make efforts in advancing nuclear disarmament and protest against nuclear weapons. The earlier “peace city” declarations that appeared one after another around 1960 also show municipal governments’ willingness to make efforts, but the declaration of a nuclear-free local autonomy by Fuchu Town was a pioneering one, as it was the second municipality in Japan that made such a declaration. This movement spread throughout Japan from 1982.

(4) Sit-ins at the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims and Protest Telegrams

From March 25 to April 20, 1957, four individuals including Kiyoshi Kikkawa and Ichiro Kawamoto staged a sit-in in front of the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims at the Peace Park, seeking an end to the British hydrogen bomb tests on Christmas Island. The Sarabhai Dance Company was visiting Japan on a cultural mission from India at that time, and the head of the dance company came across the sit-in when he visited the cenotaph in Hiroshima. He encouraged the participants, saying, “In India, Gandhi took a similar approach” (Moritaki, 1997).

People sat in front of the cenotaph to protest nuclear weapons testing also in 1962 and 1973, too. On April 20, 1962, Ichiro Moritaki, the chairman of the Hiroshima Gensuikyo, and Kiyoshi Kikkawa, the executive director, sat in front of the cenotaph in protest of the actions taken by the United States to restart nuclear testing. This sit-in was enthusiastically supported by many people. During this time, a total of 5,000 people participated in this protest until the sit-in came to an end on May 1. On July 30, 1973, 130 people from 17 organizations sat in to protest nuclear testing conducted by France. There were six sit-ins until August 29. The mayor of Hiroshima City, Setsuo Yamada, also participated in the sit-in on August 27 for 10 minutes to protest France’s fourth nuclear test, and drew attention. Since 1973, sit-ins have been continuously conducted and spread throughout and beyond Hiroshima Prefecture.

Telegrams were also sent to protest nuclear testing, addressed to the heads of the countries conducting nuclear testing and their ambassadors to Japan. The City of Hiroshima has continued sending telegrams to protest nuclear testing since it sent a telegram to protest the hydrogen-bomb test conducted by France on September 9, 1968.

3 From Hiroshima to the World

(1) A-bomb Survivors from Hiroshima Travel Overseas

Father Hugo Lassalle from Noboricho Catholic Church in Hiroshima traveled to Rome to attend the General Congregation of the Society of Jesus in March 1946. In September, he had an audience with Pope Pius XII in Rome, where he reported on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and shared his desire to build a cathedral dedicated to world peace. Not only did the Pope express his approval, but he also blessed the endeavor and promised to give his support and cooperation from the Holy See. After the General Congregation, Father Lassalle visited Europe, North America, and South America to explain the tragic state of the City of Hiroshima, and returned to Japan in the fall of 1947 (Ishimaru, 1988).

In 1948, two Christian Methodists from Hiroshima traveled to the United States in succession. In September, principal of Hiroshima Jogakuin, Takuo Matsumoto traveled to the United States for treatment because his health conditions began worsening again around the time the new school building in Nagarekawa-cho was completed. The trip was at the invitation of the Global Ministries of the Methodist Church in the United States. Since he was the first Japanese A-bomb survivor to travel to the United States, he “became the target of extraordinary medical curiosity, was treated like a guinea pig while hospitalized, prodded here and there, and experimentally given various treatments” (words by Matsumoto). However, he recovered his health thanks to the treatment, which lasted a little over two months. After he was discharged from hospital, various schools, churches, Rotary Clubs, and other groups wanted him to speak about his atomic bombing experience, and over a year and a half he visited numerous cities in different states in the United States to speak (Kato, 1988).

Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto of Nagarekawa Church graduated from an American university in 1940 and had many friends and acquaintances in the United States. His name was also widely introduced to the world through reports by John Hersey (May 1946) and a United Press correspondent Rutherford Poats (March 1948). Because of this, he traveled to the United States from October 1948 at the invitation of the Board of Missions of the Methodist Church in the United States. For 15 months, until late 1949, he gave talks focusing on his experience of the atomic bombing. He spoke on 582 occasions at 472 churches and other organizations in 256 cities in 31 states, to approximately 160,000 people. He visited the United States once again for eight months from September 1950, this time speaking on 295 occasions to 242 organizations in 201 cities in 24 states, to approximately 56,200 people (Tanimoto, 1976).

Moral Re-Armament (MRA) was an international movement that conducted an action to invite many Japanese people to travel to the United States and Europe during the occupation period, when traveling abroad was difficult. On March 24, 1950, two persons from the MRA headquarters visited Hiroshima and invited the governor of Hiroshima Prefecture, Tsunei Kusunose, the mayor of Hiroshima City, Shinzo Hamai, and the chairman of the Hiroshima City Council, Seiichi Kawamoto, to MRA’s World Conference in June, saying, “We firmly believe that Hiroshima is a beacon of world peace in this atomic age. It serves as a warning of future dangers and is a guidepost for what can be done.” The MRA invited 60 people, and this was the first large-scale delegation after the war. In addition to the three representatives from Hiroshima, the mayor of Nagasaki City, chairman of the Nagasaki City Council, and governor of Nagasaki Prefecture joined the delegation. They left Japan on June 12 to attend the World Conference held from June 16 to 25 in Caux, Switzerland, where the headquarters of MRA were located. After the conference, the delegation visited different countries in Europe and the United States and returned to Hiroshima on September 4 (Entwistle, 1985). While they were traveling, the fourth Peace Festival in Hiroshima was cancelled (see Ch. 9-I-1).

For 75 days from April to July 1964, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki World Peace Study Mission (40 members led by Takuo Matsumoto, principal of Hiroshima Jogakuin) visited the United States, Canada, Britain, France, Belgium, East and West Germany, and the Soviet Union. This mission was proposed by Barbara Reynolds, an American peace activist living in Hiroshima City. This was when civic movements in Hiroshima started full-scale overseas campaigns. (Kotani, 1995)

(2) Hiroshima and Nagasaki Mayors Visit to the United Nations and the UN Special Session on Disarmament

In the late 1970s, interest in disarmament rapidly increased among international peace movements, the Non-Aligned Movement and UN NGOs and greatly impacted Japan. At the 19th World Conference against A and H Bombs (1973), Gensuikyo pointed out that nuclear weapons development and the nuclear arms race were extremely serious matters of grave concern and called for the conclusion of an international agreement on the total abolition of nuclear weapons. In December 1974, Gensuikyo sent a delegation to the United Nations. The term “the United Nations” appeared in the peace declaration read by the mayor at the peace ceremony in Hiroshima in 1972. The peace declaration of 1974 called for an early conclusion of a total nuclear ban agreement.

On August 1, 1975, during the Council to Promote Peace Culture meeting at the Hiroshima Peace Culture Center, Mayor Takeshi Araki expressed his intent to visit the United Nations. On December 1, 1976, the mayors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki cities and the president of the Hiroshima Prefectural Medical Association, Goro Ouchi, (and others) met with Secretary-General Waldheim at the United Nations Headquarters. During the meeting, they handed him a personal letter from Prime Minister Takeo Miki and a request to the UN Secretary-General for the abolition and complete disarmament of nuclear weapons.

The UN NGO-sponsored International Symposium on the Damage and After-effects of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was held in Japan from late July to early August 1977. This symposium was organized with an eye toward the first UN Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament (the SSD I) to be held the following year, and became an epoch-making event from the perspective of widely disseminating the information both in Japan and abroad on the atomic bombings. Research on A-bomb survivors was conducted across Japan ahead of the symposium, and the reality of the damage inflicted by the atomic bombs was once again studied. Through this study, A-bomb survivors and antinuclear organizations collaborated in various parts of Japan, and their ties formed a foundation for the unification of the movements against nuclear weapons and served as a driving force for initiatives such as signature-collecting campaigns for disarmament. The number of signatures collected for the SSD I (1978) was 18 million, and for the SSD II (1982) 23.7 million. Nearly 1,000 local assemblies made anti-nuclear and disarmament statements or adopted resolutions for the SSD II.

At the SSD II, a total of 79 addresses were made by representatives of NGOs and research institutes. From Japan, four representatives made comments, including Takeshi Araki, mayor of Hiroshima and president of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation; Ohtori Kurino, director of the Hiroshima University’s Institute for Peace Science; the representative of the Nation Liaison Committee for Nuclear and General Disarmament at the Second UN Special Session on Disarmament; and the representative of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Casualty Council (Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, 1997).

4 Preservation of the A-bomb Dome, Elucidation of Damage, and Passing on the Atomic Bombing Experience

(1) The Movement to Preserve the A-bomb Dome

After the war, some were of the opinion that the A-bomb Dome should be preserved as a monument, while others said it should be torn down because it was a dangerous building or because it was a reminder of the tragedy of the bombing. Citizens frequently discussed the topic. However, as the urban area became reconstructed and buildings damaged by the bombing gradually disappeared, the public support for preserving the A-bomb Dome became stronger. On December 22, 1964, representatives of 11 peace organizations, including Gensuikyo, Gensuikin and Kakkin in Hiroshima, requested that Mayor Shinzo Hamai permanently preserve the A-bomb Dome. This request was the first joint action taken by the three organizations after the anti-nuclear movement had split. In response to the petition by the 11 organizations, the mayor clearly stated his intention to preserve the Dome, saying “Research funds will be allocated in the budget bill for the next fiscal year, and experts will study preservation methods.” On July 11, 1966, the Hiroshima City Council unanimously passed a resolution to preserve the A-bomb Dome, and on August 6 Mayor Hamai reiterated his intention to preserve the Dome. He said he wanted to raise 40 million yen to cover the necessary costs through donations from within Japan and abroad.

The city’s fundraising campaign began in November 1966, and in March 1967 it became clear that the donations had exceeded the target of 40 million yen. On the next day, Mayor Hamai announced to the public that the donations had surpassed the target and that the fundraising campaign was to be closed on that day. However, people continued to donate, and the total amount of donations reached about 66.2 million yen. Of the 11,159 donations, 8,728 (78.2%) or approximately 36.64 million yen (55.4% of the total amount) were from outside Hiroshima Prefecture, and the total number of people who contributed exceeded 1.3 million people.

The preservation work conducted with the donations began in April 1967 and finished in August. The City of Hiroshima commemorated completion of the preservation work by holding a “Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Exhibition,” in six major cities including Tokyo, which was well received in all locations. It was reported that the Tokyo and Nagoya exhibitions each had 50,000 visitors.

The success of the fundraising for the preservation of the A-bomb Dome and of the subsequent A-bomb exhibitions showed that presenting the facts of the atomic bombings could arouse public interest in the abolition of nuclear weapons. Many other efforts followed these developments, including the exhibition on the materials returned from the United States (1973); the movement to disseminate survivor testimonies (1977); the 10 Feet Film Project (1980); the fundraising for the Hiroshima Monument for the A-bomb Victims (A-bomb tiles) (1981); and the second fundraising drive for the preservation of the A-bomb Dome (1989). All were met with great success.

In December 1996, 30 years after the start of the fundraising to preserve the A-bomb Dome, the A-bomb Dome was registered on the World Heritage List as the “Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome),” which has a universal value as “a stark and powerful symbol of the most destructive force ever created by humankind,” and “the hope for world peace and the ultimate elimination of all nuclear weapons” (from the description of the world heritage site). With this, people’s hope placed on the preservation of the A-bomb Dome has been passed on as a universal hope.

(2) Clarifying and Passing on the Realities of the A-Bombing

Since the late 1960s, apart from the preservation movement for the A-bomb Dome, there have been other efforts in Hiroshima to clarify the realities of the A-bombing, and share and pass on that knowledge to society and to future generations. In 1964, a movement started with the objective of asking the Japanese government to issue a white paper on atomic and hydrogen bombs. This movement heightened people’s interest in data regarding the atomic bombings, from various fields including government administration and medicine, and revealed numerous materials that had been left untouched.

One such example of this trend is the TV programs broadcasted by NHK titled “Camera Report: Within a 500-Meter Radius of Ground Zero” (broadcast to the Chugoku region on August 3, 1966) and “Images of Contemporary Society: A Flash beyond the Eaves” (nationwide broadcast on August 4, 1967). These programs triggered a movement of the map-restoration of A-bombed areas; which developed into the research conducted by a group of experts at the Hiroshima University’s Research Institute for Nuclear Medicine and Biology, starting from March 1968. This also led to the City of Hiroshima’s project in April 1969. Through this project, efforts were made to restore maps of the A-bombed areas, eliciting numerous testimonies from citizens about the reality of the bombing. From these activities, various citizens’ organizations arose with such objectives as praying for the repose of the A-bomb victims. From the late 1960s, efforts were made throughout Japan to study the damages caused by air raids. The movement of the Map-restoration of A-bombed Areas had considerable impact on these efforts in terms of methodology and ideology. Starting in June 1975 and continuing for two months, NHK called for the citizens to draw and submit pictures of the atomic bombing to be kept for future generations, and many A-bomb survivors supported this project. In total, about 900 pictures were sent to NHK. They were displayed at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum from August 1 to 6 and have subsequently continued to play a role in communicating the realities of the atomic bombing in Japan and abroad.

Furthermore, there were many efforts to publish materials to elucidate (and to pass on) the realities of the atomic bombings. The City of Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture, and other entities published various documents including Hiroshima Genbaku Sensaishi (Record of the Hiroshima A-bomb War Disaster) (5 volumes) (1971); Hiroshima, Nagasaki no Genbaku Saigai (Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Damages of the Atomic Bombings) (1979); Hiroshima Kenshi: Genbaku Shiryo Hen (History of Hiroshima Prefecture: Resource Materials on the Atomic Bombing) (1972); Genbaku Sanju Nen: Hiroshimaken no Sengoshi (30 Years After the Atomic Bombing: A Postwar History of Hiroshima Prefecture) (1976); and Hiroshimaken Sensaishi (History of War Damage in Hiroshima Prefecture) (1988). During the compilation processes, government documents were excavated, such as lists of names of atomic bombing victims from the War Victims’ Relief Bureau in the Ministry of Health and Welfare and from municipal governments in Hiroshima Prefecture. Valuable A-bomb-related materials from right after the bombing, including reports by the Ministry of the Army investigation groups and medical research by Masao Tsuzuki, were published as resource materials in the fore-mentioned books.

Many records on the experiences of the atomic bombings were also published, particularly around 1985, by government offices, schools and companies in Hiroshima City and by various groups of A-bomb survivors in the prefecture. The number of publications on the memoirs related to the atomic bombing was about several hundred a year, but from 1982 onward, the number exceeded 1,000 (Ubuki, 1999).

(Satoru Ubuki)


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 Shimizu, Kiyoshi (Ed.). Genbaku Bakushinchi (The Hypocenter of the Atomic Bomb). Nippon Hoso Shuppan Kyokai, 1969.

 ISDA-JNPC Shuppan Iinkai (Ed.). Hibaku no Jisso to Hibakusha no Jitsujo: 1977 NGO Hibaku Mondai Shinpojiumu Hokokusho (Facts about A-bomb Exposure and the Reality of A-bomb Survivors: A Report on the 1977 NGO Symposium on Atomic Bombing Issues). Asahi Evening News, 1978.

 NHK (Ed.). Goka o Mita: Shimin no Te de Genbaku no E o (We Saw the Incineration – The People’s Pictures: Drawings of the A-bomb Aftermath). Nippon Hoso Shuppan Kyokai, 1975.

 City of Hiroshima and Nagasaki City (Eds.). Hiroshima Nagasaki no Genbaku Saigai (Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Damages of the Atomic Bombings). Iwanami Shoten, 1979: p. 504.

 Ubuki, Satoru (co-authored and Ed.). Genbaku Shuki Keisai Tosho, Zasshi Somokuroku 1945-1995 (A Complete List of Books and Magazines on Atomic Bombing Memoirs: 1945-1955). Nichigai Associates, 1999.

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