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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/4/20

John Hersey's Hiroshima

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Message Dr. Lenore Daniels

' Yes, people of Hiroshima died manly in the atomic bomb, believing it was for Emperor's sake.'

A surprising number of people of Hiroshima remained more or less indifferent about the ethnics of using the bomb.

John Hersey, Hiroshima

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In 1946, on August 31 st , T he New Yorker dedicated editorial space to an article on what happened under the mushroom cloud in Hiroshima.

On this August day, journalist John Hersey's 30,000-page non-fiction story featuring six people living in Hiroshima is published. The six are survivors. Of the atomic bomb cooked up at Los Alamos and order to drop, to detonate, to blow up, and disintegrate, burn and maim structures and, most important, human beings, livestock, pets, it's affectionately known as "Little Boy" to the Americans flying it over Japan.

Einstein orders a thousand copies to know and to disseminate what happens when the mushroom cloud forms over a city inhabited by 137,197 human beings.

Hersey leaves for Japan in the later half of 1945. He sees the devastation. He meets with survivors. One and then another. The writer with a heart, sees a story that must be told. It's a story told from the point of view of the survivors. It's an account of what "the bomb does" to people. To humans. By other humans.

August 6 th , 1945, Japanese time"

There's Toshiko Sasaki, clerk, seated at her desk; Dr. Masakasa Fujii is reading the Osaka Asahi ; Mrs. Hatsuxo Nakamura is standing at her kitchen window looking out at a neighbor; Father Wilhelm Kleinsorge is a German priest, relaxing in his missionary house; Dr. Terutumi Sasaki, walking carefully back to the laboratory, has bottles of blood in his hands; and Mr. Kiyoshi Tanimoto is unloading a cart in front of the home of a wealthy man who left the city thanks to one too many air raids.

100,000 people died.

And so Hiroshima begins with these people, with a flash no one really hears. "At exactly fifteen minutes past eight in the morning on August 6 th , 1945, Japanese time"

The six survivors are still wondering why them by the time Hersey arrives in Hiroshima to interview them. "Each of them," he writes, "counts many small items of chance or volition, a step taken in time, a decision to go indoors, catching one street-car instead of the next that spares him. And now each knows that in the act of survival he lives a dozen lives and saw more death than he ever thought he would see. At the time none of them knew anything."

But history tells us about the Empire of Japan, about Germany and Italy and march of fascism, and that newly nation guided by a belief in its Manifest Destiny doctrine. White Supremacy shaking hands and collaborating with commerce. Profits and resources.

Citizens of Hiroshima slept restlessly the night before because they'd heard the rumors. "Americans were saving something special for the city."

So they knew something"

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Activist, writer, American Modern Literature, Cultural Theory, PhD.

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