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Hiroshima, Nagasaki bomb survivors struggle to pass down experiences: Survey

Publication Date : 01-08-2012


Seventy-six per cent of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb survivors expressed concern that they would not be able to pass down their horrific experiences to younger generations for much longer, according to a survey by Hiroshima University and The Yomiuri Shimbun.

The survey, carried out ahead of the 67th anniversary of the bombings of the two cities in August 1945, sheds light on the fading memories and advanced age of the survivors.

With the cooperation of atomic bomb victims' associations and other organisations, 131 survivors were asked 18 questions in face-to-face interviews from April to July. The average age of the survivors was 80.2.

According to the results, more than 50 per cent of the respondents felt they had lost physical strength and that their memories had faded due to old age.

Asked why they started sharing their experiences of the atomic bombings, 44 per cent said they were asked to do so by other people, while 28 per cent said they did so out of a sense of responsibility.

About 50 per cent said they had difficulties talking about their experiences. Some said they did not like to remember such painful experiences, while others admitted they were afraid of confessing that they were atomic bomb survivors. Some also had difficulty because of a "lack of understanding from other people."

Thirty-one per cent said they had not been able to talk about some of their experiences.

As for continuing their activities, 52 per cent said they had difficulty doing so. Many said they had lost their drive and became tired more easily, or that it was difficult for them to remember details from the time the atomic bombs exploded.

When asked about passing down their experiences to younger generations, 76 per cent expressed concern. Some felt that when the atomic bomb victims die their experiences will die with them. Others believed that their experiences will become a"once-upon-a-time story."

Sixty-one per cent said it was necessary to cultivate successors to pass down their experiences to future generations, and 85 per cent said they highly evaluated a project started by the Hiroshima municipal government this fiscal year to seek successors from across the nation.


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