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"Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki--Messages from Hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors)" is a website that makes available to the public first-hand accounts written by hibakusha. By sharing these messages from them, we hope to help propel the growing global movement toward the abolition of nuclear weapons. To that end, The Asahi Shimbun, a leading Japanese newspaper, has established this website. The Japanese version was launched in November 2010. We strongly hope you will take the time to understand the reality of the situations that the A-bomb survivors still face and their pleas for the abolition of all nuclear weapons.
"Messages from Hiroshima" and "Messages from Nagasaki" were selected from among the responses of more than 13,000 survivors who answered a survey in 2005 about their exposure to radiation from the bombing. The survey was conducted by The Asahi Shimbun in cooperation with the Japan Confederation of A- and H-bomb Sufferers Organizations and Hiroshima and Nagasaki Universities. We asked the respondents who included their addresses to allow us to share their messages with the public and to write new messages for this purpose.
In addition, lots of newly-contributed messages are included as messages of 2010. Some have provided us their accounts which were already published in the past. We have obtained consent from survivors themselves or their families to allow their words to be posted on the website. There are also many of the bereaved of the respondents who have given us permission, telling us, for example, that they "want to share our late father's last wishes with the world." The website contains accounts and messages in Japanese from 1,651 A-bomb survivors. Messages and survivor accounts appear in two sections divided according to location: Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We have also provided detailed information on each author including age and situation at the moment of exposure to atomic bomb radiation. The names of the survivors who have consented to have their names appear on the web can be found above on the list of respondents.
The English version opened in September 2011. In putting together the English-language webpage, we have obtained consent from those authors whose messages are already included on the Japanese website to allow their words to be translated and added to the English collection. We now have 377 accounts and messages from hibakusha on our site.
For the translation project, we have recruited volunteers from many areas and walks of life. More than 400 people have contributed by translating the messages and checking the translations of others. There are also groups of high school and college students working together on translations as a group project. Some survivors translated their own A-bomb messages into English and one man did his mother's notes. We have been especially careful to ensure that our translations are both accurate and natural-sounding. Japanese translators work with native English-speaking editors to modify and revise the translation texts. We are profoundly grateful to the many volunteers who have made it possible for these messages to be made available to readers worldwide.
The site also includes more recent articles published in The Asahi Shimbun on the atomic bomb and peace issues. Articles with the titles "So tell me…about Hiroshima" and "Notes from Nagasaki" are part of two series which are still appearing in The Asahi Shimbun Hiroshima and Nagasaki editions, respectively. Each reporter writes about a hibakusha's experience of the bomb, and their later life, based on personal interviews. The articles are written from the author's point of view, aiming to convey the thoughts of each survivor. Articles from the "Notes from Nagasaki" series have also been edited and published in two paperback volumes by Asahi Shimbun Publications Inc. This website uses the later edited form of these articles. Some of these articles have been translated for the English-language webpage.
In addition, one longer piece written by hibakusha, as well as some of the accounts taken from a book "For Those Who Pray for Peace", which was published by Hiroshima Jogakuin Alumni Association to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the atomic bomb, are also included here in both Japanese and English. This website is being supported by people from all around the world. It is our sincere hope that as many people as possible will visit the site, and share our aim to achieve the worldwide abolition of nuclear weapons.