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From Asahi Shimbun

So tell me about Hiroshima

The column "So tell me . . . about Hiroshima" started with the April 2008 issue of the Hiroshima Edition of The Asahi Shimbun. The reporters followed the lives of the victims and asked them their thoughts. The words of those who have been forced to live as A-bomb survivors ring true to us as we live in the nuclear age. They also approach the thoughts of those who lived through the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Articles appear in the newspaper basically once a week and continue to be posted. In uploading, the ages and titles of the people being interviewed are those from when the article was published.

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    Determined to Keep Telling Her Life Story  -Setsuko Thurlow (83 years old)

    Setsuko Thurlow (maiden name: Nakamura) (83), originally from Hiroshima and now living in Canada, has over the years been giving testimonies in English of her experience of being exposed to the A-bomb. She has given her testimonies to a worldwide audience, including an international conference in Vienna in December 2014. At times she was subjected to callous criticism, but her decision to keep sharing her experience remains unwavering. I asked her what led to her commitment.
    Mrs. Thurlow was born in Hiroshima's Kojin-machi (present-day Minami Ward) in 1932, the youngest of seven siblings. Since her brothers and sisters were much older and eventually left home, she became the only one living with her parents. In 1944, she was enrolled at Hiroshima Jogakuin High School, and remembers the miserable meals at school and at home then. Because rationed food was so limited then, they only had thin rice gruel, containing just a few rice grains to eat. ……

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    Abolishing Nuclear Weapons: The Only Solution  -Hiromi Hasai (83 years old)

    Professor Hiromi Hasai (83), now a professor emeritus at Hiroshima University, spent his life researching radiation from the atomic bomb, leading the field. In 2005, when he retired as president of Hiroshima International University, he began relating his experience of the atomic bombing and calling for the abolishment of nuclear weapons, and since then has devoted himself to preserving and conveying the memories of the victims of the A-bombing. What keeps Mr. Hasai going? I asked him what he thought.
    Mr. Hasai reflected on his youth, saying, "I believed what I learned in school, that we should 'throw our lives away for the sake of our country.' I was truly a young military boy." ……

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    3,353 images of the A-bomb Dome: A Requiem with Paintbrushes  -Hiroshi Hara (83 years old)

    Hiroshi Hara, age 83, who lives in Aki Ward, Hiroshima, continues painting pictures of the A-bomb Dome. So far he has painted 3,353 images! "The A-bomb Dome has not been just standing in silence. It has been standing in the hope of abolishing nuclear arms." Showing his watercolor paintings, he gives testimony of the scenes burned into his mind. He leaves with listeners his desire for world peace. ……

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    Continuing to Tell Her Story and Nurture Lasting Exchanges   -Chiyoko Kuwabara (83 years old)

    A-bomb survivor Chiyoko Kuwabara (83), living in Hiroshima's Minami Ward, has long been telling children about the importance of peace. On August 6 this year, the day the atomic bomb was dropped, she was invited to Hiroshima FM radio show Kujiraji [9 p.m. radio] to tell of her experience that day. Despite what must have been a harrowing personal experience, she spoke so gently that it touched my heart. I went to meet with her and listen to her story. ……

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    Her Calling to Write about Her Family's Experiences   -Hiroko Tamari (71 years old)

    Hiroko Tamari (71), a poet who lives in Asaminami Ward, Hiroshima, was exposed to the A-bomb when she was one year old. She also lost her grandfather, who gave her her name, and her aunt. This summer she privately published a book about her family's experiences of the bombing to mark the A-bombing's 70th anniversary. I asked her about the feelings that drove her to write it. The first Chinese character of her name, "Hiro (紘)," is from the Japanese war-time slogan "Hakko-Ichiu (八紘一宇)," which means "all eight corners of the world under one roof," or the "whole, wide world" Masakichi Shimamoto, her grandfather on her mother's side, chose this character for her name. During the war, her family was living on the Korean Peninsula, but her father went to war, leaving his wife and daughters behind. Masakichi worried about them and called them to stay with him in Gion-cho (present-day Asaminami Ward) in Hiroshima. ……

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    It is time to speak out about prenatal exposure   -Shizue Watanabe (70 years old)

    A collection of experiences written by survivors exposed before birth was published in summer 2015, which marked the 70th anniversary of the A-bombing. All were still in their mother's womb when their pregnant mothers were exposed to the radiation. One of the editors, Ms. Shizue Watanabe, aged 70, who lives in Honmachi, Kure City, was born one month after the A-bomb's detonation. She said that she had never been involved in any movement by A-bomb survivors before. I wanted to find out what led to her to become involved. ……