Hibakusha: Survivors of Hiroshima

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Hiroshima is the title of the book written by John Richard Hersey, one of the most famous writers of today. This book contains the unforgettable story of Hiroshima's bombing that devastated thousands of Japanese's lives and destroyed most of Hiroshima's buildings and establishments. Hiroshima was once a peaceful place in Japan, until the unexpected tragedy came and changed thousands of Japanese's lives. The book Hiroshima presents different stories coming from Japanese survivors about their experiences during and after the bombing. Miss Toshinki Sasaki, Dr. Masakuza Fujii, Mrs. Hatsuyo Nakamura, Father Wilheim Kleinsorge, Dr. Terufumi Sasaki, and Reverend Mr. Hiyoshi Tanimoto are just six among the thousands of Hibakusha that shared with Hersey their close-to-death experiences during the bombing. The term Hibakusha or "explosion affected people" as mentioned by Hersey is a term used to replace the word survivors. Hibakushas are further defined as “those who had been in the city limits on the day of the bombing”; “those who had entered an area within two kilometers of the hypocenter in the first fourteen days after it”; “those who had come into physical contact with bomb victims, in administering first aid or in disposing of their bodies”; and “those who had been embryos in the wombs of women in any of the first three categories” (Hersey 97).

            If I were to assume myself as one of the Hibakusha during the bombing, my actions and reactions probably would be more similar to that of the original Hibakusha. At first, I would be puzzled. This is because as an innocent citizen, seeing your place being pulverized in just an instant without even knowing what caused it would really make your mind questioning and puzzled. Probably, you will find yourself asking what happened?, how did this happen?, who did this?, and why us?, but you cannot find any answers. Furthermore, you would be just surprised that tears started to fall from your eyes and you cannot stop them from falling, and this moment would contribute even more to your state of confusion.

            After being perplexed by the views that I have seen after the bombing, I would first calm myself so that I can think of ways on making myself useful during the situation and then, I would look for my loved ones and check on them if they are hurt or not by the bombing. I will secure their safety first and bring them to the nearest safe place. Then I will start searching for other survivors of the bombing. I will help them in evacuating from the place and we will all find a safe place so that they can rest at least for a short period of time.

            The next thing that I would do is to search for the nearest means of communication and contact many people as soon as possible and inform them about the tragic event that had happed and ask for their help. I would then ask them to further spread the message so that it can reach our government, because I know that our government will immediately take actions in launching rescue operations and support operations to the people of Hiroshima. The last thing that I would do is to pray. I would ask my fellow Hibakusha to kneel down and sincerely pray for our safety and for our salvation. I would ask God to give us strength and courage because it is what each and everyone of us really need during this time and because it is only God who knows the reason why such thing happened, and it is only God who can make us feel calm, relieved, and composed even during the most tragic event like that of Hiroshima's bombing.

            As a Hibakusha who suffered pain, trauma, and sadness during the relentless bombing that wiped out most of homeland's properties and my homeland's people, I will never ever forget such close-to-death tragedy and such event will be forever implanted in my mind, and surely it will cross my thoughts everyday and every night, still thinking how such terrible onslaught happened. Jumping to the present time, remembering the inhuman incident will make me sadder and more helpless. Remembering the voices of my fellow Hibakusha asking for help in my thoughts, remembering the condition of Hiroshima after the bomb annihilated the place wherein establishments were pulverized, vehicles were turned into dust, trees and plants died instantly, and hundreds of thousands of innocent lives vanished in just a blink of an eye – all of these will gradually torn me apart with despair and sorrow. However, this torment will make me more determined to change the future.

            The Hiroshima bombing is probably an event that others would like to erase from their mind completely, but as a Hibakusha, this event will not be forgotten and this will even make me stronger and more courageous, because I know that God is still there and that He is my undying refuge and salvation, and I know that those victims of the bombing who died are now on His side very much happy and comforted. Furthermore, this tragic event will inspire me to be a more productive citizen of Hiroshima and that I will do my very best, with God's help, to contribute in bringing back the old beauty of my beloved homeland Hiroshima.   

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