Jun Kajihama, NCC Secretary
Experiences ordinary for a person who grew up in Hiroshima: that I was transfixed in front of wax figures of adults and children just after the atomic bombing standing at the entrance to the Peace Memorial Museum; that I ran in front of the Japan Red Cross Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Hospital; that I was told often from grandparents and neighbors, “I don’t want to remember ‘Pika,’ I don’t want to talk about it.” I spent my childhood in a town where the atomic bomb was dropped 73 years ago.
In the comic “The Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms” by Kono Fumiyo, the main character Minami Hirano says 10 years after the dropping of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima,
“People in this town are unnatural. No one talks about “that thing,”
We still don’t know why.
All we know is someone thought we might as well die,
Nevertheless, we have survived.”
Hiroshima had developed as a military city since the Meiji era and was a base of the Imperial Navy during the Second World War. Kure City, which is known for the battleships ‘Nagato’ and ‘Yamato’ built there, was also a military port where many soldiers went to war to Asian countries. I felt the heavy air that settled in the city of Hiroshima when I was a child. Surely there were certain things that we should not touch the core of. We were kept apart from it, being rejected with a word “Kids don’t have to know.”
However, I was shocked by this line and thought I found out the identity of heavy air. As was spoken at the beginning of the former US President Obama’s speech in Hiroshima, “On a bright, cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed.” No one knows why still now. Definitely, we cannot accept that someone thought we might as well die, but it was an undeniable fact. How can we survive with the devastating experience? How can we restore relationships with other people?
“Recovery” “reproduction” “undefeated spirit”… the bombed area have been described with such words after the war. However, even after 73 years, there are people still living with the pain of soul, the same as or more of that of the body due to the sequela of radiation. “Why do unacceptable events happen to me? Do I have still a meaning to live?” Isn’t it a pain each of us Christians may think of?
With 122 UN member countries signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the average age of hibakusha appealing the abolition of nuclear weapons has exceeded 80 years. The second generation of A-bomb continues to receive a medical examination. As the same generation as the third generation of the atomic bomb victims, I prayed together this summer, thinking of the air of the town where only time fell on after being deprived of daily lives and feelings filled with colors, suddenly one day.
“He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
“I am going to bring it recovery and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them abundance[d] of prosperity and security.” (Jeremiah 33:6)