Several books containing the transcript of U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech in Hiroshima in May have been published in Japan, reflecting high public interest in his historic visit to one of the two cities destroyed by atomic bombs during the war.
A book titled “The Day When President Obama Visited Hiroshima” contains the president’s full speech, accompanied by a reader-friendly Japanese translation, so that a wide range of people can read it. It also comes with a DVD of the 17-minute speech.
“We thought the president’s speech should be put down on paper so everyone can remember it, not just as a one-time event,” said Naomi Saito, the editor of the book.
In his speech May 27 at Peace Memorial Park, Obama repeated his call for a “world without nuclear weapons” as he became the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima.
Poplar Publishing Co., which started out with children’s books, hopes the Obama book will reach people who are not usually exposed to news reports, Saito said.
Akiko Kojima, who translated the speech, said she thought it was “well-written” and tried to make the translation sound natural when read aloud in Japanese.
“I focused on translating it in simple Japanese so even junior high school students can understand it, while maintaining the dignified nature of the president’s speech,” she said.
The book also contains remarks by Shigeaki Mori, a local historian and A-bomb survivor who entered the spotlight after being hugged by Obama during the ceremony.
“After decades, I felt rewarded for my all-out efforts in my historical studies,” Mori said, referring to his lifetime work of identifying 12 American victims who were prisoners of war when the bomb exploded overhead on Aug. 6, 1945.
“I recalled those difficult days, and now feel filled with emotion,” Mori said about meeting Obama.
Offering feedback to the publisher, a 79-year-old woman who read the book said Obama’s speech made her realize that her happy life is founded on the sacrifices of others, and wanted to say “thank you to Mr. Obama from my heart.”
Another reader said she was deeply moved to witness the president’s visit on television and purchased the book and DVD to show to her children and grandchildren.
The Japan Times also published a book on Obama’s speech with a Japanese translation, along with famous speeches by other U.S. presidents, including the one delivered on Aug. 6, 1945, by Harry Truman, who made the decision to drop the atomic bomb.
“By tracking back to Aug. 6 when the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the book offers an overview of history on how the United States changed its thinking over nuclear weapons,” said Hironori Kinami, an editor at The Japan Times.
The book also includes speeches by John F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower, as well as a newspaper article about a visit to Hiroshima by Truman’s grandson in 2012.
“We hope that the book helps to deepen understanding about nuclear weapons and peace,” Kinami said.
The books are seeing good sales, especially in Hiroshima, reflecting high interest in the event, the editors said.
Goma-Books Co. also published a book on the Hiroshima speech accompanied by a commentary on how other countries responded to it.
It also contains Obama’s landmark speech in Prague in 2009 calling for a world without nuclear weapons, which won him the Nobel Peace Prize that year.
Asahi Press published a similar book containing Obama’s speeches in Hiroshima and Prague. The books by The Japan Times, Goma-Books and Asahi Press are accompanied by CDs of the speech.
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