National / History

Nagasaki magazine recording testimonies of hibakusha marks 50th anniversary

JIJI

A magazine that documents the testimonies of the Nagasaki hibakusha and disseminates messages against war and nuclear weapons marked its 50th anniversary Friday.

In a prefatory note in its inaugural issue on Aug. 9, 1969, Nagasaki no Shogen (Testimonies of Nagasaki) said it “hopes to dredge up more testimonies and help people bring to light the danger of a new nuclear war and infringements of human rights of hibakusha.”

Its publisher, a local civic group called Nagasaki no Shogen no Kai (Group for Testimonies of Nagasaki), prints new issues about one to four times a year and had produced 75 issues by the end of last year. The experiences of about 2,000 hibakusha are documented in the magazine.

In 2006, 38 of some 1,000 testimonies were compiled into a book. An English translation was also published.

“Through the testimonies, the magazine tells not only how gruesome being exposed to radiation is, but also people’s feelings against war and nuclear weapons,” said Mitsugi Moriguchi, the 82-year-old secretary-general of the group.

Moriguchi pointed to the importance of preserving testimonies from Hiroshima’s hibakusha as well, and of enabling more people in the world to share their feelings.

“That will be the most powerful force to prevent the use of nuclear weapons,” he said.

The magazine also takes up nuclear-related issues elsewhere in the world, highlighting the anti-nuclear movements of the day in feature stories.

Hibiki Yamaguchi, the 43-year-old chief editor, said the magazine can show what a wide-ranging issue nuclear weapons are by both addressing the harm done by the atomic bombings and the current situation on nuclear weapons.

With the average age of hibakusha exceeding 82, the magazine faces increasing difficulty gathering testimonies. Yamaguchi is eager to find out how hibakusha lived their lives by collecting what people around them have to say.

“Different people react to different parts of testimonies. That’s why accumulating testimonies makes sense,” Yamaguchi said.

“The hibakusha are not gone yet. Our mission to record (their experiences) will not change,” Yamaguchi said, showing his determination to continue the work.

Nagasaki marked the 74th anniversary of the atomic bombing on Friday.

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