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One of the most intriguing and important stories surrounding the 70th anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings connects to oral history. Japanese culture has long been divided between its oral culture and its written culture, though both have remained vibrant. Not only are different language forms used in both, but also different ways of feeling and thinking are encoded differently into spoken or written language.

That might seem like a small nuance, but oral tradition is the crucial element of an important project to preserve the memories of atomic bomb survivors. Those survivors have long recounted their stories of the bombings directly to schoolchildren, local groups and overseas audiences. However, as those survivors reach old age, the problem has cropped up — who is to carry on their direct, personal storytelling for the next generation?

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