An American Hibakusha

Resource Guide

This guide contains resources to learn more about hibakusha experiences, America's response to the bombings, the US military-industrial complex, and global efforts to denuclearize. 

Survivor narratives

"Hiroshima"

(New Yorker, 1946) 

 "A hundred thousand people were killed by the atomic bomb, and these six were among the survivors. They still wonder why they lived when so many others died."

"This pathbreaking work of oral history captures for the first time ever - in either Japanese or English - the remarkable story of ordinary Japanese people during World War II."

"Japan at War: An Oral History"

(Haruko Taya Cook, Theodore F. Cook, 1992)

"Barefoot Gen: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima"

(Keiji Nakazawa, 1973)

A hibakusha’s story told through manga

"We Met a Korean Atomic Bomb Survivor"

(DKDKTV, 2018) 

Video

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"What About Us, Nagasaki Asks, as Obama’s Hiroshima Trip Nears"

(NY Times, 2016) 

"While invoking Hiroshima has become a universal shorthand for the horrors of nuclear war, Nagasaki, on the southwestern island of Kyushu, has mostly lived in the other city’s shadow."

"One Day in Hiroshima: An Oral History"

(Nanao Kamada, 2007)

Past, present and future context for the atomic bombings. 

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"Atomic-bomb survivors seek new ways to keep their memories alive"

(Economist, 2020) 

"Although there are still more than 130,000 living hibakusha, their average age is over 83."

America's ResponsE & The politics of Apologizing

"A Magazine Story Opened Eyes to Hiroshima’s Horror. White House Allies Plotted to Shut Them Again."

(Mother Jones, 2020) 

"To thwart any potential shift in public sentiment against the attack, several officials who played key roles in building or using the bomb, including former Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson and Truman himself, plotted to take combative action to install their version of history..."

"Hiroshima and the Politics of Apologizing"

(The Atlantic, 2016)

"When it’s all over, we still won’t know whether or not he [Obama] thinks there’s something about the atomic bombings to be sorry for."

"Rough Translation: The Apology Broker"

(NPR Podcast, 2018)

"We trace the journey of an apology, from Japan to the U.S., that got an unlikely broker. Along the way, she had to work out: what a sorry is, who it's for, and what makes it stick."

"Japan doesn’t want the U.S. to apologize for bombing Hiroshima. Here’s why"

(LA Times, 2016)

“If Obama apologizes at Hiroshima, it draws attention to Japanese behavior elsewhere in Asia during the ’30s and ’40s."

"Text of President Obama’s Speech in Hiroshima, Japan"

(NY Times, 2016)

"Mere words cannot give voice to such suffering. But we have a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.

The War Was Won Before Hiroshima - And the Generals Who Dropped the Bomb Knew It

(The Nation, 2015)

"Seventy years after the bombing, will Americans face the brutal truth?"

America's Military Industrial Complex & nuclear arsenal

"World Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Report"

(Ploughshares Fund, 2020)

"Nine countries in the world possess a total of 13,355 nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia account for 92 percent of them."

"Ike's Warning Of Military Expansion, 50 Years Later"

(NPR, 2011)

"Eisenhower was worried about the costs of an arms race with the Soviet Union, and the resources it would take from other areas -- such as building hospitals and schools."

"Defund America's Endless Wars"

(Just Security, 2020)

"What the President has made plain is the deep connection between militarized domestic policing and America’s wars abroad. Understanding this broader context means that calls to defund the police must also echo demands to end this country’s endless wars."

US Government Federal Spending Tracker

Interactive Tool 

"Here’s how many billions the US will spend on nuclear weapons over the next decade"

(Defense News , 2019)

"If the U.S. carries out all of its plans for modernizing and maintaining the nuclear arsenal, it will cost $494 billion over the next decade, an average of just less than $50 billion per year..."

"Meet the Private Corporations Building Our Nuclear Arsenal"

(The Nation, 2015)

"In 2015, the defense industry mobilized a small army of at least 718 lobbyists and doled out more than $67 million dollars pressuring Congress for increased weapons spending generally."

"Let's Defund the Military Too"

(The Deconstructed Podcast, 2020)

"Rethinking U.S. military primacy is a necessary corollary to ending state-sanctioned violence at home because America’s wars abroad sustain and feed into militarized and racialized domestic policing."

"Progressives Plan to Push Big Cuts to Defense Spending, Citing Coronavirus"

(The Intercept, 2020)

"Progressives in Congress have long called for reductions to U.S. military spending, which has increased by more than $100 billion annually under Donald Trump, arguing that money would be better spent funding domestic priorities."

Nuclear disarmament

"11 Answers to Common Questions and Comments About Nuclear Weapons"

(ICAN, 2020)

“All nine nuclear-armed states already have large, formidable and expensive conventional military forces so it is not evident that their possession of nuclear weapons spares them from having to invest in conventional military capacity.”

"Op-Ed: California is complicit in the buildup of nuclear weapons"

(LA Times, 2018)

"It makes no sense that Los Angeles and the state Assembly and Senate have overwhelmingly voted to reject nuclear weapons, but new weapons — more usable and meant to last decades — are being designed in labs managed and staffed by and with the blessing of the University of California."

"The Bipartisan Appeal of Reducing Nuclear Dangers"

(Global Zero, 2020)

"Though it’s easy to forget in 2020, the U.S. president arguably most closely associated with nuclear disarmament was Ronald Reagan, a Republican who defined his party’s priorities for at least a decade after his presidency."

"A New Generation Against the Bomb"

(The Nation, 2018)

"There are quite a few similarities between the struggle against guns and the struggle against the bomb. The violent, militarized masculinities associated with gun violence are the same associated with the acquisition, use, and threats of use of nuclear weapons."

"The History of Nuclear Proliferation"

(World 101)

"What are the most significant attempts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and have they succeeded?"

"African Americans Against

the Bomb"

(Vincent J Intondi, 2015)

"Historians have generally ignored African Americans when studying the anti-nuclear movement, yet they were some of the first citizens to protest Truman's decision to drop atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945."

"Demilitarization in the Time of Police Abolition: Korean A-bomb Survivors Demand Justice"

(Positions Politics, 2020)

"The stories of Korean A-bomb survivors reveal the interconnected histories of colonial rule and US militarism. In our current moment, as abolitionists and Black liberationists call to defund the police, it is critical that we also take stock of how militarization functions abroad."

"Setsuko Thurlow, Survivor of Nuclear Bombing of Hiroshima"

(ICAN, 2017)

"Setsuko Thurlow, survivor of nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, at the Nuclear Ban Treaty Negotiations, UN New York. 28th March, 2017."