Ghosts of the Bomb: The Tragedy of the Hibakusha

994 WordsJul 8, 20184 Pages
The radiation that infected the air of Hiroshima and Nagasaki following the first and second nuclear attacks lends a physical manifestation to the idea that Japan was literally haunted by the ghost of the atomic bomb. It is important to acknowledge that the atomic bombs left behind permanent signs of impact that surpassed physical damage; lost in the calculations of casualties and blast radius was the psychological effect experienced by the victims of this unparalleled disaster. A dichotomy of sorts, the bomb appeared in a flash, incomprehensible, alien, and unknown, and left an emotional scar that manifested itself as the concept of the Hibakusha, which is directly translated as “explosion-affected people.” Through individual examples…show more content…
Hara describes this transformation as “time [that has] been constantly eyeing me and my fellow victims from a distance, awaiting its chance to drive us mad,” and it is clear that for the Hibakusha, the struggle to avoid this inevitable descent has already begun . While the two other pieces assigned for this class both touched upon certain elements of the attacks that Hara does not discuss, as a fourth-generation New Yorker who experienced the events of September 11th first hand, I was particularly struck with his portrayal of the ways in which the survivors of widespread disasters are often victims themselves. Much of the language used in the piece recalls New York City in the wake of the attacks: constant physical and emotional reminders of death, silent acknowledgment of shared suffering, and a larger desire to rationalize such irrational tragedy. In this course, we have examined many instances of the physical victims of the attacks, yet it is equally as important to consider the hibakusha, the survivors of the attacks whose lives metaphorically ended (or at least fundamentally changed)on that day as well. The tragedy and destruction of the attacks does not exist only in death tolls and collateral damage; it exists in the lives of those who were lucky enough to survive but not lucky enough to be

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