A Young Surgeon's Poignant Record of How He Treated Atomic Bomb Victims
Recently translated by his son who wanted the world to know his father's struggle as a doctor
On the morning of August 6, 1945, it was hot and humid on the coast of Ninoshima Island, around three kilometers south of the city of Hiroshima. About twenty soldiers have gathered to start daily operations at the quarantine station for soldiers returning from battle overseas.
Suddenly, the men see a colossal pillar of fire, larger than anything they had ever seen, towering over the right slope of Mount Akikofuji in the center of the small island.
The pillar of fire turns into a huge oval fireball that spreads to the right and left, immediately turning into a grayish cloud.
This was the start of the greatest catastrophe that humanity has ever witnessed. No one had ever seen such destruction, not only these soldiers but also every human being on the planet.
In this work, a young surgeon who was then 26 years old, describes his first-person account of the exhaustive rescue work undertaken for bomb victims who escaped the city by boat. The story’s surgeon, Toru Fujimura, is a pseudonym for this author, Mitsuru Suzumura.
Suzumura describes in great detail what he witnessed, primarily with unsentimental passion, building up detailed facts as his training as a medical scientist taught him. However, he also shows talent as a haiku poet and a painter in his cool and sometimes lyrical descriptions that help the reader to imagine the stark contrasts witnessed in the horrific situations at the rescue wards.
The young surgeon goes on to describe rescue activities in Hiroshima. In this part, he writes more of his contacts with individual patients, including their families, describing the deep regret and agony this young physician felt over his inability to find a cure for this unknown radiation disease. He, a young man, also touches on his melancholic contact with a young girl who was a victim of the bomb.
As his story unfolds, readers will come to understand what happened in Hiroshima and its suburbs, how it affected the environment and the people he met during his one month stay there immediately after the bombing. It is a greatly moving account of the disaster, that while tragic, also offers some signs of hope for the future.
The book, "Atomic Bomb Victims on Ninoshima -- Diary of a Young Surgeon," written by Mitsuru SUZUMURA, was originally published in 1986 in Japanese. His son, Hiromi SUZUMURA, has translated it into English. The Asahi Shimbun AJW has published the digital Editon of the Book.
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© 2013 Hiromi Suzumura
All rights reserved by Hiromi Suzumura No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission. Digital edition published by The Asahi Shimbun AJW
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Original Japanese edition is here;