Firsthand Testimonies

Since 2008, Hibakusha Stories has hosted atomic bomb survivors twice annually to correspond with New York City school’s academic calendar. After the 70th anniversary commemorations of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Hibakusha Stories made the difficult decision to no longer host our beloved elders on a bi-annual basis. We have been concerned about the arduous journey from Japan to the United States and are now focusing our support to those hibakusha living in North and Central America, as well as creating programming in Japan with hibakusha who are part of our family/network. Although we hope that many teachers and students will be able to experience firsthand the testimony of hibakusha, we must prepare for the day when first generation hibakusha are no longer with us. There are several projects that archive their living witness. Hibakusha Stories recommends the following:

  • The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Archive was created by Hidenori Watanabe of Tokyo Metropolitan University in July 2010. Inspired by third-generation descendants of hibakusha to convey the reality of their ancestors, Professor Watanabe developed a digital mapping technology to mark the place and story of survivors.

  • Visual Artist, filmmaker, and friend of Hibakusha Stories Shinpei Takeda travelled throughout the Americas to catalogue through art and film the stories of ex-pat atomic bomb survivors, from Canada to Brazil.  The site is called Hiroshima Nagasaki Download: Memories from the Americas (currently unavailable).

  • Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation’s project dedicated to hibakusha is the Memorial Hall for Atomic Bomb Victims.  The website and physical building host an on-line archive of photos, art work and testimony of hibakusha.  The nearby Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum provides a virtual tour online.

  • Nagasaki City supports disarmament activism and the dissemination of hibakusha testimony through the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for Atomic Bomb Victims — a virtual and physical archive of photos, art work and survivor stories.  The adjacent Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum provides classrooms for peace education and on-line information to encourage interactive learning and also includes a limited archive of hibakusha testimony.

  • The Japanese Government has initiated a hibakusha testimony project as part of its commitment to advance disarmament education, pursuant to the United Nations Study on Disarmament and Non Proliferation Education. The Hiroshima and Nagasaki Archives are memory communities that have been created through the new technology of digital mapping.

  • Asahi Shimbun: Memories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a website that makes available to the public first-hand accounts written by hibakusha. “By sharing these messages from them, we hope to help propel the growing global movement toward the abolition of nuclear weapons. To that end, The Asahi Shimbun, a leading Japanese newspaper, has established this website.”

  • World Nuclear Survivors Forum was organized by Peace Boat in partnership with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). The Forum brought together nuclear survivors and impacted communities from around the world to virtually meet, learn about each other’s situations and needs, and share various actions and initiatives.

  • ICAN RISE — 75th Anniversaries For the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ICAN Geneva created a website dedicated to hibakusha testimony. Several hibakusha featured on this site have participated in programming for NYC youth.

  • Black Mist: the impact of nuclear testing on Australia (PDF Download) A publication from ICAN Australia including testimony of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

  • Surviving Nuclear Testing In preparation for the First Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW, ICAN Geneva created a website dedicated to nuclear test survivors. “The last nuclear weapons test above ground took place in 1980 and the last underground explosion in 2017. But those impacted by these tests remember those explosions and their lasting repercussions. And as they remember, they fight for justice for their own communities and other survivors of nuclear testing around the world.”

  • ICAN Nuclear Testing Interactive Map Website In preparation for the First Meeting of States Parties to the TPNW, ICAN Geneva created a website that “offers a summary of all nuclear testing sites in the world in terms of general available information, humanitarian impacts of testing, activism for nuclear justice, the history of compensation/medical aid and the history of environmental remediation. This does not intend to be a completely exhaustive account by any means, but is a serious attempt to offer a comparative global analysis of all these factors especially in relation to Article 6 of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”

  • Hibakusha Stories helped produce a short film featured in the disarmament exhibit of the public tour route at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Participating hibakusha, Toshiko Tanaka  and Kunihiko Bonkohara were filmed at Dupuy’s Landing in Chelsea one of four private homes dedicated to hosting our beloved elders for more than one decade. A key ingredient of Hibakusha Stories was creating an environment for comfort, care and sharing.  After long days working in the schools, our friends were treated to home-cooked food by our master chef Hayato and relaxing surrounds were lasting bonds of friendship were formed and continue to grow.  Check out our photo galleries for a taste of life outside the classroom.

  • And of course, the Hibakusha page of our website is a rich resource of hibakusha testimony.

Setsuko Thurlow tells her story at Newcomers HS, LIC
Reiko Yamada speaking at the Civil Society Presentations to the Delegates of the NPT Prep Com, April, 2014
Second generation Nagasaki hibakusha Miyako Taguchi and Michio Hakariya, Hiroshima, at the UN, April 2014