Thousands have gathered in Hiroshima today to mark the 70th Anniversary of its destruction by the atomic bomb.
The horrors unleashed by the first nuclear weapon used against an enemy target are still shocking today. Over 80,000 civillians perished immediately from the United State’s Hiroshima attack, with thousands more dying as a result of radiation sickness in the years to come.
As Hiroshima’s atomic bomb survivors grow older, they are passing on their stories of the horrors they witnessed to the younger generation. The young people serve as “denshosha” – the designated transmitters of memories for survivors, ensuring their horrific experiences of the bombing will always remain fresh in our minds.
To be a denshosha, which is a voluntary undertaking, means you have a serious responsibility to keep telling the stories you inherit once the original witnesses become too frail to speak for themselves.
A pacifist sentiment has pervaded Japan since the bombing, although successive Prime Ministers have called for restrictions on its military power.
Cultural amnesia is a dangerous thing, and this is not a tragedy the world needs repeated.