The Flowers of Hiroshima, A Book Review

When I first read this book, I had just turned 14. I have never forgotten the heartbreak. This is a review of The Flowers of Hiroshima by Edita Morris, re-read more than 50 years later. WHAT IT’S ABOUT Told in the first person, this is the story of a Japanese family and their American boarder. The tone is loving and tender and heartbreaking. Yuka-san, a young housewife, meets Sam Willoughby outside of her home. Sam, a young American on a business trip to Hiroshima, wants to stay with a native family. Yuka’s family could use the extra money. So Sam becomes her lodger. Yuka-san loves her family, friends, and neighbors. She worries about her husband. Takes delight in her two children, her beautiful sister, and her American lodger. And she hides the ugliness of post-atomic-bomb-life from Sam. She watches Sam fall in love with Ohatsu and hopes that he will marry her sister and take her to America. But Ohatsu loves another. And Yuka cannot deny her sister a chance for happiness. Then the shadow they live under touches each of them and changes all of their lives. THE SETTING Fourteen years after the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima, Yuka […]

What They Learned about Radiation After the Bomb

Within six weeks after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, three US and two Japanese teams studied the impact of radiation. The Japanese wanted to know the medical effects on survivors. The American’s wanted to know how and why people died from the blast. The Americans gathered information for a few months and left. Later, President Harry Truman approved a broader research effort. What they learned about radiation after the atom bomb blasts and what we continue to learn affects all of us today. The ABCC and the RERF The National Research Council formed and funded The Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) to study the medical and biological effects of radiation after the A-bomb. They hoped to produce useful data for peacetime uses of atomic energy. By 1950 the ABCC employed 143 allied and 920 Japanese personnel in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Unfortunately, the ABCC did not help the Japanese they studied. Signs and magazines were in English. Linoleum floors caused pregnant Japanese women wearing traditional wooden clogs to slip and fall. They didn’t offer or give medical treatments. And they offered little or no compensation for lost work to their study participant. Over time, the hibakusha (atom bomb survivors) lost […]

Powerful Quotes About Why War

From toys to poetry, from song to all types of entertainment humans seem obsessed with war. The first recorded war, inscribed in stone, took place in Mesopotamia between Sumer and Elam c. 2700 BCE. Some believe it is an unavoidable part of the human condition. Some come to appreciate that it is a necessary evil. Let’s look at some notable quotes about why war over the years. The Art of War The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected. Sun Tzu 544 BC-496 BC. Ancient Wars Veni, vidi, vici. (I came, I saw, I conquered.) Julius Caesar,100 BC–44 BC. Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum. (If you want peace, prepare for war.) Epitoma Rei Militaris, Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, 4th century. Of Kingdoms and Estates No body can be healthful without exercise, neither natural body nor politic, and certainly, to a kingdom or estate, a just and honourable war is the true exercise. Francis Bacon, 1561–1626. Waterloo 1815  You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you […]