Part 3 Rescue and Medical Relief
Chapter 5： Prayers for World Peace and the Repose of the Atomic Bomb Victims
According to newspaper reports, memorial ceremonies for the war victims and other commemorative events began from about one month after the atomic bombing. Time seemed to pass quickly during that period, with Nagasaki still in a state of terrible chaos after the atomic bombing and Japan’s surrender on August 15.
On September 15, 1945, as the autumnal equinox drew near, the Mitsubishi Nagasaki Steelworks and Nagasaki Newspaper Co. held memorial ceremonies at Mitsubishi Hall and Kōgenji Temple in Tera-machi, respectively, for employees who had died in the atomic bombing. On September 18, the Nagasaki City Government held a joint memorial ceremony for war victims among the general public at Togiya Elementary School and, the following day, another memorial ceremony for war victims among city employees, affiliated groups and the staff of municipal schools at Kōtaiji Temple in Tera-machi.
Furthermore, Mitsubishi Nagasaki Electric Works, Kawanami Industries Co., Mitsubishi Nagasaki Arms Factory, Nagasaki Prefectural Cooperative Association (17 groups) and other organizations held memorial ceremonies during the equinoctial week in September at various places in Nagasaki. Also, newspapers reported on a memorial ceremony held in Isahaya by Yamaki Foundry for employees who had perished in the war. In October, the Yamazato-machi Northern District Neighborhood Association held another memorial ceremony for the war victims.
The above is a list of memorial ceremonies mentioned in newspaper articles, but a large number of similar events were undoubtedly held in various places during the period.
On November 9, middle schools, women’s schools, neighborhood associations, labor unions and Nagasaki Medical College held ceremonies to commemorate the three-month anniversary of the atomic bombing.
In the summer of the following year, the former Urakami Branch of Nagasaki Prison held a commemorative event to express respect and condolences for the war victims, and Nagasaki Medical College convened a memorial ceremony to serve as an expression of determination to reconstruct the devastated city. Around August 9, the first anniversary of the atomic bombing, a variety of events was held to remember the war victims, including a memorial ceremony organized by Nagasaki City. Bereaved families and other people who had lost loved ones in the atomic bombing became absorbed with memories of deceased family members, classmates and colleagues as the anniversary drew near.
Newspapers reported the event held by Nagasaki City to commemorate the first anniversary of the atomic bombing and mentioned that it was convened regardless of the poor weather, the mayor of Nagasaki serving as chief mourner at a site in the vicinity of the hypocenter in Matsuyama-machi. Priests from various religious sects attended the event, which was held on a large scale with the participation of many citizens.
In his book about the atomic bombing, Sugimoto Kamekichi commented that “we were finally able to hold a long-awaited remembrance ceremony for the atomic bomb victims at 11:00 a.m. on August 9, 1946.” The location of this ceremony was the atomic bomb hypocenter in Matsuyama-machi. Sugimoto also stated that the residents of the devastated neighborhoods received donations from Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard, Mitsubishi Nagasaki Electric Works and Mitsubishi Nagasaki Steelworks, as well as assistance from other organizations in addition to subsidies from the prefectural and municipal governments.
For a period of 10 days from November 1, 1946, Nagasaki City organized a festival under joint sponsorship with the Nagasaki Restoration Committee, including a number of events to inspire new hope and energy among the people of Nagasaki.
The parishioners of Urakami Cathedral meanwhile conducted the first Catholic memorial mass for the atomic bomb victims on November 23, 1945. Gathering on the open grounds beside the ravaged remains of the cathedral, the approximately 300 surviving parishioners prayed for the repose of the souls of the dead and pledged their efforts to rebuild the devastated Urakami neighborhood.
From 10:20 a.m. on August 9, 1947, the Nagasaki Federation of War Sufferers hosted a Buddhist ceremony to mark the sankaiki or second anniversary of the deaths of the atomic bomb victims in Komaba-machi near the hypocenter, and that evening members of the Youth League and Buddhist Federation held a memorial ceremony in Matsuyama-machi and other events reminiscent of a time of peace, including fireworks and a community dance. On the same day, a memorial ceremony for unclaimed atomic bomb victims was held at Anshōji Temple in Isahaya, with the mayor of Isahaya in attendance as chief mourner. Also, a memorial mass was dedicated to the souls of the atomic bomb victims at a temporary shrine built near the ruins of Urakami Cathedral.
On August 9, 1948, the third anniversary of the atomic bombing, Nagasaki City hosted a commemorative gathering at the hypocenter in Matsuyama-machi. Said Mayor Ōhashi Hiroshi in his opening address: “We pledge our utmost efforts to overcome obstacles and to reconstruct Nagasaki as one of the world’s great cities of culture on the basis of the sacrifice made by the atomic bomb victims.” The organizers received a personal message from General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, commending the citizens of Nagasaki for their efforts to reconstruct the city. Read by Deputy Mayor Itō, the message was followed by greetings from the commander of the Nagasaki Military Government Team, Prime Minister Ashida Hitoshi and Morito Tatsuo, Minister of Education. Several guests of honor also delivered speeches. The event came to a close at noon with the Peace Declaration and the adoption of the slogan “No More Nagasaki” on the occasion of the third anniversary of the atomic bombing.
The Nagasaki Federation of War Sufferers conducted a memorial ceremony from 2:00 p.m. at the same site. Commemorative events were also held at the reconstructed factories of Mitsubishi Nagasaki Steelworks and Mitsubishi Nagasaki Electric Works. Moreover, the Nagasaki City Buddhist Association held a memorial ceremony for the bereaved families of atomic bomb victims at Daionji Temple in Imakago-machi.
On August 9, 1949, the fourth anniversary of the atomic bombing, Nagasaki City held an event to celebrate the approval of the Nagasaki International Culture City Construction Law by the Japanese government. In addition, Urakami Cathedral and Nagasaki Medical College hosted a joint memorial mass and a commemorative event, respectively. The same day, Mayor Ōhashi Hiroshi announced the adoption of the name “Peace Park” as of August 9, 1949 and delivered the following Peace Declaration calling for the reconstruction of Nagasaki as an “international culture city.”
Nagasaki should be explicitly identified in world history as the city that suffered an atomic bombing and brought an end to the most horrific war of the century. The citizens of Nagasaki realized, through the terrible suffering caused by the atomic bomb, that a nuclear war is capable of annihilating the entire human race. Also, after the atomic bombing of their city, the citizens of Nagasaki ardently hope that humankind will never again engage in warfare and that nuclear power will be used exclusively for welfare and world peace. In accordance with the spirit of the Nagasaki International Culture City Construction Law, which aims at achieving the ideals of international cultural development and lasting peace, and on the occasion of this ceremony to pray for peace, I hereby declare that we will reconstruct Nagasaki as a world-renowned city that stands as a symbol of culture and international exchange, as a solemn and sincere representative for world peace.
Mayor of Nagasaki
August 9, 1949
After the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1952, the memorial ceremonies were integrated as a citywide event by Nagasaki City entitled, “Peace Ceremony to Remember the Atomic Bomb Victims and to Pray for World Peace.”
The Nagasaki Medical College lay in ruins and the number of private medical practitioners was drastically reduced in the wake of the atomic bombing. Thus robbed of most of their medical facilities, the citizens of Nagasaki had no choice but to rely on assistance from neighboring towns and villages for the treatment of the injured. Because the colossal number of casualties made it impossible to provide sufficient accommodations or to adopt suitable relief measures in Nagasaki, the patients able to withstand movement were carried to Togitsu, Nagayo, Isahaya, Ōmura, Kawatana, Sasebo and even as far as Saga Prefecture. Interned in hospitals and schools, the injured received the attention of local doctors, town employees, volunteer corps and women's groups.
Despite those efforts, however, a large number of people succumbed to their injuries. The local governments made every effort to locate relatives and to deliver the remains of the dead, but many corpses were never identified and had to be buried in public or private graveyards at each location. In 1947, at the suggestion of volunteers in Shiroyama-machi, Nagasaki, the remains of the victims that had been scattered over the hypocenter area were collected and placed in a charnel house in Komaba-machi, where memorial ceremonies could be held. By 1950, with the additional construction of a morgue, the ashes of approximately 3,800 persons had been collected.
About a decade after the end of the war, the first stage of the project to speed the recovery of Nagasaki from the damages of war finally reached completion. Around the same time people began saying that more attention should be paid to the unfortunate people who had died in places outside Nagasaki.
City council member Kamichika Shin, who had organized memorial ceremonies for unclaimed atomic bomb victims buried in the public cemetery in the city of Ōmura, expressed the opinion that it was the duty of survivors to return the ashes of unclaimed victims to Nagasaki and to provide a place for their commemoration. In 1955, he called on the municipal government of Nagasaki and the Nagasaki City Welfare Council to collect and enshrine the ashes of atomic bomb victims laid to rest outside Nagasaki. Nagasaki City, in consultation with each local government, decided to gather the ashes and other remains of atomic bomb victims buried elsewhere and to re-inter them in Nagasaki.
In the process of gathering the ashes and remains, the Nagasaki municipal government was able to identify and contact a large number of bereaved families on the basis of available documents and announcements in newspapers.
On August 3, 1955, a ceremony was held to mark the reburial of the remains of 218 people collected from the outlying areas of Ōmura, Isahaya, Sasebo and Kawatana-chō, and the handing over of identified remains to bereaved families. A similar ceremony was held on October 31, 1955 to mark the reburial of the ashes of 136 people recovered from a public cemetery in Togitsu-chō and the handing over of the remains of 28 people to bereaved families.
The remains unearthed by various local governments were cremated at the Nagasaki City Crematory and the ashes were enshrined in the above-mentioned charnel house in Komaba-machi.
The total number of people whose remains were collected outside Nagasaki and later reburied is presented below.
In 1959, a mausoleum to console the spirits of the Nagasaki atomic bomb victims reached completion in Oka-machi, and the municipal government launched a new investigation concerning unclaimed atomic bomb victims who had been laid to rest in temples or buried in public cemeteries throughout the city. As a result, the ashes of 8,863 people, including those already gathered in the charnel house in Komaba-machi, were collected by the city and laid to rest in the mausoleum.
The mausoleum was later rebuilt in conjunction with the construction of an underground parking facility at Nagasaki Peace Park. The work commenced in February 1994 and reached completion in June the same year. The following month, the ashes of all unclaimed victims were organized and laid to rest in the mausoleum. The newly rebuilt mausoleum, located in 8-5 Oka-machi, is called the Memorial Hall for Unclaimed Victims of the Nagasaki Atomic Bombing.
Some victims were identified but remained unclaimed by relatives. The municipal government of Nagasaki continued its efforts to locate bereaved families and to collect and identify as many victims as possible.
The investigation into the location of bereaved families was expanded to the national level in 1990. In addition, the names of 159 people who had been identified among the 8,935 unclaimed bodies were added to a list entitled “Ashes of Unclaimed Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Victims.” Updated annually thereafter, the list was sent in the form of a poster to community organizations throughout Japan as well as atomic bomb survivor groups with a request to make the situation widely known.
The charnel house in Komaba-machi was removed in September 1961 to make way for the construction of the Nagasaki Prefectural International Gymnasium, and the stone monument marking the spot was relocated to the remembrance hall in Oka-machi. Moreover, the new remembrance hall was designed in such a way as to transcend differences of religion.
Number of Reinterred Bodies of Atomic Bomb Victims from Other Localities
|July 20, 1955||Ōmura City||70||27||--||97|
|July 28, 1955||Isahaya City||45||37||20||102|
|July 29, 1955||Sasebo City||1||--||7||8|
|July 29, 1955||Kawatana- chō||3||3||5||11|
|October 25, 1955||Togitsu-chō||70||69||1||140||(*Later corrected to 136)|
|Total||189||136||33||358||(*Later corrected to 354)|
A deep abhorrence of war and a strong desire for peace were feelings common to all the people of Nagasaki who directly experienced the calamity of the atomic bombing, and they inspired the peace activities conducted there in the postwar period. In one voice, the people of Nagasaki called for the abolition of nuclear weapons and everlasting peace under the slogan “Peace from Nagasaki.”
After the San Francisco Peace Treaty came into effect in 1952, Nagasaki City began hosting a Peace Ceremony every year on August 9. In 1948 and 1949, the event was referred to as a “cultural festival” in order to offset concerns among the Occupation Forces about a possible surge in anti-American feelings. Every year since then, the mayor of Nagasaki has delivered a “Peace Declaration” at the Peace Ceremony on August 9, representing the citizens of Nagasaki in appealing to the world for the abolition of nuclear weapons and the realization of lasting peace.
Peace Declaration of 1952
The world of today is embroiled in the Cold War, and feelings of insecurity about the possibility of war have increased. As an independent country, Japan is determined to contribute to lasting world peace on the basis of its new peace constitution. The residents of Nagasaki, who directly experienced the misery and carnage of the atomic bombing, are convinced that a nuclear war will cause an unprecedented catastrophe for all humankind. Accordingly, we make the following declaration to the world. On the occasion of the 7th anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bombing, we declare our earnest aspiration to achieve world peace, to promote goodwill based on human love through cultural exchanges, and to make efforts to prevent international conflicts.
August 9, 1952
Tagawa Tsutomu, Mayor of Nagasaki City
Peace Declaration of 2005
Today the bells of Nagasaki echo in the sky, marking 60 years since the atomic bombing. At 11:02 a.m. on August 9, 1945, a single atomic bomb was dropped from an American warplane, exploding in this same sky above us, instantly destroying the city of Nagasaki. Some 74,000 people were killed, and another 75,000 wounded. Some of the victims never knew what happened. Others pleaded for water as death overtook them. Children, so burned and blackened that they could not even cry out, lay with their eyes closed. Those people who narrowly survived were afflicted with deep physical and mental wounds that could never be healed. They continue to suffer from the after-effects of the bomb, living in fear of death.
To the leaders of the nuclear weapons states: Nuclear weapons must never be used for any reason whatsoever. This we know from painful experience. For sixty years we have repeated our plea, “No more Hiroshima! No more Nagasaki!” International society has also been exerting effort for the prohibition of nuclear weapons tests and the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones. In 2000, the nuclear weapons states themselves promised an “unequivocal undertaking” for the “elimination of their nuclear arsenals.”
Nevertheless, at the end of the Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons held at United Nations headquarters in May of this year, no progress was achieved. The nuclear weapons states, and the United States of America in particular, have ignored their international commitments, and have made no change in their unyielding stance on nuclear deterrence. We strongly resent the trampling of the hopes of the world’s people.
To the citizens of the United States of America: We understand your anger and anxiety over the memories of the horror of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Yet, is your security actually enhanced by your government’s policies of maintaining 10,000 nuclear weapons, of carrying out repeated sub-critical nuclear tests, and of pursuing the development of new “mini” nuclear weapons? We are confident that the vast majority of you desire in your hearts the elimination of nuclear arms. May you join hands with the people of the world who share that same desire, and work together for a peaceful planet free from nuclear weapons.
To the government of Japan: Our nation deeply regrets the last war, and our government has supposedly resolved not to engage in actions that might lead to the tragedy of war again. The peaceful ideals of our constitution must be upheld, and the threefold non-nuclear principle of neither possessing, manufacturing, nor allowing nuclear arms within our borders must be enacted into law without delay. The efforts of concerned countries for nuclear disarmament on the Korean peninsula, combined with the concomitant results of the threefold non-nuclear principle, will pave the way for a Northeast Asia nuclear-weapon-free zone. We urge you to adopt a stance that does not rely upon the “nuclear umbrella,” and to take a leading role in nuclear abolition.
We would also point out that the atomic bomb survivors have become quite elderly. We further call upon the Japanese government to provide greater assistance to those who continue to suffer from the mental anguish caused by the bombing, and to extend sufficient aid to survivors who now reside overseas.
Here in Nagasaki, many young people are learning about the atomic bombing and about peace, and are engaged in activities that they themselves have originated. To our young people: Remember always the miserable deaths of the atomic bomb victims. We ask each of you to earnestly study history and to consider the importance of peace and the sanctity of life. The citizens of Nagasaki stand behind your efforts. May you join hands with the world’s citizens and NGOs, that the bells of peace will ring loud and clear in the sky over Nagasaki.
Today, as we mark 60 years since the atomic bombing, we pray for the repose of the souls of those who died, even as we declare our commitment, together with Hiroshima, never to abandon our efforts for the elimination of nuclear weapons and the establishment of lasting world peace.
August 9, 2005
Itō Icchō, Mayor of Nagasaki
“The tragedy of Nagasaki must never again be repeated on this planet.” That is the heartfelt wish and cry of Nagasaki residents who directly experienced the horror and suffering caused by the atomic bombing.
We are determined, as part of our mission as an atomic bombed city, to demonstrate the threat and inhumane nature of nuclear weapons and to join with other people around the world in bringing about their abolition. The Nagasaki Citizens Peace Charter is imbued with that spirit of determination.
Nuclear weapons were invented for indiscriminate mass killing and destruction. When the atomic bomb exploded over the heads of human beings, it plunged its unfortunate victims into conditions of disaster and misery beyond imagining and left a permanent mark on Nagasaki. The citizens of Nagasaki stand at the threshold of the nuclear age. They have an eternal responsibility to precisely recount their experiences, hand them down to future generations, and gather relevant records as a permanent reminder for all the people of the world.
Nagasaki City launched a project to compile a concise record of the atomic bombing and its aftermath in July 1973. The first volume, a general analysis, was published in Japanese at the end of March 1977, and the project reached completion in March 1985 after the publication of five volumes. Nearly 30 years after publication, with the world drastically changed, we have obtained new materials and testimonies to add to the present work. In addition, the original books are now out of print and the necessity for an updated version increasingly acknowledged. Taking the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing and the end of World War Two as a turning point, the present volume is entitled “General Analysis, Volume 1 (Revised Version)” with typographical errors corrected, information augmented, and newly obtained materials introduced.
We believe that the publication of this revised version is a matter of great significance, and we strongly hope that it will play a part in bringing lasting peace to the world.
Many people have cooperated directly or indirectly in compiling this book. Although for reasons of space it is impossible to list them all here, we would like to extend our sincere gratitude to all.
Regarding the activities of the Kyūshū University Relief Unit in particular, one of the former unit members, Mr. Fukushige Satoru, provided invaluable materials, data and testimony. For military materials and data, we frequently referred to and obtained quotations from the books Genbaku tōka hōkokusho (Reports on the Atomic Bombing) and Genbaku tōka no keii (Circumstances of the Atomic Bombing) coauthored by Okuzumi Yoshishige and Kudō Yōzō. Both works were compiled on the basis of elaborate translation and verification of historical data disclosed after the removal of the ban (on the release of information pertaining to the atomic bombing).
Araki Masato and Maruta Kazuo supervised the review and revisal of the present book. Moreover, the following persons served as a secretariat and contributed to the project by assisting in the editing process and the collection of photographs.
Taira Mitsuyoshi, Director of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
Onoue Kazuyuki, Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum Information Section
The Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Damage Records, General Analysis Version, Vol. 1 (Revised Ver.)
Published March 31, 2006
Compiled by the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum
7-8, Hirano-machi, Nagasaki City
Published by Nagasaki City
Printed by Fujiki Hakueisha
5-13, Yorozuya-machi, Nagasaki City