Apr 20, 2012 at 10:52am IST

They survived Nagasaki to tell the horrors

KOCHI: “My patriotism was truly tested on the day Nagasaki was bombed, when I, all of 13, had to pile bodies on to a truck, holding them by the ankle through burnt flesh,” reminisces Nakamura Hiroshi.  He was among the 10 survivors of the atomic bomb disaster who were given a warm reception by the Bank Employees’ Arts Movement, Ernakulam, Art of Living, and Ernakulam Karayogam (BEAME) at the TDM Hall after the Peace Boat arrived here on Thursday.
The Peace Boat is on a global voyage spreading the message of peace. Empowered by the symbolic crane, the Japanese symbol of hope and good fortune, the ‘hibakusha’ or the survivors of atom bomb, urged countries to denounce nuclear propositions.Against the backdrop of the Fukushima Nuclear Reactor disaster, it was important to realise that humankind and nuclear power cannot co-exist, they warn. Yamada Kazumi, a septuagenarian, says: “Even after the horrors of the bombing, the people of Nagasaki believed in the potential of nuclear power to fuel useful initiatives that would benefit the world. However, after March 11 last year, the people of Japan want to tell the world that there can never exist a nuclear plant that will not hurt mankind.”
When asked how difficult it was to have foregone their childhood to the ravages of the atom bomb, Ishikawa Ritsuko said, “I lost my parents in the bombing and I was air-lifted out of Nagasaki when I was just one-year-old. When I attended school, my teacher used to give us red carnations on every Mother’s Day to be given to our mothers with love. I did not have anybody to give it to and the flowers would just fade away.”
The youngest of the group, Ogawa Tadayoshi, said that, though the Japanese have made conscious efforts to forget the disaster, it will leave an indelible mark on their soul. Nuclear power, he said, was against the human code. His compatriot, Nakumura Hiroshi, has suffered five bouts of cancer in various parts of his body already and now suffers from a curable variant of cancer in his bone marrow. However, Hiroshi maintained that he derived strength from the need to propagate peace and refused to be deterred by his illness.
Since 2008, Japan-based international NGO, Peace Boat, has been travelling around the world to campaign for a nuclear-free world. The ship left for Singapore on Thursday.