cover image Hiroshima Notes

Hiroshima Notes

Kenzaburo Oe. Marion Boyars Publishers, $22.95 (192pp) ISBN 978-0-7145-3007-9

Japanese novelist Oe, who won a Nobel Prize in 1994, wrote these searching essays between 1963 and 1965, when he made frequent visits to the rebuilt city of Hiroshima and interviewed survivors. The collection, now reissued on the 50th anniversary of the bombing, examines the moral and political implications of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Oe explores how A-bomb survivors maintained their dignity despite shattered health resulting from radiation exposure. He writes about the courage of Hiroshima's doctors and nurses who engaged in emergency efforts despite their own afflictions. He also reports on the Japanese movement to ban nuclear weapons, and divulges that medical authorities in Japan suppressed or withheld evidence of the link between radiation exposure and leukemia. The impact of this grim report is enhanced by its calm restraint and the spare, evocative line drawings. (Aug.)