The surviving victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are called hibakusha (被爆者), a Japanese word that literally translates as "explosion-affected people" and is used to refer to people who were exposed to radiation from the bombings. Many victims were Japanese who still live in Japan, but several thousand, Japanese and non-Japanese, live abroad in Korea, the United States, Brazil and elsewhere.
The Atomic Bomb Survivors Relief Law defines hibakusha as people who fall into one of the following categories: within a few kilometers of the hypocenters of the bombs; within 2 km of the hypocenters within two weeks of the bombings; exposed to radiation from fallout; or not yet born but carried by pregnant women in any of these categories. As of March 31, 2012[update], 210,830 hibakusha were recognized by the Japanese government, most living in Japan. The government of Japan recognizes about 1% of these as having illnesses caused by radiation.
Hibakusha are entitled to government support. They receive a certain amount of allowance per month. About 1%, certified as suffering from bomb-related diseases, receive a special medical allowance.
The memorials in Hiroshima and Nagasaki contain lists of the names of the hibakusha who are known to have died since the bombings. Updated annually on the anniversaries of the bombings, as of August 2012[update] the memorials record the names of almost 440,000 hibakusha; 280,959 in Hiroshima and 158,754 in Nagasaki.
During the war, Japan brought many Korean conscripts to both Hiroshima and Nagasaki to work as forced labor. According to recent estimates, about 20,000 Koreans were killed in Hiroshima and about 2,000 died in Nagasaki. It is estimated that one in seven of the Hiroshima victims was of Korean ancestry. For many years, Koreans had a difficult time fighting for recognition as atomic bomb victims and were denied health benefits. However, most issues have been addressed in recent years through lawsuits.
Other foreign survivors
While one British Commonwealth citizen and seven Dutch POWs (two names known) died in the Nagasaki bombing, at least two POWs reportedly died postwar from cancer thought to have been caused by the atomic bomb. One American POW, Joe Kieyoomia, was in Nagasaki at the time of the bombing but survived, reportedly having been shielded from the effects of the bomb by the concrete walls of his cell.
People who suffered the effects of both bombings are known as nijū hibakusha in Japan.
A documentary called Twice Survived: The Doubly Atomic Bombed of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was produced in 2006. The producers found 165 people who were victims of both bombings, and the production was screened at the United Nations.
On March 24, 2009, the Japanese government officially recognized Tsutomu Yamaguchi (1916–2010) as a double hibakusha. Tsutomu Yamaguchi was confirmed to be 3 kilometers from ground zero in Hiroshima on a business trip when the bomb was detonated. He was seriously burnt on his left side and spent the night in Hiroshima. He got back to his home city of Nagasaki on August 8, a day before the bomb in Nagasaki was dropped, and he was exposed to residual radiation while searching for his relatives. He was the first officially recognised survivor of both bombings. Tsutomu Yamaguchi died at the age of 93 on January 4, 2010 of stomach cancer.
Hibakusha and their children were (and still are) victims of severe discrimination due to public ignorance about the consequences of radiation sickness, with much of the public believing it to be hereditary or even contagious. This is despite the fact that no statistically demonstrable increase of birth defects/congenital malformations was found among the later conceived children born to survivors of the nuclear weapons used at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or found in the later conceived children of cancer survivors who had previously received radiotherapy. The surviving women of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that could conceive, who were exposed to substantial amounts of radiation, went on and had children with no higher incidence of abnormalities/birth defects than the rate which is observed in the Japanese average.
There is considerable discrimination in Japan against the hibakusha. It is frequently extended toward their children as well: socially as well as economically. "Not only hibakusha, but their children, are refused employment," says Mr. Kito. "There are many among them who do not want it known that they are hibakusha."—Studs Terkel (1984), The Good War.
The Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organization (日本被団協 Nihon Hidankyō ) is a group formed by hibakusha in 1956 with the goals of pressuring the Japanese government to improve support of the victims and lobbying governments for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
- Hiroshima Maidens
- Isao Harimoto - ethnic Korean baseball player born in Hiroshima
- Issey Miyake - clothing designer
- Joe Kieyoomia – an American Navajo prisoner of war who survived both the Bataan Death March and the Nagasaki bombing
- Keiji Nakazawa - author of Barefoot Gen
- Koko Kondo - notable peace activist and daughter of Reverend Kiyoshi Tanimoto
- Sadako Sasaki - well known for her attempt to fold a thousand origami cranes in order to cure herself of leukemia
- Takashi Nagai - doctor and author of The Bells of Nagasaki
- Tsutomu Yamaguchi - the only person officially recognized to have survived both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings
- Children of Hiroshima (1952 film)
- Black Rain (1965 novel)
- Barefoot Gen (1973 manga series)
- Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes (1977 non-fiction children's book)
- No More Hiroshima (1984 documentary film)
- Hiroshima Witness (1986 documentary film)
- Black Rain (1989 Japanese film)
- Hiroshima (1995 film)
- Hiroshima Diary (novel) (2005 novel)
- Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms (2003 manga, 2007 novel and film)
- Hiroshima (2005 documentary/docudrama film)
- White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (2007 documentary film)
- Boushi (2008 TV drama)
- Hibakusha (2012 animated short film)
- "Overseas Atomic Bomb Survivors Support Program". Atomic Bomb Survivors Affairs Division Health And Welfare Department Nagasaki prefectural Government. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
- Ito, Masami (August 7, 2012). "Hiroshima honors A-bomb dead; protesters chant". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
- "Relief for A-bomb victims". The Japan Times. 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2007-10-02.
- "30 A-bomb survivors apply for radiation illness benefits". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
- "Hiroshima Remembers Atom Bomb Victims On 67th Anniversary". RTTNews. August 6, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
- Hanafusa, Asako (August 9, 2012). "Nagasaki vows to help Fukushima victims, urges end to nukes". Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
- Mikiso Hane (2001). Modern Japan: A Historical Survey. Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-3756-9.
- Hibakusha: A Korean's fight to end discrimination toward foreign A-bomb victims, Mainichi Daily News. May 9, 2008.
- "Nagasaki memorial adds British POW as A-bomb victim". The Japan Times. August 9, 1945. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2009.
-  This reference also lists at least three other POWS who died on 9-8-1945
- "CWGC :: Casualty Details". Cwgc.org. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2009.
- "CWGC :: Casualty Details". Cwgc.org. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2009.
-  does not tell if these were Nagasaki casualties
- "Two Dutch POWs join Nagasaki bomb victim list". The Japan Times. August 9, 1945. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2009.
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- It Gave Him Life—It Took It, Too United States Merchant Marine.org website
- "How Effective Was Navajo Code? One Former Captive Knows", News from Indian Country, August 1997.
- "Twice Bombed, Twice Survived: Film Explores Untold Stories from Hiroshima & Nagasaki". Columbia University. August 2, 2006. Retrieved 2009-03-31.
- Japan Confirms First Double A-Bomb Survivor
- "Man who survived two atom bombs dies". CNN. January 8, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
- "Prejudice haunts atomic bomb survivors". Japan Times. Retrieved 2007-08-25.
- http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/78218/1/9789241505130_eng.pdf World Health Organization report. page 23 & 24 internal
- http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/268/5/661.short The Children of Atomic Bomb Survivors: A Genetic Study. 1992. No differences were found (in frequencies of birth defects, stillbirths, etc), thus allaying the immediate public concern that atomic radiation might spawn an epidemic of malformed children.
- Teratology in the Twentieth Century Plus Ten
- http://www.rerf.jp/radefx/genetics_e/birthdef.html (RERF)Radiation Effects Research Foundation. Formerly known as the (ABCC)Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission.
- Terkel, Studs (1984). The Good War. Random House. p. 542.
- "Welcome to HIDANKYO". Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organization (Nihon Hidankyo) website. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
- Terkel, Studs, The Good War, Random House:New York, 1984. ISBN 0-394-53103-5
- Hersey, John, Hiroshima, A.A. Knopf: New York, 1985. ISBN 0-679-72103-7
- Nagasaki Archive
- White Light/Black Rain official website (film)
- Voices of the survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki
- Voice of Hibakusha "Eye-witness accounts of the bombing of Hiroshima"
- Hibakusha, fifteen years after the bomb (CBC TV news report)
- Virtual Museum "Hibakusha testimonies, coupled with photographs, memoirs and paintings, give a human face to the tragedy of the A-bombing. Starting in 1986, the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation initiated a project to record hibakusha giving testimonies on video. In each year since, the testimonies of 50 people have been recorded and edited into 20-minute segments per person"
- The Voice of Hibakusha
- Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission ABCC
- Radiation Effects Research Foundation website
- "Survival in Nagasaki."
- "Living with a double A-bomb surviving parent."
- "Fight against the A-bomb."
- "Contribute actively to peace."
- Hibakusha Testimonies - Online reprints of published sources including excerpts from the Japan Times.
- Hibakusha Stories "Initiative of Youth Arts New York in partnership with Peace Boat, the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, and New York Theatre Workshop."
- A-Bomb Survivors: Women Speak Out for Peace - Online DVD Testimonies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Hibakusha with subtitles in 6 different languages.