Learning from Hiroshima and Nagasaki

August 8, 2019
Masako Toki

Learning from Hiroshima and Nagasaki: The Path to Nuclear Disarmament

Peace Monument Group Photo in Japan by Masako Toki

Students from Japan, Russian, and the US at the Peace Monument, Nagasaki | Click for full screen

The following is an excerpt of an article published in Impakter.

“Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki” — a familiar phrase.  But are we really making enough efforts to truly remember what happened on August 6th and August 9th of 1945? Are we actively learning what happened in those two cities obliterated by an atomic bomb, and the unspeakable suffering that Hibakusha have endured?


We should never forget what nuclear weapons can do to human beings, and Hibakusha’s stories must be remembered. Seventy-four years later since the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the threat of nuclear weapons still remains.

This year’s atomic bombing memorial days came amidst a deteriorating global security environment surrounding nuclear weapons issues. Nuclear disarmament is at a standstill, while uncertainty and backlash over prospects for achieving a world free of nuclear weapons intensify. The 1987 landmark nuclear arms control treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) between the United States and Russia expired on August 2nd of this year. The Cold War-era treaty prohibited both countries from possessing, testing, and deploying ground-based ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500-5,500 km (310-3,400 miles). The INF treaty was an essential pillar of nuclear disarmament. Today, the risk of nuclear war is higher than generally perceived. However, public concerns about nuclear threats has declined significantly since the Cold War, and apathy is prevailing despite increasing nuclear risks.


When I bring Russian, Japanese, and American students to our Critical Issues Forum (CIF) — our international conference in Monterey, CA — they learn more than just about the horrors of nuclear war. The cross-cultural and cross-generational experience of disarmament education imbues them with the knowledge, compassion, and determination that we need to progress in beating back the seventy-four-year-old threat of nuclear weapons. Disarmament education can also contribute to cultivating empathy among young generations.

The peace that will save us will not be wrought from “fire and fury,” but through – as late Nagasaki Hibakusha Katsuji Yoshida once said — “understanding the pain of others.”

Continue reading at Impakter.

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