Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bells of Nagasaki

I chose to read this as part of the Japanese Reading Challenge because on my first and only visit to Japan, visiting Nagasaki was an immensely moving and life changing event. Growing up in Australia in the 70-80's was fun and carefree, mostly. If you are of this generation, you were probably not privy to an education about what happened in other countries, and especially not what happened in wars. I knew nothing about the bombs in Japan. In fact I'm rather embarrassed to say, when planning for the trip to Japan last year, I didn't even know about Nagasaki, and didn't realise that Hiroshima was in Japan. I am clearly on a new learning path.

One of my blogging friends has written a great summary of the book, so I dont feel the need to do that here. However, I do need to reflect on my experience of reading this story - a true story.
Nagasaki is now a large, beautiful city. You can see in this picture the mountains and river, as the author refers to in his description of events following the bombing. As I read his memories, I was able to picture so much of what he described - not only beacuse I have been there, but because he draws the picture so vividly. He talks about the unexpectedness of the bombing, his surprise when he discovered the atomic bomb had been invented and used, and his experiences as both victim of the bomb, and carer to other victims.
Nagasaki Peace Park is as an amazing place to visit, as this book is to read. They both describe the horror that occurred to the people of Nagasaki, Japan, and provide an insight into the amazing gracefulness of the Japanese People, who say - let this be a lesson to the world and an eternal request for Global Peace.

Nagai wrote: Men and women of the world, never again plan war! With this atomic bomb, war can only mean suicide for the human race. From this atomic wast the people of Nagasaki confront the world and cry out: Now more war! Let us follow the commandment of love and work together. the people of Nagasaki prostrate themselves before God and pray: Grant that Nagasaki may be the last atomic wilderness in the history of the world.... the Bells continue to ring.

May these prayers be heard.

1 comment:

Robin said...

Your photos of Nagasaki are beautiful and so interesting to see after reading the book! The book was such a powerful and moving experience. I, too, didn't know much about the bombing of Nagasaki before I read it. I think it's one of the most powerful books I've ever read. I join you in hoping that his prayers for global peace may be heard. Thanks for the link to my review.