Becoming Hibakusha: Tales of Shame, Pride, Love and Loss
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“Becoming Hibakusha” is a compilation of short stories about hibakusha experiences in Hiroshima after World War II. Hibakusha is the Japanese term for the “survivors of the bomb” and thus, they exist as an ostracized segment of Japanese society. Dedicated to examining the contentious and oftentimes ambiguous position hibakusha filled in Japanese society after the war and the horrific suffering inflicted by humanity’s first use of nuclear weapons, “Becoming Hibakusha” explores the lives of Ito Katsu, a major in the 2nd General Army, Tanaka Isamu, a newspaper journalist in the 1960s, and Watanabe Ichiko, a music store manager in the 1960s, whose lives have all been irrevocably diverted due to the dropping of the bomb in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Despite incomprehensible tragedy, incessant health issues, and an uncertain status in Japanese society, each character struggles to eke out an existence worthy of living. Katsu finds solace and pride in sharing his experiences, while Isamu and Ichiko find acceptance and a place to call home in each other’s love.