31 July 2012 — A new website, www.hiroshima-nagasaki.com, will make available new testimonies of atomic bomb survivors living in the Americas. The official launch of the site is on 6 August, 2012, to coincide with the sixty-seventh anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.
This initiative is part of the Secretary-General’s commitment to help preserve and disseminate the testimonies of the atomic bomb survivors, known as Hibakusha, to ensure that their stories are available for generations to come. Mr. Ban made this commitment to forge partnerships with Governments and organizations during his visit to Japan in 2010 as the first Secretary-General to attend the peace ceremonies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The new website is a collaboration between the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and Japanese artist and director Shinpei Takeda, who has travelled the Americas and collected more than 60 interviews with survivors who emigrated there from Japan in the years following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima or Nagasaki in 1945. The new website is based on the film Hiroshima Nagasaki Download, which is a 73-minute feature documentary that highlights his journey through the Americas in an attempt to “download” this important piece of history.
The Hibakusha are now mainly in their eighties or even older. The website aims to universalize the human stories of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The testimonies form an historical legacy that is also a clarion call for promoting peace and for securing a world free of nuclear weapons. While people often associate disarmament with negotiations of treaties, it is important to highlight the human dimensions that seeks the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction.
In order to reach out to a wider audience, the 12 testimonies that are on the new website are being translated into 10 languages — the six official United Nations languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian, plus Italian, Korean, German and Portuguese. The translations are done in partnership with the Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, whereby students and faculty have generously donated their time for this purpose.
The entire unedited archive of more than 60 interviews of these survivors living in the Americas will be launched from Michigan State University’s Vincent Voice Library on 6 August.