I saw, or rather felt, an enormous bluish white flash of light, as when a photographer lights a dish of magnesium. Off to my right, the sky split open over the city of Hiroshima.
-Ogura Toyofumi, Letters from the End of the World
As of March 2009 there were 235,000 hibakusha (A-bomb survivors) in Japan who, like Ogura, lived through the A-bomb, including some 73,000 still living in Hiroshima. Ogura’s poignant account – a series of letters penned to his dead wife in the immediate aftermath of the war – stands alongside many others, including the videotaped testimonies of survivors, which can be viewed at the Peace Museum.
Through the museum it’s also possible to meet a hibakusha. To do this you need to make a request in writing to the Heiwa Bunka Centre (t 082/241-4004, w www.pcf.city.hiroshima.jp/hpcf), stating the dates you’d prefer and whether you’ll need an interpreter. You’ll be asked to cover their taxi costs. The World Friendship Centre also arranges meetings and occasionally hosts discussions with experts and visiting scholars.