by Caren Stelson
On August 9, 1945, the Japanese city of Nagasaki was devastated by an atomic bomb. Six-year-old Sachiko Yasui was playing near her house, within 0.6 miles of the hypocenter. Miraculously, she survived, as did most of the rest of her family – father, mother, uncle, sister Misa, and brothers Aki and Ichiro. Two-year-old Toshi was killed. Within weeks, radiation sickness had claimed the lives of her uncle and brothers. In the years that followed, cancer would strike Sachiko’s remaining family, including herself. Sachiko became the sole survivor.
For five decades after the bombing, Sachiko couldn’t speak about her experiences. The trauma she endured and continues to endure would be unbearable for many people. Yet her story is so important to the promotion of peace and nuclear disarmament.
Sensitive, heart-rending, and unforgettable.