8 Août 2017
August 6, 2017
1961 photo book, a ‘revenge’ by atomic bomb survivor, returns
By KAZUMASA NISHIOKA/ Staff Writer
A photo book that features powerful images depicting the anguish of an atomic bomb survivor affected by radiation has been reprinted for the first time in 56 years.
“Pika Don: Aru Genbaku Hisaisha no Kiroku” (Atomic bomb: Records of one atomic bomb survivor), published in 1961, is the first photo collection of Kikujiro Fukushima (1921-2015).
The onomatopoeia “pika” refers to the brilliant flash as the atomic bomb exploded, and the “don” represents the deafening noise that followed.
In the early 1950s, Sugimatsu Nakamura, an atomic bomb survivor in Hiroshima, asked Fukushima to take photographs of him, saying, “Help me take my revenge (on the A-bomb.)”
The collection of about a hundred photographs includes heart-wrenching and shocking images. One shows Nakamura fainting in agony due to a stroke caused by atomic-bomb disease. Another looks at scars on his body left by suicide attempts in desperate hopes to escape from his anguish.
Through the power of photography, Fukushima exposed the harsh reality of the relief measures hibakusha received, such as poor medical support and meager social benefits.
“No single problem has been solved (in postwar Japan),” Fukushima said in his later years. “That is because the lines where the responsibility lie have been blurred (by the nation and its people).”
Fukushima, who is from Kudamatsu, Yamaguchi Prefecture, took photographs of Nakamura for about 10 years.
Nakamura, whose wife was deceased, was also suffering from poverty as he struggled to raise six children. He died in the late 1960s.
The photo collection was the starting point of Fukushima's career as a photojournalist, and he went on to document such themes as the anti-establishment movement, the Self-Defense Forces and the defense industry.
Mika Masada, 56, an editor of Fukkan.com Ltd., an online service that republishes books, was behind the reprint in June.
“It is a photo book that meets the needs of the times,” Masada said, adding that she was shown Fukushima's maiden work by a friend.
“Pika Don: Aru Genbaku Hisaisha no Kiroku” is priced at 5,000 yen ($45), excluding tax.