A Warning from the Ashes
A Japanese-Austrian correspondence through which the heart of Hiroshima lives on.
6th August 1945 – in an instant, a lively commercial city was transformed into a nuclear desert. What exactly had happened? What was to come?
The Austrian journalist Robert Jungk felt an urgent need to document the voices of the survivors of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima so as to leave an eternal warning for coming generations. On his first visit to Hiroshima in 1957, he saw people busily engaged in reviving the city and striving to re-establish their lives despite great grief, uncertainty and fear of the afftereffects, which were still unclear at the time.
A Japanese interpreter named Ogura Kaoru supported him not only during his visit, but also afterwards through painstaking research, in which he documented the social circumstances of the time, reporting them to Jungk in 213 letters.
This close collaboration and the resulting deep friendship between two people from Austria and Japan pursuing the same goal, produced the book Children of the Ashes. It should always remind us of the enormous importance of peace and the work towards it.
Text: Yoshie Kagawa
Grew up in Hiroshima, living in Vienna since 1992. After years of professional experience, studying now Japanese Studies since 2017. Making use of her insider and outsider perspective for translation work and Japan research.