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Nansei Hibakusha 何世被爆者・被曝者

  1. What is Nansei Hibakusha?

Nansei Hibakusha is a group for people who have either directly experienced or who are descendants of people who have experienced the perils of nuclear weapons or nuclear radiation.

  1. What does the name of the group mean?

The term “Nansei/何世” is a Japanese word that refers to the question of which generation (“-sei/世”) removed one is from the experiences of having been exposed to either nuclear weapons or nuclear radiation.  For example, someone who was directly exposed to the nuclear bombs in Hiroshima or Nagasaki would be considered an “Issei,” or first-generation survivor of the bombs.  Their children would be considered to be “Nisei,” or second-generation survivors of the bombs.

The term “Hibakusha/被爆者・被曝者” is a Japanese word that refers to a person who has been exposed to either nuclear weapons or nuclear radiation.  When written in Japanese kanji, slightly different kanji are used depending on whether one was a survivor of nuclear weapons (被爆者) or whether one was exposed to nuclear radiation (被曝者).

Both terms taken together describe what generation one is in relation to the direct experience of having been exposed to nuclear weapons or nuclear radiation.

In this sense, taken together, both terms can also be understood as a question – Nansei hibakusha desu ka? (何世被爆者・被曝者ですか), to ask somewhat colloquially “What generation hibakusha are you?”  In a certain sense, our group considers all of humanity to be hibakusha, since we have all been affected by the continuing threat of nuclear weapons and nuclear radiation.  That said, we would like to suggest that this question can also be interpreted as meaning “(For) how many (more) generations (will we have to deal with) being survivors of nuclear weapons and nuclear radiation?”  In other words, “How long will we as human beings continue to let nuclear weapons and nuclear radiation affect us and future generations?”

  1. What is the purpose of this group?

It has now been 69 years since the first use of nuclear weapons on a civilian population in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If we consider each new generation as coming into existence every 25 years, we are currently in the middle of the fourth generation since those fateful days in 1945 (1945+25+25+19=2014).  Much time has gone by and many of the people who had initially been exposed to the nuclear weapons and nuclear radiation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki have passed away.  In the aftermath of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in 2011, this group’s mission is to develop a new voice of opposition to nuclear weapons and nuclear radiation.  While focusing largely on Japan and the United States, this group hopes to bring together the voices of all the people around the world who have been affected by these issues.

 

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