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The late Dr. Michihiko Hachiya was director of the Hiroshima Communications Hospital when the world's first atomic bomb was dropped on the city. Though his responsibilities in the appalling chaos of a devastated city were awesome, he found time to record the story daily, with compassion and tenderness. His compelling diary was originally published by the UNC Press in 1955, The late Dr. Michihiko Hachiya was director of the Hiroshima Communications Hospital when the world's first atomic bomb was dropped on the city. Though his responsibilities in the appalling chaos of a devastated city were awesome, he found time to record the story daily, with compassion and tenderness. His compelling diary was originally published by the UNC Press in 1955, with the help of Dr. Warner Wells of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who was a surgical consultant to the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission and who became a friend of Dr. Hachiya. In a new foreword, John Dower reflects on the enduring importance of the diary fifty years after the bombing.


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The late Dr. Michihiko Hachiya was director of the Hiroshima Communications Hospital when the world's first atomic bomb was dropped on the city. Though his responsibilities in the appalling chaos of a devastated city were awesome, he found time to record the story daily, with compassion and tenderness. His compelling diary was originally published by the UNC Press in 1955, The late Dr. Michihiko Hachiya was director of the Hiroshima Communications Hospital when the world's first atomic bomb was dropped on the city. Though his responsibilities in the appalling chaos of a devastated city were awesome, he found time to record the story daily, with compassion and tenderness. His compelling diary was originally published by the UNC Press in 1955, with the help of Dr. Warner Wells of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who was a surgical consultant to the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission and who became a friend of Dr. Hachiya. In a new foreword, John Dower reflects on the enduring importance of the diary fifty years after the bombing.

30 review for Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician, August 6-September 30, 1945

  1. 4 out of 5

    Petra is slightly on hiatus doing bookshop work

    After the bombing of Hiroshima, the author acting as both a doctor and patient in a hospital now devoted to the victims of radiation sickness decided to keep a diary. it was a personal diary, not one written with an eye to publication. The attitude of the Japanese to being bombed was one I could not have imagined. Within a few days there was the "news" that Japan had used nuclear bombs on the West Coast of America, and the cities were destroyed and that the people were either killed or suffering After the bombing of Hiroshima, the author acting as both a doctor and patient in a hospital now devoted to the victims of radiation sickness decided to keep a diary. it was a personal diary, not one written with an eye to publication. The attitude of the Japanese to being bombed was one I could not have imagined. Within a few days there was the "news" that Japan had used nuclear bombs on the West Coast of America, and the cities were destroyed and that the people were either killed or suffering. This cheered the patients in the hospital up immensely who wanted greater use of nuclear warheads against America. They were totally devastated up to and including suicide over the decision of the Emperor to cede victory and urged him to revenge their nation, even if they all died. Their thirst for revenge and anger at the Emperor were extreme. Possibly their main regret was that they hadn't done it first. I mentioned in the Notes on Reading that the author was an extreme misogynist. He felt that the rape of a girl by soldiers was her fault and that it would be best if women just stayed at home as when they were out they were too much of a temptation to some men. _________ Notes on reading and why I wrote this short review: I never felt sorry for the bombing of Dresden. Now I don't feel sorry for Hiroshima either. Why is it that the victors, if they have an organised military structure, are held to higher standards and blamed for atrocities when the losers and terrorist organisations are not? I really want to write a review of this book, explaining the above statement. The author is a very measured scientific man, but also a misogynist of the most extreme kind. _________ The book was excellent and very well written. The sufferings of the people as radiation sickness took hold, an illness never seen before so each symptom was new and unexpected, is terrible. Many died, but many recovered. They were civilians, just like the Germans, but they supported the war and the cruelty of their thoughts towards the enemy, the Allies knew no bounds.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    The title of Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician, August 6-September 30, 1945 makes clear the book’s content. The Japanese physician, Michihiko Hachiya, is the book’s author. He has written in daily diary entries what exactly he experienced and witnessed starting from August 6, 1945 at 8:15 in the morning through the fifty-five following days. Dr. Hachiya was director of the Hiroshima Communications Hospital. This hospital was located a mere 1500 meters from the hypocenter of th The title of Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician, August 6-September 30, 1945 makes clear the book’s content. The Japanese physician, Michihiko Hachiya, is the book’s author. He has written in daily diary entries what exactly he experienced and witnessed starting from August 6, 1945 at 8:15 in the morning through the fifty-five following days. Dr. Hachiya was director of the Hiroshima Communications Hospital. This hospital was located a mere 1500 meters from the hypocenter of the bomb. Dr. Hachiya writes in the fashion of the academic, physician and director that he was. A Buddhist and devout Japanese at heart. He writes in a straightforward manner. He relates what he observed with little emotion--despite the fact that he had lost all his possessions, his house had crumbled, his wife was badly burned, and his own life hung in the balance. Beside the deaths, chaos, trauma and physical wounds that occurred at the bomb’s impact, there followed the frightening symptoms of radiation sickness that were at this time not understood. Imagine being in his shoes. Think about this. This book depicts vividly what many in Hiroshima experienced. It puts you right there. You are given an eyewitness account. Despite its straightforwardness, or maybe because of its straightforwardness, the reader is shaken. There is an immediacy to the prose. Even if the book does not contain new information to those who have read of the bombing of Hiroshima before, it is well worth reading. One is struck by how individuals are shaped by the culture and the society to which they belong. The Japanese people’s devotion to and adoration of their emperor is hard for a westerner to fully comprehend. The book goes a long way in illustrating the depth of their devotion. One observes the excuses made and the explanations constructed to hold on to one’s national and cultural beliefs. The audiobook is narrated by Robertson Dean. The narration I have given four stars. It is clear, simple to follow and read at an appropriate speed. Reading this book one gets uncomfortably close to the individuals there at the bombing of Hiroshima. This is a difficult read but definitely worth the time and effort spent. Don’t miss this book. ************************ *Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician, August 6-September 30, 1945 by Michihiko Hachiya 4 stars *Hiroshima by John Hersey 3 stars *Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story by Caren Stelson 3 stars *The Bells of Nagasaki by Takashi Nagai 2 stars *Hiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath by Paul Ham TBR *Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard TBR *The Last Train from Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back by Charles Pellegrino TBR

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    (two tags that never go together - or do they?) This book's the perfect example of my criteria for five-starring something. Not only has it helped me decide that I'm a pacifist (a standpoint I'm still pondering) but the second half of the book is a medical mystery, which I was not expecting at all. In 1945 there was very little understanding of radiation poisoning, but Dr. Hachiya's friends and co-workers were dying around him from the aftereffects of the bomb. Not only did he and his diary survi (two tags that never go together - or do they?) This book's the perfect example of my criteria for five-starring something. Not only has it helped me decide that I'm a pacifist (a standpoint I'm still pondering) but the second half of the book is a medical mystery, which I was not expecting at all. In 1945 there was very little understanding of radiation poisoning, but Dr. Hachiya's friends and co-workers were dying around him from the aftereffects of the bomb. Not only did he and his diary survive, but he lived for decades afterwards ... and Hiroshima, of course, rose from the ashes. Even so, some acts committed by my country shame me, regardless of the ends achieved.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Smiley

    This book “Hiroshima Diary” is the journal of a Japanese physician, Michihiko Hachiya, M.D., who has witnessed and recorded his plights and descriptions on the aftermath of the first atomic bomb from August 6 - September 30, 1945. I think those readers having read a Japanese novel “Black Rain” (Kodansha, 2012) by Masuji Ibuse could not help comparing with it; however, Dr. Hachiya has written in his journal like a true academic, in other words, he has recorded everything as a matter of facts, rat This book “Hiroshima Diary” is the journal of a Japanese physician, Michihiko Hachiya, M.D., who has witnessed and recorded his plights and descriptions on the aftermath of the first atomic bomb from August 6 - September 30, 1945. I think those readers having read a Japanese novel “Black Rain” (Kodansha, 2012) by Masuji Ibuse could not help comparing with it; however, Dr. Hachiya has written in his journal like a true academic, in other words, he has recorded everything as a matter of facts, rather than emotions, as we can see from his account on the unimaginably devastating explosion impact by the atomic bomb at 8.15 a.m. on August 6, 1945 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hiroshima): Suddenly, a strong flash of light startled me – and then another. So well does one recall little things that I remember vividly how a stone lantern in the garden became brilliantly lit and I debated whether this light was caused by a magnesium flare or sparks from a passing trolley. Garden shadows disappeared. The view where a moment before all had been so bright and sunny was now dark and hazy. Through swirling dust I could barely discern a wooden column that had supported one corner of my house. It was leaning crazily and the roof sagged dangerously. … (p. 1) Unthinkably tinged with a chilling horror beyond words, this is not from any sci-fi novel but from Dr. Hachiya’s unfortunate fate as reflected by his first-hand account in which we should realize and keep in mind since the explosion did not only cause injury and but also radiation sickness which definitely claimed lives, sooner or later, according to its radioactive intensity. Nine days later, his entry on August 15 has revealed the scene and how the victims at the Hiroshima Communications Hospital reacted to the historic radio broadcast from the Emperor: Word came to assemble in the office of the Communications Bureau. A radio had been set up and when I arrived the room was already crowded. I leaned against the entrance and waited. In a few minutes, the radio began to hum and crackle with noisy static. One could hear an indistinct voice which only now and then came through clearly. I caught only one phrase which sounded something like, “Bear the unbearable.” The static ceased and the broadcast was at an end. … I had been prepared for the broadcast to tell us to dig in and fight to the end, but this unexpected message left me stunned. It had been the Emperor’s voice and he had read the Imperial Proclamation of Surrender! My psychic apparatus stopped working, and my tear glands stopped, too. Like others in the room, I had come to attention at the mention of the Emperor’s voice, and for a while we all remained silent and at attention. Darkness clouded my eyes, my teeth chattered, and I felt cold sweat running down my back. … The ward was quiet and silence reigned for a long time. Finally, the silence was broken by the sound of weeping. I looked around. There was no look of gallantry here, but rather, the faces of all showed expressions of despair and desperation. By degree people began to whisper and then to talk in low voices until, out of the blue sky, someone shouted: “How can we lose the war!” Following this outburst, expressions of anger were unleashed. “Only a coward would back out now!” “There is a limit to deceiving us!” “I would rather die than be defeated!” … (pp. 81-82)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician August 6 -September 30, 1945 [1955] - ★★★★1/2 "Hiroshima was no longer a city, but a burnt-over prairie. To the east and to the west everything was flattered" [Hachiya/Wells, 1955: 8]. This book is a diary of a Japanese physician as he recounts his and others' daily movements, thoughts and feelings from the moment a nuclear bomb fell on his city Hiroshima, Japan on 6 August 1945. Often, this is a distressing and heart-breaking account of human Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician August 6 -September 30, 1945 [1955] - ★★★★1/2 "Hiroshima was no longer a city, but a burnt-over prairie. To the east and to the west everything was flattered" [Hachiya/Wells, 1955: 8]. This book is a diary of a Japanese physician as he recounts his and others' daily movements, thoughts and feelings from the moment a nuclear bomb fell on his city Hiroshima, Japan on 6 August 1945. Often, this is a distressing and heart-breaking account of human suffering and pain as the physician Hachiya tries to make sense of the bewildering symptoms of others: "people were dying so fast that I had began to accept death as a matter of course and ceased to respect its awfulness. I considered a family lucky if it had not lost more than two of its members" [Hachiya/Wells, 1955: 29], writes the doctor. When seemingly uninjured people started to develop strange symptoms, such as haemorrhages, and die one by one, Hachiya was one of the first to raise the alarm and point to some radiation sickness. This is an important anti-war book about the savagery, meaningless and devastation caused by a war, and especially about the horrific impact of a nuclear bomb, which can persist generations and affect the most innocent (such as the still-to-be-born).

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Alex Wellerstein is a historian of science and nuclear technology. He is a professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. He said, "the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was the equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT — powerful enough to kill around 300,000 people in midtown Manhattan." He has developed a NUKEMAP which enables users to model the explosion of nuclear weapons (contemporary, historical, or of any given arbitrary yield) on virtually any terrain and at virtually an Alex Wellerstein is a historian of science and nuclear technology. He is a professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. He said, "the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was the equivalent of 15,000 tons of TNT — powerful enough to kill around 300,000 people in midtown Manhattan." He has developed a NUKEMAP which enables users to model the explosion of nuclear weapons (contemporary, historical, or of any given arbitrary yield) on virtually any terrain and at virtually any altitude of their choice. If you go to https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/ check this out. It will enable the user to detonate and see how his/her city would have been effected by the Hiroshima atomic bomb verses how it would be effected using modern more deadly atomic weapons. Pretty scary stuff when you think of the stronger potent atomic bombs that have been developed since Hiroshima. This book was written after the atomic bomb detonated killing so many people in Hiroshima. Dr Hachiya has no idea what an atomic bomb is all he knows is that whatever fell is having sever consequences. The forward to the book makes note of the fact that Dr. Michihiko Hachiya is recording observations of radiation sickness without knowing what is was. He tries to hypothesize what could be causing the symptoms not knowing that it was a nuclear bomb that fell. As time goes on he realizes that a nuclear bomb has been detonated. Everyday from August 6 to September 30 1945 Dr. Hachiya records the effects of nuclear radiation on the people of Hiroshima and it will make an impression on you. These deaths and what is recorded is not light reading. Those that survive may not be recognizable. The details are graphic and the everyday accounts in this diary of this destruction are unbelievable. It is a very well documented account of what happens when man uses nuclear weapons.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael Havens

    Here is one of those unusual times when I'm not sure how to approach as subject, much less write a book review on. It's kind of like the times when in high school, I was asked to write an essay on a novel , and found myself rather at a loss or loath to write about it, not because I had nothing to say (and to those who know me know that I very rarely am at a loss for words, but that the novel had something so profound to talk about, I felt that it would serve and memorialize the work better by h Here is one of those unusual times when I'm not sure how to approach as subject, much less write a book review on. It's kind of like the times when in high school, I was asked to write an essay on a novel , and found myself rather at a loss or loath to write about it, not because I had nothing to say (and to those who know me know that I very rarely am at a loss for words, but that the novel had something so profound to talk about, I felt that it would serve and memorialize the work better by having others in the class talk about it. I was so interested in hearing what others had to say about it. This would happen to me with the work, 'Of Mice and Men'. Likewise, I find it difficult to approach this excellent diary about an event so ingrained still into our imaginations and fears to this day, namely, the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, and by extension, the subsequent bombing of Nagasaki, the numerous testing on bigger bombs, the cousin of the atom bomb, the Hydrogen bomb, and the effect on the psyche and culture of the Cold War and beyond. 'Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician, August 6-September 30, 1945', the fifty year edition by the late Michihiko Hachiya, M.D. ' Partly because it is in some ways a medical journal into the lives of actual patients, not the least of these is doctor Hachiya himself, and partly because no matter the insight, no matter the testimony about that awful August morning, there is for certain, a desire by me not to sensationalize the suffering and tragedy that is August 6th, 1945. There is also a desire to respect, by keeping in tact, and not extricating text because of the awe and explicable feelings I may have to any one individual's story, but to respect their narrative without interruption. But what we do have in this work is nearly the hypocenter of the blast which killed between 90,000-166,000 people. Dr. Hachiya lived very close to the hospital where he worked. The Hiroshima Communications Hospital was only about a mile away from the hypocenter, and close enough that his testimony and the variety of the patients, family, workers, and fiends are good enough for us to witness from a focused lens, the devastation, violence, and degradation one bomb had on a community. I would strongly urge readers not to pass up the introduction. There is a lot of valuable information about the times with which Dr. Hachiya found himself in, as well as the attitudes, told without embellishment (as you will find n the work itself) from both sides of the Pacific, as well as the socio-political, psychological re-evaluation and changes some Japanese, not the least Dr. Hachiya himself, had to face. It's also important, as mentioned as well in the introduction, of what 'Hiroshima Diary' was not meant for, namely, public consumption. This was meant to sometimes be a guide to his rounds and what medical and mental issues his patients had. And sometimes to be his own struggles with despair, degradation, and restoration, not only to the benefit to his own person, but like many “hibakusha” (survivors of the atomic bomb), moved as one social and cultural group into a sense of “wholeness” (not to be mistaken for closure, as sadly for many of them and the preceding generation, were not afforded that luxury, but within and without Japan). It is also important to keep in mind that while this work does have a definitive chronology, the work speaks more as a tapestry, little patches that work up to the complete picture. Like most eyewitness accounts of this kind, one can only expect that. The value comes in the real human factor behind Hachiya's writing, not much dissimilar to some of the great works of the Japanese “I-novels”, that style of fiction which emulates a pseudo-autobiography with the intent that the details in the narrative are not embellished on, but left as it were, without overdue moralization or narrative speculation, so popular with much of western literature. If we seem to seethe with indignity with Dr. Hachiya, or disagree with his occasional prejudices, ourselves overcome with an internal “seething” of our own, it is proper, for human conflict and emotions are the balance between civility and hostility, of which war is the worse kind. While following his eyes, do we in some way follow our own inner eye at ourselves. This is the value such remembrances have to the historical record. As I said above, this work should not be read for the purposes of sensationalism. We only have to go to our movie theaters today to get million dollar sets to be blown up for the public's new arena addiction. This should be read in the way it was intended, as a human account, as apposed to a personal account. This is not documentation of the theoretical, it is the face of one man, driven to take care of his patients, deal with his own conflicts, and find a peace within a living hell, an unprecedented hell.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Indi Martin

    This is a very difficult book for Americans, I think. It doesn't point any fingers of guilt, it is simply a journal, written as it happened, by a doctor who happened to be very close to the epicenter of the Hiroshima bomb. Lucky to survive at all, this journal is priceless for the descriptions of what ground zero actually looked like, the symptoms of radiation sickness before anyone knew what that was, exactly. The confusion following the bomb. From a medical standpoint (which is largely what it This is a very difficult book for Americans, I think. It doesn't point any fingers of guilt, it is simply a journal, written as it happened, by a doctor who happened to be very close to the epicenter of the Hiroshima bomb. Lucky to survive at all, this journal is priceless for the descriptions of what ground zero actually looked like, the symptoms of radiation sickness before anyone knew what that was, exactly. The confusion following the bomb. From a medical standpoint (which is largely what it is written in), it is brilliant and intriguing. From a human standpoint, it is devastating and difficult. This is, in my estimation, one of those books that everyone should read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    ^

    The translator, Warner Wells, emphasises his guiding determination to ‘preserve the balance, simplicity, and quality of values Dr Hachiya achieved in his own tongue.” A remarkable sense of proportion, of calm rational observation, has been achieved by both author and translator of this record of a remarkable 56 days. Dr Hachiya’s observations are many and various, and are made the more interesting because he doesn’t only concentrate on the side of recording what is of (considerable) medical inte The translator, Warner Wells, emphasises his guiding determination to ‘preserve the balance, simplicity, and quality of values Dr Hachiya achieved in his own tongue.” A remarkable sense of proportion, of calm rational observation, has been achieved by both author and translator of this record of a remarkable 56 days. Dr Hachiya’s observations are many and various, and are made the more interesting because he doesn’t only concentrate on the side of recording what is of (considerable) medical interest. I learnt about the many and various reactions of the Emperor’s subjects to his forced abdication, of fears of rampant currency inflation, of the demoralisation of the Japanese Army. Through Dr Hachiya’s disparaging words I gained an insight into the shocking culture of the Japanese Army officer class that had made them the inhuman brutes who tortured and killed so many Allied POWs. On the other hand, Dr Hachiya begins his diary each day with a note of the weather: “Another hot day” (14 August 1945.). “Drizzling rain” (2 September 1945). I looked out of the window, and contemplated the constant uncertainty that British weather tests me with. Particularly this year; the wettest for a century. Dr Hachiya, is not bitter, he does not rage, shout, or condemn. As a result, I found it increasingly difficult to lay this book aside and return to the present day. Though of a desperate sorrow, the pulse of a quiet, practical, serenity lives within and brings life to the pages of this book. I was almost caught off guard when Dr Hachiya wryly confessed personal liberation, almost darkly humourous; when explaining that, “Having lost everything in the fire and being now empty-handed was not entirely without advantage. I experienced a certain light-heartedness I had not known for a long time.”(p.76). For the first time I sense that I have gained something of a deeper understanding of the terrible fear engendered by the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, to a generation to whom the human and economic devastation wreaked by the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was as yet within such unspeakably painfully recent living memory. As that living memory dies out in old age, Dr Hachiya’s diary can only become ever more important to humanity: but are we prepared to change the overriding values of our Western societies to lend practical assistance to our fellow man (and woman) with quite the sense of instinctive, practical, knowledgeable, subservient devotion that Dr Hachiya and his fellow medical staff demonstrated? Whether we are farmers, scientists, bankers, public ‘servants’, or whatever, he, and they, are a lasting inspiration to us all.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I loved this book. It’s a truly interesting story, documenting both Hachiya’s experiences and the tales told to him by other survivors. It covers an extremely difficult time in Japanese history, as the war draws to a close and American soldiers arrive on their beaches. Hachiya is also one of the doctors who first examined the effects of radiation sickness. I was fascinated as much by the doctors figuring out their patients’ strange symptoms as I was moved that innocent people suffer so much pain I loved this book. It’s a truly interesting story, documenting both Hachiya’s experiences and the tales told to him by other survivors. It covers an extremely difficult time in Japanese history, as the war draws to a close and American soldiers arrive on their beaches. Hachiya is also one of the doctors who first examined the effects of radiation sickness. I was fascinated as much by the doctors figuring out their patients’ strange symptoms as I was moved that innocent people suffer so much pain during war. Full review on my blog: https://madamewriterblog.com/2019/03/...

  11. 5 out of 5

    William

    We've all read John Hersey's 1946 book Hiroshima. (What? You haven't? Well, just drop everything and do it--now. Yes, it's that good and that valuable.) Now where was I? Oh yes, I was about to ask why, if one has already read Hersey's historically accurate account of the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, one should now read Hiroshima Diary by Michihiko Hachiya. The answer is that Hachiya's is a first-person account by one who experienced the bombing and who, despite h We've all read John Hersey's 1946 book Hiroshima. (What? You haven't? Well, just drop everything and do it--now. Yes, it's that good and that valuable.) Now where was I? Oh yes, I was about to ask why, if one has already read Hersey's historically accurate account of the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945, one should now read Hiroshima Diary by Michihiko Hachiya. The answer is that Hachiya's is a first-person account by one who experienced the bombing and who, despite his own injuries, worked as a medical professional in the ruins of one Hiroshima hospital in the attempt to help other victims. Something, however, was very wrong. Beyond the burned skin, broken bones, and severe lacerations caused by exploding glass windows and collapsing roofs, patients experienced nausea, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea, and conventional treatment seemed to have no effect. The injured died. Then things became worse. People who had apparently escaped any injury at all began to come into the hospital with subcutaneous hemorrhaging and hair loss, and many of those also died. The doctors had never before encountered radiation poisoning. Beyond the medical situation, Dr. Hachiya records his challenges with infrastructure breakdown, the dissolution of civil order, and the trauma of having one's social and cultural realities shattered. Hachiya's home had vanished, consumed by the flames that followed the pikadon. He and so many others had no place to shelter but at the hospital, into which wind and rain poured through twisted, glassless window frames. Outside the walls, fires burned, built deliberately to cremate the ever-growing supply of bodies. Wind spread the odors throughout the building. Human excrement accumulated around the entrances, and outdoor latrines bred relentless armies of flies. The descriptive writing in Hiroshima Diary is effective and indicative of a learned and skillful writer. Actually, it indicates a multiplicity of effective writers. The effort, obviously, begins with Dr. Hachiya himself and is continued by his translators, one a medical doctor and the other a linguist skilled in both Japanese and English. Some works may lose meaningful nuances through the act of translation, but not so Hiroshima Diary. Simply put, I found it extremely well written, and I felt that I had come to know Dr. Hachiya quite well by the end of his diary, and I was sorry when I had to bid him sayōnara. I value this book not so much because it adds to some great literary canon and certainly not because it left me with a happy, upbeat feeling, but because it opened a door to a greater understanding of human response to an almost unimaginable catastrophe. There are no “enemies” or “allies” in Hiroshima Diary; there are only people reacting to unprecedented events that destroy their personal worlds and leave them adrift to aid others or to be aided, to help or to hinder, and to survive or to die.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Julie Herringa Cirone

    This was beautifully translated. At times it is a haunting memoir but it is threaded with hope and discovery. I would recommend it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ris Sasaki

    4.5 ⭐ I have absolutely no words to describe the importance and the effect that this book had on me. Just read it. That's all I have to say. 4.5 ⭐ I have absolutely no words to describe the importance and the effect that this book had on me. Just read it. That's all I have to say.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    A wonderful recollection of memories from one of the worst moments for mankind. A part of history we shouldn't forget, and must never repeat, told from within by the Director of a Hospital where many of the survivors later died due to the yet unknown effects of nuclear radiation. In spite of being a hospital's diary about such a terrible matter, the lecture is very entertaining, following the thoughts and investigations carried by all the workers and the few visitors that carried help and suppor A wonderful recollection of memories from one of the worst moments for mankind. A part of history we shouldn't forget, and must never repeat, told from within by the Director of a Hospital where many of the survivors later died due to the yet unknown effects of nuclear radiation. In spite of being a hospital's diary about such a terrible matter, the lecture is very entertaining, following the thoughts and investigations carried by all the workers and the few visitors that carried help and support, as well as some news from the rest of the world. A history of devastation and desperation that leaves the reader with the feeling that humans are good by nature (despite of the facts), and that human beings can do awesome things, and face any situation, with the help of hope and other people. A must-read for any kind of person.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Everyone should read this book! The atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. I had to constantly remind myself that this is a true story. The actual diary of a physician who was hurt himself and yet took care of thousands. This is different from anything else because he was on the other side of it. We only ever hear about it from the side of the USA. It’s heartbreaking.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mariko Kuga

    Reading this book during the covid pandemic is so chilling and uncomfortable. The way that the people of Hiroshima and the larger country of Japan endured through the catastrophic atomic bombing is nothing short of extraordinary. This history told through the eyes of Hachiya, a Japanese doctor, is so illuminating, painful, and yet touching. He has a calm and reflective tone despite constant uncertainty, and is very observant of what others are going through and their symptoms his teams try quick Reading this book during the covid pandemic is so chilling and uncomfortable. The way that the people of Hiroshima and the larger country of Japan endured through the catastrophic atomic bombing is nothing short of extraordinary. This history told through the eyes of Hachiya, a Japanese doctor, is so illuminating, painful, and yet touching. He has a calm and reflective tone despite constant uncertainty, and is very observant of what others are going through and their symptoms his teams try quickly to understand. It makes me so grateful that today we have mass communication available to us, because back them they could not transmit information to different communities, nor could they receive national updates either. This diary is a story of strength, perseverance, kindness, and the power of giving what you have to others who do not. Definitely a tough read at this time, but an important and powerful account nonetheless.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Abdulaziz Al-Mannai

    4.5/5 A diary of Dr Hachiya who survived Hiroshima and kept a daily journal writing everything that happened in his experience in the hospital of Hiroshima. He does a great job in describing what it's like being there at that time; People dying every day, broken buildings, no electricity and lack of daily necessities. The diary includes how they handled the situation of the patients with their lack of staff (half of the doctors in Hiroshima were either dead or lost), lack of experience regarding 4.5/5 A diary of Dr Hachiya who survived Hiroshima and kept a daily journal writing everything that happened in his experience in the hospital of Hiroshima. He does a great job in describing what it's like being there at that time; People dying every day, broken buildings, no electricity and lack of daily necessities. The diary includes how they handled the situation of the patients with their lack of staff (half of the doctors in Hiroshima were either dead or lost), lack of experience regarding their symptoms, their reaction to Japan's surrender in WW2 and so on. There are also many fascinating facts to know while listening to this, for example, they had no radios or newspapers the few weeks following the bombing, they were unconnected to the rest of the world and so for the time, they were unaware of what's going on outside of Hiroshima. Great book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Such an important book to read, as a Japanese physician writes in a journal while trying to understand what has happened to them and the effects it is causing to the people and their city. It is a fascinating journey and I highly recommend.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Vinicius

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. any one that likes WW2 and its legacy and history would like this it is a sad book so I don't suggest this book to people that don't like sad stories because the main character losses almost every one because of the Pika(A-bomb). any one that likes WW2 and its legacy and history would like this it is a sad book so I don't suggest this book to people that don't like sad stories because the main character losses almost every one because of the Pika(A-bomb).

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    While not an uplifting read, I think that this book is a cornerstone for anyone wanting to learn more about the real-life experience of World War 2. For anyone who lightly thinks about nuclear weapons or another full-scale war, this book promises to be a strong deterrent because of the descriptions of regular human suffering that it covers. The attack on Hiroshima hurt innocent people indiscriminately and after reading this book, it becomes highly questionable if the bomb was the right decision. While not an uplifting read, I think that this book is a cornerstone for anyone wanting to learn more about the real-life experience of World War 2. For anyone who lightly thinks about nuclear weapons or another full-scale war, this book promises to be a strong deterrent because of the descriptions of regular human suffering that it covers. The attack on Hiroshima hurt innocent people indiscriminately and after reading this book, it becomes highly questionable if the bomb was the right decision. I first read this book for a history class in college, and found it to be enlightening because throughout my secondary school education in the United States, there was only one perspective presented about Japan's role in World War 2. Here, we see from a primary source how one man encountered the destruction of his city and his responsibility for many who were injured in the aftermath. This book challenges commonly held perceptions about the Hiroshima bombing, and I believe that it is absolutely crucial for future politicians, military specialists, and diplomats to read. While not written in the most interesting language and often difficult to understand the medical terminology, this book takes a dedicated reader to really appreciate. Overall, I think that reading this book will inform my future visit to Hiroshima, Japan.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pancha

    For the most part, this was not as gruesome as Hiroshima. There are description of horrible burns and injuries, but from a doctor's point of view, so they are more clinical than trying to provoke an emotional response. It's also told from an interesting point of view: Dr. Hachiya was gravely injured by debris during the blast, and therefor stays in the hospital for most of the time the diary describes. He gets some second-hand descriptions of what is going on in greater Hiroshima, but for the mo For the most part, this was not as gruesome as Hiroshima. There are description of horrible burns and injuries, but from a doctor's point of view, so they are more clinical than trying to provoke an emotional response. It's also told from an interesting point of view: Dr. Hachiya was gravely injured by debris during the blast, and therefor stays in the hospital for most of the time the diary describes. He gets some second-hand descriptions of what is going on in greater Hiroshima, but for the most part the narrative focuses on he smaller world of the hospital and the doctors' attempts to understand radiation sickness (first thought to be dysentery). Dr. Hachiya also has a remarkably positive attitude throughout, although he is honest about his dark moments.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    Hunger games and harry potter resonate because kids/teens want a vehicle to explain reality. Well, their grandfather/great-grandfater woke up one morning, a single bomb called Fat Man floated down from the sky, exploded, and destroyed the house and the city around hm. He then spent the next several months, a doctor, at the local hospital, triaging folks who in their shock from 3rd degree burns and the beginnings of radiation poisoning might have welcomed Voldemart or Peeta as a benevolent altern Hunger games and harry potter resonate because kids/teens want a vehicle to explain reality. Well, their grandfather/great-grandfater woke up one morning, a single bomb called Fat Man floated down from the sky, exploded, and destroyed the house and the city around hm. He then spent the next several months, a doctor, at the local hospital, triaging folks who in their shock from 3rd degree burns and the beginnings of radiation poisoning might have welcomed Voldemart or Peeta as a benevolent alternative. Painful to read and unflinching in its description of the intersection of technology and the immense capacity of human suffering. The atomic bombing of hiroshima is part of the reason why today, young readers seek the literature of distopia for understanding.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie Robinson

    I watched a documentary about Japanese survivors of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I have been wanting to find books from that perspective. I ran across this on on accident on Audible, so I used my credit to get it. It is weird to say that I enjoyed this book, but I did. It kind of amazed me that the hospital that they used was still standing and somewhat functional. I cannot imagine how hard it was for medical professionals to treat something that they had no clue about. The radiat I watched a documentary about Japanese survivors of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I have been wanting to find books from that perspective. I ran across this on on accident on Audible, so I used my credit to get it. It is weird to say that I enjoyed this book, but I did. It kind of amazed me that the hospital that they used was still standing and somewhat functional. I cannot imagine how hard it was for medical professionals to treat something that they had no clue about. The radiation sickness is so torturous, I don't think I could bear it. So much was learned about the effects of radiation from this, that it has been beneficial for nuclear accidents and other exposures in the years since, but gosh. What a horrible thing.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Devastating first-hand account from a doctor of the immediate aftermath of a nuclear bomb. Gut-wrenching detail: "...I discovered that I had tripped over a man's head. Excuse me! Excuse me, please! I cried hysterically!" The doctor and his staff somehow manage to carry on, caring for the wounded, and those who do not appear to be wounded, until the effects of radiation begin to show. Not for the squeamish. This book, as some suggest, was not written as an anti-war manifesto. It's political messa Devastating first-hand account from a doctor of the immediate aftermath of a nuclear bomb. Gut-wrenching detail: "...I discovered that I had tripped over a man's head. Excuse me! Excuse me, please! I cried hysterically!" The doctor and his staff somehow manage to carry on, caring for the wounded, and those who do not appear to be wounded, until the effects of radiation begin to show. Not for the squeamish. This book, as some suggest, was not written as an anti-war manifesto. It's political message, if any, is subtle. As subtle as thousands of people slowly oozing bodily fluids from every pore can be, anyway.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael Phelps

    Okay. I understand that this book was a diary, not a novel. I understand it was written by a doctor, not a writer. I understand that it was hastily written in Japanese. I understand it was then translated into English by another doctor with the intent that the language would remain as close to literal translation as possible. I understand that to point out its numerous typos and punctuation errors is a lame thing to do. And I understand its subject matter is perhaps the most horrific example of Okay. I understand that this book was a diary, not a novel. I understand it was written by a doctor, not a writer. I understand that it was hastily written in Japanese. I understand it was then translated into English by another doctor with the intent that the language would remain as close to literal translation as possible. I understand that to point out its numerous typos and punctuation errors is a lame thing to do. And I understand its subject matter is perhaps the most horrific example of what humans have done to other humans. Therefore I can't rag too much on this book. I will simply say it is only moderately bad.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Fishface

    A grim and grisly, but very worthwhile read. Describes the day-by-day experiences of the director of a Hiroshima hospital starting from the day the US Army dropped the atomic bomb there. The translation and copyediting can be pretty frustrating at times, but it is not fatal to the reader's understanding or insight into the situation. A grim and grisly, but very worthwhile read. Describes the day-by-day experiences of the director of a Hiroshima hospital starting from the day the US Army dropped the atomic bomb there. The translation and copyediting can be pretty frustrating at times, but it is not fatal to the reader's understanding or insight into the situation.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Greg McGee

    Great follow up to Dan Carlin's Hard Core History Podcast "The Destroyer of Worlds" - podcast was a recommendation of Josh Brown (CEO Ritholtz Wealth Management - http://thereformedbroker.com/2017/08/...) Audiobook was free on the Hoopla app. Great follow up to Dan Carlin's Hard Core History Podcast "The Destroyer of Worlds" - podcast was a recommendation of Josh Brown (CEO Ritholtz Wealth Management - http://thereformedbroker.com/2017/08/...) Audiobook was free on the Hoopla app.

  28. 4 out of 5

    stormiedog

    Beautifully written... in your face sad. So completely engrossing, that the images remain with you forever.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Logan Welsh

    Some likeable, if damaged characters.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Donna Lee

    This is the actual diary of a doctor who lived in Hiroshima at the time the US dropped the first atomic bomb in 1945. At first Dr. Hachiya was aware only of the tremendous blast that accompanied the bombing, unlike any bomb he had heard before. Then he became aware that his clothes had been blown off his body and that he had been injured. As he and his wife attempt to make their way to the hospital where he worked which was only a few hundred meters from where they lived, they encountered the de This is the actual diary of a doctor who lived in Hiroshima at the time the US dropped the first atomic bomb in 1945. At first Dr. Hachiya was aware only of the tremendous blast that accompanied the bombing, unlike any bomb he had heard before. Then he became aware that his clothes had been blown off his body and that he had been injured. As he and his wife attempt to make their way to the hospital where he worked which was only a few hundred meters from where they lived, they encountered the dead, dying and injured everywhere. Others arriving at the hospital added the stories of what they had seen. "When I reached the bridge, I saw a dreadful thing. It was unbelievable. There was a man, stone dead, sitting on his bicycle as it leaned against the bridge railing. It is hard to believe that such a thing could happen!" "The sight of the soldiers, though, was more dreadful...they had no faces! Their eyes, noses and mouths had been burned away, and it looked like their ears had melted off. It was hard to tell front from back. One soldier, whose features had been destroyed and was left with his white teeth sticking out, asked me for some water, but I didn't have any." "Between the Red Cross Hospital and the center of the city I saw nothing that wasn't burned to a crisp. Streetcars were standing at Kawaya-cho and Kamiya-cho and inside were dozens of bodies, blackened beyond recognition. I saw fire reservoirs filled to the brim with dead people who looked as though they had been boiled alive...." As survivors arrive at the hospital the remaining staff attempted to care for them as well as possible, even though the number of injured was overwhelming. Equally disconcerting though was the fact that the medical staff did not know what they were dealing with. The people of Hiroshima did not initially know what type of bomb had been dropped and thus did not understand how to treat the patients. Gradually the doctors came to understand some of the symptoms, how to recognize which patients might survive and which were terminal, how to treat the symptoms. When the Hirohito, Emperor of Japan, surrendered to the Allies, the new concern was how the occupying army of the US would treat the people of Japan. Would they imprison people, rape the women, pillage the country? Dr Hachiya was deeply impressed and relieved when he met the first American official to visit his hospital. This was a very moving book of an important point in history. I know that Americans are told that dropping the bomb was necessary in order to end the war in the Pacific and save lives. Perhaps that is true. But reading about the horrible devastation and loss of civilian lives, I think it is important to keep in mind always the horrible cost of war...before engaging in one.

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