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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 January 17 - 23  > Pope calls photo of Nagasaki A-bomb victim ‘fruit of war’
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2018 January 17 - 23 TOP3 [PEACE]

Pope calls photo of Nagasaki A-bomb victim ‘fruit of war’

January 18, 2018

Akahata ‘current’ column

Pope Francis is trying to open the eyes of the world to the importance of a photo of the horror of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki.

The black and white photo titled, “The boy standing by the crematory”, captures a barefoot boy, around 10 years old, standing at attention. Strapped on his back is his dead baby brother. An image of the boy biting his lips in an erect posture testifies to his profound sorrow and loss.

The photo was taken by U.S. Marine photographer Joe O'Donnell who came to Japan in September 1945, one month after Japan’s surrender in WWII. He took many photographs of the devastation with his own camera, but kept them in trunk boxes for so long as if to bury the heartrending memories.

Nearly half a century later, motivated by an upsurge in the antinuke movement in the United States, O'Donnell decided to disclose the pictures to the public. At that time, O'Donnell struggled with health problems which were probably caused by residual radiation which he was exposed to after entering A-bombed areas. Releasing the photos worldwide, he frequently encountered attacks from people justifying the U.S. nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Stating, “An image like that is more moving than a thousand words,” the Holy Father decided to distribute the Nagasaki boy carrying his dead younger brother photo printed on cards. On the back of the card, the words "the fruit of war" are written along with the Pope’s signature.

Past related articles:
> Hibakusha calls on Pope to help with signature-collection drive for abolition of nuclear weapons [November 11-14, 2017]
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