Nagasaki, The City Beyond the Atomic Bomb

Photos by Ari Beser. The sun sets over Nagasaki as clouds roll in from the harbor.

Nagasaki, Japan— Imagine you are from an ancient city with roots that go back centuries. As a proud citizen, you have a deep knowledge and respect for your local history. You know the ins and outs of your culture; the local dialects that are barely understandable in other parts of your own country, your local cuisine that you pride yourself in knowing is some of the best in the world, and the land— the winding mountainous land blanketed with homes and townships that practically blend into the landscape the way they have for centuries.

Imagine, however, that when you leave that city and travel to a foreign land, they only reaction to where you come from by the people you meet is to remember the dropping of an atomic bomb that devastated your home town 70 years ago. Not only is the culture you hold near and dear to your heart not mentioned, to outsiders it’s nearly unheard of. Now imagine that your city that suffered such a devastating and overpowering historical event is also overlooked by comparison to the city who suffered a nuclear attack first. If you are from the city of Nagasaki, you do not have to imagine it. This is a reality.

Nagasaki is a city overshadowed. The residents of Nagasaki, the second city bombed with an atomic weapon, retain a sentiment that their city gets less attention then Hiroshima, the first city to suffer an atomic bombing. Why does Hiroshima get more attention? More people died in the blast in Hiroshima (120,000 by the end of 1945) than in Nagasaki (80,000 in the same period), more of the city was destroyed, and it gets more coverage and visitors every —> Read More