Takeshi, Mamezuka. Don ga Kikoenakatta Hitobito: The Deaf and the Atomic Bomb. Kyoto, Japan: Bunrikaku, 1991. In Japanese. 4th floor D767.25.N3 M36 1991.
It has been 45 long years since an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, and the scars it left have been sealed deep inside the beautiful city once called the Naples of the Orient.
Even now, though, there are still people suffering from the effects of radiation sickness and struggling with the fear of death, as they continue on with their lives and with relating their story to others.
In Nagasaki, there is one time period that ended at two minutes past eleven, and another moving ahead in a present progressive tense that began at two minutes past eleven, August 9, 1945. Forty some years after the shift, people were made aware that part of the present progressive tense is the Nagasaki of people who were unable to hear the bomb’s bang. Much has been told and written of the experiences of the bombing victims with normal hearing. They have come to be well known. Deaf and dumb victims, though, were passed by, a forgotten existence sunk in an abyss of silence.
Through the camera’s finder, I was touched by the glances of the deaf and dumb, inspired by the optimism in their smiles, shaken by the view of their lives that showed, without their willing it, through their backs. There is a drama in each of them. Each made me feel he has had the strength it took to make it through, even as he shouldered everything that comes with being both handicapped and a victim of an atomic bomb.
“Silent Thunder”, an article by the Nagasaki branch of the Japanese Study Group of Sign Language Problems: p. 149-162 (PDF)
Don ga Kikoenakatta Hitobito: The Deaf and the Atomic Bomb, available online courtesy of Bunrikaku.