1. All of the characters in Hiroshima are very significant, and I wish I could hold on to all of them. However, if I had to pick two, I would pick Dr. Sasaki, and Father Kleinsorge. I liked Dr. Sasaki because he was just so strategic in what he did, and he used his ambition, money and skills to help the sick instead of giving himself a rich lifestyle. He was not a doctor for the money, he was a doctor for the people, and that to me was very meaningful. He used his money to build hospitals and other places for those in need. What I liked the most about him, was that he never gave up. Even after his diseases and weariness from the bombing, the awful memories, and even the death of his wife, Dr. Sasaki never let anything get in the way of pursuing his goals. Another character I liked was Father Kleinsorge. Just like Dr. Sasaki, Father Kleinsorge never gave up. Despite his own health issues, he persisted on comforting the hibakusha, and helping convert souls. As John Hersey quoted, “they thought he might literally kill himself with kindness to others”. And in fact, he did die because constantly moving around helping others caused his health to worsen.
2. I don’t want to forget the sorrow I felt for these people. Reading this book was rough, I actually felt very sad in some parts. These were real human beings just like us, and to be able to know in detail what their experiences were like shocked me. We hear about war and tragedies on the news all the time, but we don’t always get a first-hand at what people are going through. Reading this made me thankful for my safety, for my family, and for my health.
3. “When Mr. Tanimoto, with his basin still in his hand reached the park, it was very crowded, and to distinguish the living from the dead was not easy, for most of the people lay still with their eyes open….the hurt ones were quiet no one wept, much less creamed in pain”. P 36
This quote really stood out to me. It gave a perfect picture of what the people killed in the bomb looked like. I can’t imagine the horror I would go through if I was one of the survivors looking at these images.
“Non hibakusha employers developed a prejudice against the survivors as word got around that they were prone to all sorts of ailments”. P 93
This quote made me angry and sad at the same time. It was just so unfair that hibakusha could not get jobs because of the prejudices held against them. They didn’t ask for what happened to them. I wish people would have been more empathetic with them.
“The bombing had been four decades ago. How far away it seemed! The sun blazed that day”. P.100
In this part of the book, Hersey was talking about the flower festival in Hiroshima, and when Nakamura-san was dancing. I liked this quote a lot because after decades of the bombing, people could be happy again. I could picture the flowers, the sunny and warm day, the happy dancers, etc. It made me feel happy inside that people could enjoy their life again, especially Nakamura-san and other survivors.
4. There are several things we can do as individuals to avoid these kinds of catastrophizes in the future. It would however, require every individual playing their own part in the process. As individuals, we can inspire peace and love. We can be kind to others, and less selfish. If people would put more effort into being kind, we could prosper a unified community, and from there a more unified nation, and a more unified world. Churches, the government, and other groups could play major roles in helping create this type of atmosphere.
Another thing we can do on the personal level is to participate in our political system. We should voice our opinions, communicate with our representatives, and vote for representatives of our community, state, and nation who will do a better job of fostering peace and unity.