Balancing Two Cultures: Lives of Atomic Bomb Survivors in the US

Friday, 20 July 2018: 09:15
Oral Presentation
Masaya NEMOTO, Ritsumeikan University, Japan
This paper examines the relationship between migration, belonging, and changes in “we” and “I” through the case of atomic bomb survivors living in the US. In 1945 atomic bombs dropped by the US destroyed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. The survivors have suffered from scar, trauma, and radiation caused by the nuclear bombs until today. However, there are atomic bomb survivors who migrated to the US from Japan after the WWII. Some moved to the US for their career or marriage. Others were originally born in the US as the second generation of Japanese-American but went to Japan before the war, and came back to the US after the war. Those atomic bomb survivors in the US built an organization to ask for medical support from the US government first and then Japanese national government because the US rejected the support for its “enemy” in the past.

In this paper, I will explore the biographies of atomic bomb survivors living in the US to consider their sense of belonging. First, I will briefly explain the background of atomic survivors living in the US as well as the effects of atomic bomb. Second, I will describe survivors’ life stories while answering questions such as why they migrated from Japan to the US and how they have lived in that country against which they “fought” in the past. Lastly, by drawing on the survivors’ life-stories and narratives, I will examine how they have changed their sense of belonging such as being a Japanese, an American, and/or a survivor from the atomic bombing by the US.