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Monday, December 20, 2010

Book Review: US and Japanese scholars debunk "a-bomb myths" 書評:日米の学者が「原爆神話」を崩す

Here is a review written by Chugoku Shimbun's Tashiro Akira of the new book written by Kimura Akira and Peter Kuznick. 原爆投下認識についての新刊本(木村朗、ピーター・カズニック著)の書評が中国新聞に出ました。日本語は下方をご覧ください。

URL: http://www.hiroshimapeacemedia.jp/mediacenter/article.php?story=20101216102011570_en (English)

URL: http://www.hiroshimapeacemedia.jp/mediacenter/article.php?story=20101216102011570_ja (Japanese 日本語)

Book by American and Japanese scholars refutes “A-bomb myth”

(Dec. 17, 2010)

Click to enlarge.

by Akira Tashiro, Senior Staff Writer, Executive Director of the Hiroshima Peace Media Center

“Rethinking the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Japanese and U.S. Perspectives,” comprised of studies by an American and a Japanese scholar, has been published. The book thoroughly refutes the official view of the atomic bombings by the U.S. government in claiming that the bombings saved the lives of many U.S. and Japanese soldiers, as well as Japanese civilians, and hastened the end of World War II. The scholars argue that this view is, in fact, an “A-bomb myth,” and that the perpetuation of this myth up to today contributes to enabling the “nuclear deterrence theory” which leads to the use and threat of use of nuclear weapons.

The book was co-authored by Peter Kuznick, 62, a history professor and director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University in Washington, DC and Akira Kimura, 56, a law professor at Kagoshima University.

Professor Kuznick has brought groups of students to Hiroshima since 1995, the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombings, and to Nagasaki since 1998, for a peace studies tour. In this tour he has made efforts to dismiss the “A-bomb myth” through such activities as holding a workshop on the gap in perception between his students and students at Ritsumeikan University, Japanese participants in the tour, with regard to the atomic bombings and the A-bomb damage. After Professor Kimura joined the peace studies tour as a lecturer, the two professors became acquainted and the book project was conceived.

The book consists of three parts: Chapter I, Japan’s perception of the atomic bombings; Chapter II, the U.S. perception of the atomic bombings; and Chapter III, Discussion of the perceptions of the atomic bombings.

The scholars both confirm the needlessness of the atomic bombings as well as how the myth came to be born, based on historical evidence from the standpoint of each nation. Professor Kuznick provides an example of the justification of the atomic bombing: President Truman first said that the atomic bombings saved the lives of several thousand U.S. soldiers, but later, with criticism mounting in response to the tremendous damage caused by the bombings, this number was inflated to 500,000, and then grew even greater.

Professor Kimura puts particular focus on the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. He suspects that the U.S. government saw the “Little Boy” bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, a uranium-type bomb, and the “Fat Man” bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, a plutonium-type bomb, as a single set from the start and used them mainly as an opportunity to conduct experiments on living people as well as gauge their physical power.

Both scholars argue that it is vital to go beyond the conventional mindset of such thoughts as “the bombs brought a swift end to the war” and “they saved human lives,” while stressing the importance of detecting the illusory nature of the “A-bomb myth.” In their view, nuclear weapons are “inhumane weapons” which should not be used for any reason whatsoever, and a “crime against humanity.” From this perspective, they contend that the “nuclear deterrence theory,” including the issue of the U.S. nuclear umbrella that Japan has come to rely on, can finally be invalidated.

In the book, Professor Kuznick has also assembled a report which traces the lives of Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and the members of his crew. As a whole, the book is compelling.

The book, written in Japanese, has been issued by the publisher Horitsu Bunka Sha. It is 216 pages in length and is priced at 2,940 yen. Professor Kuznick’s work was translated by Satoko Norimatsu.

(Originally published on December 15, 2010) 

「原爆神話」からの脱却を 日米研究者 核抑止論克服へ出版


(10年12月17日)

■特別編集委員 田城明

 「原爆投下は多くの米軍兵士と日本人の命を救い、戦争終結を早めた」。こんな米国政府の公式見解を真っ向から否定する日米2人の研究者の論考をまとめた著書「広島・長崎への原爆投下再考」が発刊された。米政府の見解を「原爆神話」にすぎないとし、その神話が今に続いていることが、核兵器による威嚇や使用につながる「核抑止論」の容認につながっていると力説する。

 著者は首都ワシントンにあるアメリカン大歴史学部教授で、同大核問題研究所長のピーター・カズニックさん(62)と鹿児島大法文学部教授の木村朗さん(56)。

 カズニックさんは、被爆50年の1995年から毎夏、アメリカン大の学生たちを引率して広島・長崎への平和学習を継続。日本から参加の立命館大の学生たちとの間で、原爆被害や原爆投下をめぐる日米認識ギャップについてワークショップを開くなど、地道な取り組みを続けている。講師として木村さんが平和学習に加わるようになって2人は知り合い、今回の出版につながった。

 全体は第I部「日本側の原爆投下認識」、第II部「米国側の原爆投下認識」、第III部「原爆投下認識に関する討議」から成っている。

 2人はそれぞれの立場から、原爆投下の不必要性と、どのように神話がつくられていったかを史実に基づいて検証。カズニックさんは、投下正当化の一例として、トルーマン大統領が当初「数千人」の米兵の命を救ったと発言しながら、大規模な原爆被害に対する批判が高まるにつれ、「トルーマンの推計は50万、さらにそれ以上に膨らんでいった」と指摘する。

 木村さんは、特に長崎への原爆投下に着目。ウラン型の広島原爆とプルトニウム型の長崎原爆は、最初から「ワンセット」として考えられており、両方の物理的威力を知るだけでなく、「人体実験」という側面が強かったのではとみる。

 2人は「原爆神話」の虚構性を見抜く重要性と同時に、「戦争の早期終結」「人命救助」といった従来の思考の枠組みを超える必要があると説く。原爆(核兵器)はどのような理由があれ、決して使ってはならない「非人道兵器」であり、「人類への犯罪行為」である。こうした認識に立って初めて、「核の傘」の下にある日本を含め、核抑止論を克服できるというのだ。

 本書には、広島への原爆投下機「エノラ・ゲイ」のポール・ティベッツ機長と乗組員たちの生涯を丹念に追ったカズニックさんのリポートもあり、実に興味深い。

 A5判216ページ、2940円。法律文化社刊。翻訳は乗松聡子さん。

(2010年12月15日朝刊掲載)

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