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PLUTONIUM MOUNTAIN

From 1949 onwards, the closed city of Semipalatinsk (now Semey, Kazakhstan) was the test site for 456 nuclear devices. The test site was known as "The Polygon." Testing was stopped in 1989, but the long term effects remained. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 6, 2013 - 11 comments

Keiji Nakazawa, 1939-2012

Keiji Nakazawa, the manga artist and creator of Barefoot Gen (previously),his autobiographical account of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, died on the 19th of December, still living in Hiroshima. His obituary is up on The Comics Journal website, while comics blogger David Brothers adds a more personal note about discovering Barefoot Gen as a preteen.
posted by MartinWisse on Jan 4, 2013 - 15 comments

The Cake Felt 'Round the World

Less than a year after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the United States detonated the fourth and fifth nuclear weapons under the name Operation Crossroads in July 1946. Beyond testing the capabilities of nuclear bombs, the Navy said it wanted the Bikini tests treated like "the story of the year, maybe of the decade, and possibly of a lifetime." Only two of the three bombs were detonated, and the project was shut down over the next months. To celebrate the efforts of Operation Crossroads, a cake in the shape of a mushroom cloud was featured at a publicized event on November 5, 1946. In response to this display, Reverend Arthur Powell Davies, the minister of the Unitarian All Souls Church in Washington, D.C., gave a sermon on the "utterly loathsome picture" and the message it sent to other nations. That sermon set off a flurry of replies and reactions, that extended around the world, including a connection formed between Reverend Davies' All Souls Unitarian Church and school children in Hiroshima. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 8, 2010 - 62 comments

Who's next?

A Burmese general has defected from the country to tell the world about the military junta's top secret nuclear weapons program. Sai Thein Win reveals that Singapore and Germany have been selling SLORC technology used to convert uranium into weapons-grade fuel. The end goal of the program is not to defend Burma from other countries but to protect the military elite from the underground democratic opposition. In response, US Senator Jim Webb cancels his trip to Burma. A full report will air on Al Jazeera starting at 6AM GMT.
posted by shii on Jun 3, 2010 - 71 comments

The unluckiest man alive

Bad luck: some people seem to treat the subject rather lightly and consider themselves the unluckiest person ever if they lose a long game of Pokemon, or because of some rather benign school occurrences. Sometimes people fall victim to such unlikely and improbable events that they may be tempted to declare themselves cursed. But it would be hard to beat the hard-luck of a Japanese man named Tsutomu Yamaguchi. On August 6th, 1945, he was in Hiroshima on a business trip when the first A-bomb dropped on Japan exploded. He suffered some burns, but was considered well enough that he could leave Hiroshima the next day and go home. To Nagasaki.
posted by clevershark on Mar 24, 2009 - 63 comments

I am become death, the destroyer of worlds

It has now been 60 years since the awesome terror of nuclear weapons was revealed to the world. Whether the decision to use such a fearsome weapon was right or wrong is still being debated. Much of that debate now centers around the intercepts of Japanese communications under the Ultra [British code name] or Magic [US code name] program and whether Japan was ready to surrender under acceptable terms. Some of these intercepts can be read here and here.
posted by publius on Aug 5, 2005 - 53 comments

Barefoot Gen

'Barefoot Gen is a vivid autobiographical story. Artist Keiji Nakazawa was only seven years old when the Atomic Bomb destroyed his beautiful home city of Hiroshima. The Artist's "Gen" manga (visual novel), tells the tale of one family's struggle to survive in the dreadful shadow of war ... '
"I named my main character Gen in the hope that he would become a root or source of strength for a new generation, one that can tread the charred soil of Hiroshima barefoot, feel the earth beneath its feet, and have the strength to say "NO" to nuclear weapons.... "
More survivors' stories :- Nagasaki Nightmare, the art of the hibakusha, or A-bomb survivors.
Voice of Hibakusha includes eye-witness accounts of the atom bombing of Hiroshima. Here are more testimonies of survivors. (Via the A-Bomb WWW Museum). A personal record of Hiroshima A-bomb survival, posted to a message board, with responses from readers.
Remembering Nagasaki, a slide-show of Nagasaki after the A-bomb.
The story of Sadako, an A-bomb victim, and the Thousand Paper Cranes project she inspired.
posted by plep on Apr 13, 2003 - 15 comments

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