Q & A about the Atomic Bombing and Peace

Q.How did children who were orphaned by the atomic bombing survive afterwards?

It has been said that anywhere from 2,000 to 6,500 children lost their parents to the atomic bombing. Orphans who were not taken in by relatives scraped out a living with jobs such as picking up cigarette butts and polishing shoes.

By the end of 1947, five orphanages were built in the Hiroshima City area. They did not receive enough goods or funding and struggled to feed the children, who did everything they could to get food by farming, fishing with nets, digging for clams, and eating anything that was edible.

In August 1949, Norman Cousins (1915-1990), the editor of the American Saturday Review of Literature, visited Hiroshima to see how the city was recovering from the atomic bombing and was greatly shocked by the condition of the orphans and orphanages. Back in America, Cousins wrote an article titled “Hiroshima Four Years Later,” and called on Americans to help raise the orphans through a moral adoption program, which drew great public response. During the first year of the program in 1950, 233 orphans were morally adopted and more than 8,000 dollars in donations came from America. Over its ten-year run, the program helped to care for over 490 orphans in eight facilities.

Norman Cousins frequently came to Hiroshima to visit the orphans, and his efforts spurred the development of similar adoption programs in Japan for the A-bomb orphans. In light of his great contributions, he was made a Special Honorary Citizen by the City of Hiroshima in 1964.

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