The Belly of the Beast
Important Soup

Remembering Mr. Miyamoto

I've got an article up on LRC today, a review of Kenzaburo Oe's "Hiroshima Notes."  From my article:

Today, we take for granted knowledge about the deadly effects of nuclear weapons. In fact, this knowledge was hard-won, and not with the aid of government grants and oversight but quite the opposite. Doctors and researchers had to fight the official keepers of public opinion in order to first discover and then reveal the truth about the effects of these weapons.

In the fall of 1945, the U.S. Army Surgeons Investigation Team declared that all people who were expected to die from radiation effects of the bomb had already died and that no new cases would be acknowledged. Hospitals put out optimistic reports, downplaying the concerns of survivors, and telling pregnant women not to worry about any ill effects on their unborn babies. Doctors like Dr. Fumio Shigeto, the director of the Hiroshima Red Cross Hospital, surrounded by a society that seemed hell-bent on denying the effects of the bombs, worked to document the controversial connection between bomb exposure and leukemia. Even after the ban on discussing such things had been lifted, these doctors came under harsh criticism from the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission for making their concerns public.

Read the whole thing here.