Dangerous Memory in Nagasaki: Prayers, Protests and Catholic Survivor Narratives, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Dangerous Memory in Nagasaki

Prayers, Protests and Catholic Survivor Narratives, 1st Edition

By Gwyn McClelland


256 pages | 33 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367217754
pub: 2019-10-31
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On 9th August 1945, the US dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Of the dead, approximately 8500 were Catholic Christians, representing over sixty percent of the community. In this collective biography, nine Catholic survivors share personal and compelling stories about the aftermath of the bomb and their lives since that day.

Examining the Catholic community’s interpretation of the A-bomb, this book not only uses memory to provide a greater understanding of the destruction of the bombing, but also links it to the past experiences of religious persecution, drawing comparisons with the ‘Secret Christian’ groups which survived in the Japanese countryside after the banning of Christianity. Through in-depth interviews, it emerges that the memory of the atomic bomb is viewed through the lens of a community which had experienced suffering and marginalisation for more than 400 years. Furthermore, it argues that their dangerous memory confronts Euro-American-centric narratives of the atomic bombings, whilst also challenging assumptions around a providential bomb.

Dangerous Memory in Nagasaki presents the voices of Catholics, many of whom have not spoken of their losses within the framework of their faith before. As such, it will be invaluable to students and scholars of Japanese history, religion and war history.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Legacy of Survival

1. Fissures

2. Survivors

3. Bodies

Part 2: Reinterpreting the Bomb: Archetype, Monument and Cry

4. Providential Atomic Bomb?

5. A-Bombed Mary

6. Urakami Cathedral: A Fifth Persecution

7. Water! Atomic Cries and Echoes of the Past

Part 3: Memory’s Future

8. Dangerous Hope

9. Lament, Anger and Protest

10. Conclusion

About the Author

Gwyn McClelland holds a Master of Divinity from the University of Divinity, Melbourne, Australia and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Japanese history from Monash University.

About the Series

Asia's Transformations

The books in this series explore the political, social, economic and cultural consequences of Asia's twenty-first century transformations. The series emphasizes the tumultuous interplay of local, national, regional and global forces as Asia bids to become the hub of the world economy. While focusing on the contemporary, it also looks back to analyze the antecedents of Asia's contested rise. Asia's Transformations aims to address the needs of students and teachers.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Asia / General
HISTORY / Asia / Japan
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies