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Remembering Nagasaki: 9 August 1945

August 9, 2007

Urakami CathedralTakashi Nagai (1908 – 1951) was a physician and Catholic convert who worked tirelessly to help survivors in the aftermath of the second atomic bomb dropped on Japan, three days after the bombing of Hiroshima. Ill with leukemia before the bombing, the effects of radiation rendered him an invalid, barely able to leave his bed. He lived a contemplative life in a small hut near the ruins of the the Urakami Catholic Cathedral in Nagasaki, writing books and receiving visitors until he died in 1951.

Struggling to find meaning in this calamity, Nagai found a suggestion of God’s mysterious providence in the chain of events that led to Urakami Cathedral being at ground zero in the attack. Nagasaki was only the secondary target on 9 August 1945, which bombers approached only after finding the primary target, the city of Kokura, shrouded in thick clouds; once at Nagasaki, clouds over the Mitsubishi Iron Works, the intended target, compelled the pilot to fix his target over the visible dome of the Urakami Catholic Cathedral. Moreover, Nagai thought it significant that the war ended on 15 August — the feast of the Assumption of Mary.

Nagai concluded that Nagasaki had been chosen to atone for the sins of Japan in disobeying the law of love, and to bear witness to the cause of international peace:

“Men and women of the world, never again plan war!…From this atomic waste the people of Nagasaki confront the world and cry out: No more war! Let us follow the commandment of love and work together. The people of Nagasaki prostrate themselves before God and pray: Grant that Nagasaki may be the last atomic wilderness in the history of the world. — Takashi Nagai, Mystic of Nagasaki.

Source: Robert Ellsberg, All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets and Witnesses for our Time. Crossroad, 1997.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2008 8:48 am

    Wow! This website has changed my world! It is amazing. Thanks!

  2. Joana permalink
    March 12, 2008 11:18 pm

    Wonderful picture… it is so impacting and with the info about the guy in the picture, it is so stunning.
    thank you

  3. Nicholaus R. Buthmann permalink
    November 29, 2008 4:39 am

    Trying my best at being a “spiritual person” (not to ever be confused with religeous). I am so saddened that this ever had to happen to Nagasaki and its’ people…………. Despite the unspeakably and nearly indescribably despotic and cruel behavior of the Imperial Army and its’ vicioucly insane leaders, like Tojo, Hashimoto, the Emperor, and The Black Dragon Syndicate. Even with such cruel and evil leadership. The people of Nagasaki did not deserve such. Buhddist, Catholic, Protestant, Shinto, Agnostic, Athiest, or otherwise. More cruely does not accomplish anything, but cause more of the same……………. Us human beings are such nasty minded critters, it’s not even funny. Why do we so often put money, power, dominion, bigotry, and other such insanity above human love and nature itself??…………… Using the dome and sphires of a sacred holy place as a targeting landmark. It’s so sad and tragic…………….. I believe Nagai Takeshi-San has a very valid point in everything he stated……………… His command to the people of Nagasaki to prostrate themselves before God and pray for a better future, that never again allows an Atomic/Nuclear wilderness is very powerful in more ways than one. This is to say the very least……………… God, Buhdda, The Great Spirit, whatever the name. Whether one is spiritual or not. We can never allow are rotten and weak urges for material wealth, power, self-righteousness, and dominion over other human beings and land ever get to us again. We also can’t ever allow are righteousness, that we somehow know better than others on how one should live, dictate agressive actions again!!………………I write this as my own country is in no less than 276 different countries, “supposedly” for non-imperial reasons. Yeah right………………I wish I understood us Humans better. Maybe, I need to study Nagai Takeshi-San’s works a little more, as well as other spiritual individuals. This would be of course, regardless of the spiritual faiths title and name. We certainly need to get over another mis-guided human. Which is to think one version of faith is any more superior than another………………. Also, I pray that we as human beings. Who are lucky enough to be born, grow up in, or immigrate to a wealthy country, like the United States, Japan, Europe, and elsewhere. Do not act in a selfish, callous, and self-righteous manner. Taking are food, comforts, and wealth for granted. We all need to come together to help the vast majority of the world and not be so damn self-centered!!!……………..Sorry for being so damn long winded!!!!

  4. Geneva Shisbey permalink
    January 31, 2010 1:59 am

    I have just read the book A SONG FOR NAGASAKI. It is such a beautiful story of Takashi Nagai’s life. Even after the horrific aftermath of the atom bomb and losing his beloved wife, he fought to spread meaning to this life and above all to spread love and peace. I haven’t appreciated the people of Japan and their culture as I do now after reading this book. My father was killed in the Pacific but now I understand the big picture better. There was sorrow on both sides. This story has given me a measure of peace and acceptance.

  5. koadfksdfkopsdgkop permalink
    August 10, 2012 6:57 pm

    USA = Terrorist !

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