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    2010年11月24日

    A-bomb picture book uses acorns to show friendship between S. Korean man, Japanese doctor

    先日ミーティングにも参加いただいた大門さんの書かれた、在韓被爆者と日本人医師の友情のお話「やくそくのどんぐり」の記事が英訳されて発信されていましたのでご紹介します。


    The Maicnihi Daily News から引用
    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/arts/news/20101120p2a00m0na013000c.html
    (日本語の原文:http://mainichi.jp/kansai/archive/news/2010/11/03/20101103ddn041040009000c.html

    A picture book depicting the bond between a South Korean man and a Japanese doctor -- both atomic bomb sufferers -- through the growth of acorns that the South Korean victim brought back home from Hiroshima, has been released.

    Based on a true story, the picture book, "Yakusoku no Donguri" (promised acorns), features a Hiroshima-born South Korean man who was exposed to the atomic bombing of the city. The man always cherished his childhood memories of when he used to gather acorns with his Japanese friends, but after moving to South Korea he develops the so-called "atomic bomb disease" -- symptoms of radiation sickness caused by the atomic bomb.

    The man then meets a doctor when visiting Hiroshima again to undergo treatment for his disease, and the two become good friends. The patient collects acorns in the city and plants them back home in South Korea, with one of them later growing into a big tree. His neighbors look at the tree as proof of the friendship between the two countries.

    "Layers of people-to-people links can heal the wounds of history. It's a work that suits the centennial year of Japan's annexation of the Korean Peninsula," says Hitoshi Maruya, 85, an atomic bomb survivor and doctor in Hiroshima. The doctor in the picture book was modeled after him.

    The picture book's main character represents the late Lee Sun-gi, who was born after his father came to Hiroshima to find a job. At the age of 15, Lee was exposed to atomic bomb radiation. Although Lee returned to Hapcheon County in South Korea shortly after the war, he developed atomic bomb disease around 50 years after the bombing. After 1996 he traveled back and forth between Japan and South Korea for medical treatment, and became close to his doctor Maruya.

    In 1999 Lee collected acorns near the cenotaph for the South Korean victims of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and brought them back home. He planted the acorns in a field in front of his home to represent his love for Hiroshima and wish for peace. Watching the little acorns grow encouraged Lee to fight the disease. Despite his struggle, however, Lee suffered from various forms of cancer until he passed away at 70 in 2001.

    When Lee was alive, Maruya asked him if he could write up his plight as a "South Korean victim of the atomic bomb who was forced to bear layers of pain," and the two worked together to document Lee's background.

    In Hapcheon County the Hapcheon Welfare Center for Atomic Bomb Victims houses some 100 residents, who are among many Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors living in the area.

    One of the ring-cupped oak trees that grew from Lee's little acorns was replanted in front of the entrance of the welfare facility and has been handed down as a symbol of the friendship between Japan and South Korea.

    Deeply moved by the bond between Maruya and Lee, Takako Okado, 65, a former elementary school teacher and an acquaintance of the doctor, spent two years to write the story of the picture book.

    On Nov. 5 Maruya attended a memorial service marking the 10th anniversary of Lee's death in Hapcheon, with the picture book in his hand.



    (Mainichi Japan) November 20, 2010


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