Mari Shibata, an independent journalist in Japan, writes about the bombing of Urakami Cathedral and 84 year old parishioner, Shigemi Fukahori , who survived the atomic bomb because he’d taken the day off from Christian summer school to work at a factory.
The bombing largely killed non-combatants, and decimated the Christian community in Nagasaki; the Cathedral was the target for the attack, which killed more than 75% of the Christians in Nagasaki, through both primary and secondary effects of the bombs.
From the article:
A few years after the attack, Fukahori left for Tokyo to pursue his studies in theology at university. It was only upon his return after completing his studies that he had learnt of the weapon and saw first hand how it had affected his community; Christians who were regular attendees of the Urakami Cathedral and lived in the area.
“As the men were away fighting when the attack happened, it was the women and children who lived in these who suffered most in the years to come,” he recalls. “Many of the women I know had developed Keloid scars as a result of the radiation from the bomb. Most of these women are now dead; when they were alive, they would not come out of the house as they felt judged for their appearance. Many also chose to remain single, as they were also afraid they would give birth to disabled children.”
Writing for independent news outlet Consortium News, a retired physician, Gary G. Kohls, explores the contradictions of the attack; he notes that the bomber crew was composed entirely of Christians, and that they specifically were aiming for the Cathedral, because it was clearly visible from the air. His long-form piece explores the history of Christianity in Japan, the details of the attack, and the aftermath for Japanese Christianity.