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Takashi Nagai, Atomic Bomb Survivor on the Path to Sainthood

Last edited 10th August 2015

Takashi Nagai, Atomic Bomb Survivor on the Path to Sainthood

Takashi Nagai was a soldier, doctor, university lecturer, husband, father, and a Nagasaki atomic bomb survivor who may become a saint in the Catholic Church. Although almost unknown outside Japan, he was a major figure in post-War Japan. His only biography in English, A Song for Nagasaki, was written in 1988 by an Australian priest who worked for many years in Japan. It is an extraordinary story of a man of immense spiritual and intellectual depth.

On 9 August 1945, Nagai was at work in Nagasaki Medical University, 700 metres from the centre of the atomic blast that destroyed Nagasaki. Many of his colleagues were killed immediately. Two days passed before he could return home to see what had happened to his wife Midori. She had been incinerated. All that was left were ashes, a few charred fragments of bone and the melted Rosary she had been saying when the bomb exploded. Nagai spent the rest of his life reflecting on the notion of redemptive suffering which is at the heart of Christian life. Visit this article to read his story.


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