As the World War II U.S. atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are quite inseparable from their legacies, Clifton Truman Daniel – President Harry Truman’s grandson – said on Thursday that he plans to make good on his desire to write a book about A-bomb survivors in Japan. Daniel said that he is planning to travel to Japan with his son in June to interview and record the survivors’ stories in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The elder Daniel said that as a former journalist, the human stories of the hibakusha (literally “bomb affected people”) – what the Japanese call A-bomb survivors – have captivated him after his visit to the country for the first time last year. On this second visit, the father-and-son team plans to spend at least one week in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki – with Daniel interviewing and his son Wesley filming the interviews – which were both bombed by the United States at the tail end of the WWII under President Truman’s orders. He said that he was intrigued by the “honorable behavior” that was exhibited by the Japanese, the initial spark that made him want to write this book. “It is sort of how people on both sides have lived with or not lived with the atomic bombings, the human story of it, not the debate over whether we needed it or whether it was moral or not,” he explained. “It is the human dimension, which as a journalist, I was always attracted to.” The footage of the interviews will be a crucial component as well for the book that Daniel envisions writing, looking to his son to get invaluable information on film.
The Daniels made their first trip to Japan last year to take part in the 67th anniversaries of the bombings, on Aug. 6 and Aug. 9 respectively, the first time that any member of the Truman family visited Japan. The younger Daniel filmed some parts of the trip last year, which was eventually used by CSPAN for a two-hour special. Both Daniels met a number of hibakusha on their trip last year, mostly listening to their stories. On this trip, they hope to ask more questions, and get a “more complete picture” of what exactly these people went through. “You certainly understand the loss and the tragedy, but not as much if you knew their parents’ names, what they did for a living, if you knew what their life was like,” Daniel added.
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