To Live

In a Foreign Land


Approximately 350,000 people were in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb exploded. This figure includes citizens, military personnel, and people from surrounding municipalities who had been mobilized for building demolition. It also includes people from Korea, Taiwan, and mainland China, some of whom were conscripted against their will. There were also foreign students from China and South Eastern Asian countries, German priests, American prisoners of war, and White Russians.

Making It Possible for Overseas Hibakusha Receive an Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate

Shin Young-soo

Courtesy of Shin Hyung-keun

Shin Young-soo was born in 1919 in the Korean city of Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province. In 1942, he was sent to Hiroshima to work at a military pharmaceutical company. At the time, there were many Koreans living in Japan.
Shin (then, 26) encountered the atomic bomb at the Nobori-cho streetcar stop on his way to work. The upper half of his body was severely burned. He fled to Ujina and was taken to the Ninoshima relief center, then to the army hospital’s annex ward, which was located alongside the Kure Line. When the war ended, he left at the hospital’s request. However, he had no relatives to live with. The only place he could go was a house in Yahata Village (now, Yahata, Saeki-ku), which his boss had been renting out for evacuation purposes. Half-naked, hungry, sick, and cold, he headed for the house. On the train, Japanese people said cruel things to him because he was Korean, which hurt him deeply. He spent some time in a relief station in a school in Hatsukaichi and returned to his hometown at the end of the year.
Even after returning to his own country, Shin suffered from burns on his face and the aftereffects of the atomic bomb including diarrhea. He struggled financially as well. Many of the A-bomb survivors who went back to the Korea suffered like Shin from A-bomb disease and poverty. In 1967, the Association for the Relief of Korean Atomic Bomb Victims (today called the Korea Atomic Bomb Victim Association) was founded for the purposes of obtaining compensation, establishing hospitals for atomic bomb survivors, and eliminating nuclear weapons. In 1970, Shin made the decision to dedicate the rest of his life to helping A-bomb survivors in Korea. He became the chairperson of the Association. He poured his energy into a movement to demand for A-bomb survivors in Korea the same levels of assistance as survivors in Japan. In 1974, Shin went to Japan and, while receiving treatment, obtained an Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate. By doing so, he opened the door to other overseas hibakusha obtaining these certificates. He passed away in 1999.

Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate

On July 25, 1974, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government issued the Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate to Shin, who came to Tokyo. At that time, even with an Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate, atomic bomb survivors who lived overseas were not entitled to medical subsidies and other support unless they physically came to Japan. Shin was hoping to be able to change this so that atomic bomb survivors who resided overseas would be able to receive an Atomic Bomb Survivor’s Certificate and not have to worry about receiving treatment without having to come to Japan.

Collection of Shin Hyung-keun

The Royal Family Clan of Lee

The west end of Honkawa Bridge

Prince Lee-Woo

Prince Lee-Woo was a nephew of the last Prince Lee-Eun of the Korean royal family. He came to Japan in 1922 to receive education as a military man. He was Lieutenant Colonel in Education in the Second General Army when the atomic bomb was dropped. He was riding his horse to work. He fled westward, but by the time he reached the west end of Honkawa Bridge, he was no longer able to move. He was found in fetal position and was carried to the Gaisenkan Lodge in Ujina, then transferred to Ninoshima Island. He passed away on the 7th.
Prince Lee-Woo’s body was put on an Army general’s airplane and carried to his home in present-day Seoul.


To Live

—August 6, 1945—
From That Day Forth