Poems of Hiroshima: Translations of Children's Poems in When I Was Small

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Reece, Rachel
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
Poetry has long been an effective medium for survivors of extreme traumas to express their feelings and share their experiences. This is especially true for survivors of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, Japan in 1945. There have been many famous poets of the atomic bomb, and writings about the bomb are well known around the world. However, there are still many unshared works by Hiroshima survivors, especially those who were children. This project focuses on one collection of poems by Hiroshima children, titled When I was Small [Watashi ga chiisakatta toki ni]. I have translated the poems in this collection into English with the hopes of making a wider variety of resources available to western learners. To highlight the need for these poems, they are compared to the works of Tōge Sankichi, one of Hiroshima’s most famous poets. By contrasting the work of a professional poet to that of children, it is made clear that our current pool of resources on Hiroshima is very limited and that it is crucial to look at multiple perspectives of the bomb.
Hiroshima, atomic bomb, Toge Sankichi, poetry, children's poetry