The White Ravens Database

Presented by   Internationale Jugendbibliothek / International Youth Library

Japanese / Japan

Watashigoto. Jūyonsai no Hiroshima

(Memory-passing, my own matter. Fourteen-year-olds in Hiroshima)

Nakazawa, Shōko (text)
Sasameya, Yuki (illus.)
Tōkyō: Chōbunsha, 2020. – 127 p.
ISBN 978-4-8113-2727-3

Japan  | History 1945  | Hiroshima  | Atomic bomb  | Museum  | Victim  | Empathy  | Short story

Reading age: 13+

White Ravens issue: 2021


“Watashigoto” depicts the Hiroshima Memorial Museum’s collection of objects found after the atomic bombing in 1945. In this book of five short stories, junior high school students visit Hiroshima on a school trip. In one story, a boy tosses his lunch box on the kitchen floor, angry at his usually neglectful mother. Returning home later that day, he sees ants swarming all over the mess. At the museum, trudging along the dark, suffocating space, he draws a parallel to trying to flee his hateful home, when he notices a bomb-blackened lunch box in a showcase. It reminds him of his ant-covered lunch box and the conflict with his mother. In another story, a boy who is obsessed with stones conducts an experiment with some classmates where roof tiles are set on fire in imitation of the atomic blast. Through this experience, he realizes that not only stones but also human beings were burned by the bombing in 1945. The students come to feel the tragic loss of life in different ways, but in the process connect today’s world with wartime memories. [RN]