Sacrificial Lambs

Yuki Miyamoto

in Beyond the Mushroom Cloud

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780823240500
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823240548 | DOI:

Series: Bordering Religions

Sacrificial Lambs

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At the time of the bombing, Nagai Takashi—a convert Roman Catholic and medical doctor specializing in radiation—was getting ready for class at his medical school. Though severely injured, he miraculously survived, while his wife had died at home from the heat and blast. After the bombing, friends asked Nagai if the bomb was punishment from God. Nagai answered that, on the contrary, the bomb was a blessing from God. Because of the bomb, the war ended; those who were killed by the bomb were “sacrificial lambs,” worthy enough to be offered to God; those who survived were in fact failed to be chosen. While Nagai's interpretation was widely embraced among Nagasaki Catholics, Pope John Paul II clarified that war is an act of human upon his visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1981. Three years later however, John Paul issued an encyclical on theodicy entitled Salvifici Doloris, part of which is not far from Nagai's understanding of the atomic bombing. Nagai's critical self-reflection, resonates with that of kōji, contributes to the hibakusha ethics of not retaliation, but reconciliation on the one hand, it still leaves a question of moral accountability of individuals, the topic of the next chapter.

Keywords: Nagai Takashi; Roman Catholicism; Pope John Paul II; Sacrificial Lambs; Nagasaki; Urakami; Catholic community

Chapter.  12622 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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