Hibakusha ( The Survivors )
Hibakusha – is a word of Japanese origin: 被爆者 or 被曝者; lit.
“person affected by a bomb” or
“person affected by exposure to radioactivity.”
I wrote and recorded this music when a friend asked me to play at a CND event in Aberdeen on the 7th of August 2021. The event was to remember the Atomic bombings of August 6th and 9th, 1945 on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
It was the first time the world had seen the use of such weapons used on a civilian population, and if there’s any hope for humanity, it must be the last time.
When Ronnie Watt (9th dan) OBE ORS heard I was playing at the CND event, he asked me to write a piece of music on behalf of the Scottish Samurai.
At lunchtime, a small crowd had gathered outside the Marischal College in Aberdeen to show their respects.
There were messages read out from Japan, from Hiroshima, and MSPs and activists took turns to say their pieces, and musicians and poets entertained with tasteful music and prose between the speeches.
The following is a copy of my short introduction speech on that day before playing the music for the first time.
“I was asked to say a few words on behalf of Ronnie Watt (9th Dan).
Ronnie founded the Scottish Samurai awards and is a world-famous Karate master here in Aberdeen for those who don’t know. Over the years, Ronnie has had a great connection with Japan, and through his work with Karate and the Samurai Awards, he has made many friends in Japan, in Nagasaki, in the atomic bomb museum and other places. Ronnie has earned himself the nickname, the second Scottish Samurai, after Thomas Blake Glover.
Unfortunately, Ronnie could not be here today as he is busy teaching Karate. But when Ronnie heard CND had asked me to play here, he asked me to write a piece of music to commemorate this event on behalf of The Order of The Scottish Samurai. In celebration of the friendship between our nations and the hope we never see another bomb.
It’s sad to think that some 75 years later, after the initial blasts, which killed over 210,000, there have subsequently been as many as half a million deaths due to radiation poisoning that still affects even unborn children to this day. It remains a gross injustice that the innocent pay the price of war and even more so when future generations not yet born also pay the price.
I admit I find it challenging to write music for such a tragic subject.
So I have tried to arrange a piece that will remember the “Hibakusha” That’s the Japanese name for the people who survive the atomic bomb and have to live with the after-effects of radiation exposure. It’s a name also used for the survivors of Fukushima. “