Theses Doctoral

Resurrecting Nagasaki: Reconstruction, the Urakami Catholics, and Atomic Memory, 1945-1970

Diehl, Chad Richard

This dissertation traces the reconstruction of Nagasaki City after the atomic bombing of August 9, 1945 by concentrating on politics and religion. It follows the various people and groups who contributed to the city's rise from the ashes and shaped its image in Japan and the world. In contrast to Hiroshima, Nagasaki did not make its atomic tragedy the dominant theme of its postwar image, and instead strove to rebuild the city in the light of its past as a center of international trade and culture. The most influential group advocating the focus on "international culture" during the early postwar period was the Roman Catholic community of the northern Urakami Valley, which was ground zero. Although Hiroshima became synonymous with the atomic bomb in national and international discourse, Nagasaki followed its own path, one that illuminates the relationship between mass destruction, city history, religion, and historical remembrance. It is a story that sheds a different light on the atomic bombings and their aftermath, not only in comparison with Hiroshima but with other cities destroyed by area bombing and the course of their subsequent reconstruction.

Geographic Areas



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More About This Work

Academic Units
East Asian Languages and Cultures
Thesis Advisors
Gluck, Carol
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
June 28, 2013