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December 1984

Japanese Words of Atomic Bomb

Author Affiliations

Newborn Intensive Care Unit Santa Clara Valley Medical Center 751 S Bascom Ave San Jose, CA 95128

Am J Dis Child. 1984;138(12):1155. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1984.02140500059023

Sir.—I believe Kappy's article,1 "The Longest Illness: Effects of Nuclear War in Children," should be read by all responsible pediatricians in the world, especially in superpower nations.

I, as a pediatrician knowing some Chinese letters, must point out one error in the article in the Japanese word referring to the atomic bomb. Apparently Kappy quoted "genshi bakudan," the Japanese meaning of atomic bomb, from Hersey's book.2 It is true that "gen" means "original" and "shi" means "child," but "genshi" simply means "atom" in Japanese, not "original child," which was confirmed by one of my Japanese friends.

This does not change the importance of Kappy's energetic study, but he cannot say that the terminology genshi bakudan itself, erroneously interpreted as "original child bomb," has any further meaning to pediatricians.

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