December 1984

Japanese Words of Atomic Bomb-Reply

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics University of Florida College of Medicine Box J296 J. Hillis Miller Health Center Gainesville, FL 32610

Am J Dis Child. 1984;138(12):1155. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1984.02140500059024

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In Reply.—Dr Kim is correct in his assumption that I quoted the definition of "genshi bakudan" directly from John Hersey's book Hiroshima, and thereby inadvertently perpetuated an error of translation. Although it may be that "genshi" means "atom" in Japanese and not "original child," it seems unlikely to me that the victims of the bombing would have known that an atomic weapon per se had been dropped on their city. Although the term original child bomb may not be as precise in this regard, it seemed to me to be an appropriate irony, considering the inordinate effects of the bomb on children. I thank Dr Kim for bringing this to my attention.

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