The Day 5 Former Residents of Hiroshima Counted Their Blessings

By Wei Yan Aung 6 August 2019

Seventy-four years ago today, in one of the final acts of World War II, the US dropped the first atomic bomb to be used in warfare on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing over 100,000 people.

Five Myanmar scholars who had been studying Japanese language and other subjects in Hiroshima were fortunate to have escaped the nuclear blast. They were Ko Maung Maung Soe, who was studying education, Ko Chein Po (economics), Ko Win Kyu (mining), and Ko Thet Tun and Ko Hla Bu (Japanese language and literature). 

Just a few months before the bombing, the five moved to universities in Tokyo and Kyoto. At the time, Myanmar was under Japanese rule, and over 40 military and civilian trainees from Myanmar were sent to several Japanese cities, including Hiroshima. 

When the bombing failed to convince Tokyo to surrender, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. Three days later, the US dropped another A-bomb on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000 people. Following this, Japan announced its unconditional surrender.  

As the five Myanmar students who escaped the atomic bombing were preparing to return home after World War II, one of them, who had fallen head over heels in love with a Japanese girl, refused to return. It took his friends days to convince him to come back with them. 

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