Stories of Hope

1951-1954: Meeting Japan

In 1951, Barbara and Hiroshima finally connected when Earle was offered a job with the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission in Hiroshima. As a physical anthropologist, he was assigned to study the effects of the atomic bomb on the growth of children. The entire Reynolds family moved with him to a military base at Kure, Japan.

Earle Reynolds studying the effects of the atomic bomb on the development of Hirshoma’s children.

While in Japan, Barbara interacted primarily with other American families living on the base. Her life went on relatively unchanged. Knowing little about the effects of the bomb and still sheltered from the firsthand stories of the hibakusha, she was reassured by most of Earle's ABCC colleagues that the effects of the bomb were "not so bad." Earle saw the many growth and developmental problems the bomb caused the children of Hiroshima, but despite living so close to the devastated city and its survivors, Barbara knew little about the myriad medical, psychological, and social problems of the hibakusha.

Hibakushas lived in this type of temporary housing in post-bomb Japan.

“The war, it seemed, had changed many things but I did not know how much. I didn’t even ask how so many children had become orphans. I didn’t ask what had happened to their parents. . . .I did not learn anything about Hiroshima.”

-Barbara Reynolds, The Phoenix and the Dove


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