‘Hiroshima Diary’ is a touching account of events that happened during the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in 1945. The story is grounded in the setting of a hospital in Hiroshima where the author, Dr. Michihiko Hachiya details the condition of the hospital he was working in from the 6th day of August when the bombings occurred up to the end of August. Within this text, the author expressed his trepidation over the manner in which the army and the emperor had approached the warfare. Before the bombings, he had expressed his fears that he thought Japan would lose the war simply because everything was becoming scarce and the soldiers had long lost their discipline. He however in the course of the diary expresses a shift in opinions as will be explained in this paper.
Dr. Hachiya decried the fact that by August 15th, the army seemed to have deserted the hospital or almost the whole town. Even the soldiers who had been assigned to guard the facility kept on hiding every time the air alarm went on. The author became even more skeptical when the emperor announced that the people should bear the unbearable because Japan had lost the war. This was a shocker because there was nothing more left to lose. The people wanted to fight to the death. But then, the doctor shifted the blame to the army which initiated the war on its own motion and were very vocal when they were gaining ground in the war. However, when there were no more steps ahead for them, they burdened the emperor with informing the people about the surrender.
The Doctor’s opinions however kept on changing all through the diary because she kept on learning of new developments about the status of the war. On 17th of August when Dr. Moriya brought supplies to the hospital, he learnt that the emperor’s declaration of surrender was out of his own volition because he did not want the people to suffer any more. This changed his whole perception about the affection of the emperor to the people of Japan. In addition to this, it also, changed his position on the character of the army because he no longer resented them for any uncouth behavior towards the emperor. In fact, most of the army officers were distraught about the outcome of the war that they resolved to committing harakiri instead of living to witness the aftermath of their failure.
The earlier opinion of the doctor was significantly changed to an extent that he could find himself praying for the emperor after having a bad dream. However, even at this point, the author still had reservations about the conduct of the army. He felt that the army had resolved to abandon Hiroshima in its entirety. This is because, the number of military officers left to guard the city was too small and even those who were left stayed there as if they were hiding from something. Given the fact that the hospital is surrounded by a lot of military establishments and facilities; the doctor was worried that if left unguarded as it was, it was going to be the epicenter of another attack by the enemy. Even though Dr. Hachiya would not completely trust the army and changed positions about his support for them, his unwavering support remained with the emperor all through.
Hachiya, Michihiko. Hiroshima Diary; The Journal of a Japanese Physician, August 6- September 30, 1945. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1962.