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“The Atomic Bomb on My Back” book release marks 75th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings

Nuclear disarmament expert Dr. Joseph Gerson continues the work of author Taniguchi Sumiteru  

Protest at Nuclear Missile Site
Protesters walk towards a nuclear missile silo during an anti-nuclear-weapons vigil. Photo: Maddy Medina / AFSC

CAMBRIDGE, MA (July 30, 2020) – On August 9, Rootstock Publishing will release the English language translation of The Atomic Bomb on My Back: A Life Story of Survival and Activism by Taniguchi Sumiteru. Taniguchi Sumiteru was a survivor (hibakusha ) of the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki, a prominent activist for a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons, chairman of the Nagasaki Council of A-Bomb Survivors, and co-chairperson of the Japan Confederation of A-and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo). He remained active until his death in 2017.

Joseph Gerson has worked closely with the Japanese peace movement and Hibakusha (witness/survivors of the A-bombs) for three decades. He was privileged to know and work with Taniguchi Sumiteru over much of this period. In addition to editing The Bomb on My Back, Dr. Gerson arranged its publication with Rootstock Publishers

“If we are to reduce and remove the threat of nuclear annihilation, we must confront the terrible crimes of the unnecessary and indiscriminate A-bombings Hiroshima and Nagasaki,” says Gerson. “Taniguchi-san’s memoir takes us deep into human consequences of those crimes against humanity and the Hibakusha’s warning that ‘Human beings and nuclear weapons cannot coexist.’” 

As we approach the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings, Dr. Gerson will again be a keynote speaker in the World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs originating in Tokyo and for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in Britain and Peace Action in the United States. He has also organized several webinars that featured the Secretary General of Nihon Hidankyo, the Japanese Confederation of A- & H- bomb Sufferers’ Organizations (which Taniguchi-san helped to create), scholars Gar Alperovitz, Elaine Scarry, and Bill Hartung, and the Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign Rev. Liz Theoharis.

 “Taniguchi’s extraordinary personal courage has been a source of inspiration for me,” says Gerson. “I hope readers will be similarly inspired and will take actions to create the nuclear-free world that is essential for human survival.” 


The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that includes people of various faiths who are committed to social justice, peace and humanitarian service. Its work is based on the belief in the worth of every person and faith in the power of love to overcome violence and injustice.