Born in Hiroshima in 1905, Hara was a survivor of the bombing of Hiroshima. The experience of the bomb and the death of his wife were primary themes in his writing. He thought of himself as "a new kind of human being brought down to earth by one shot from the atomic bomb," His best known work, a novel, Summer Flowers, was released in June, 1947. Many believe his final work, The Land of Heart’s Desire, 1951, was Hara’s suicide note. Hara was extremely desponded at the outbreak of the Korean War. Fearing a repeat of history, Hara threw himself in front of an on-coming train in Tokyo, ending his life on March 13, 1951. Hara’s last poem appears on a monument at Hiroshima built in his honor. A selection of Hara’s writing is also included in the Hiroshima case study, found in the first module of this series.
This is a human being?
Look how the atom bomb changed it.
Flesh swells fearfully.
All men and women take one shape.
The voice that trickles from swollen lips
on the festering, charred-black face
whispers the thin words.
"Please help me."
This, this is a human being.
This is the face of a human being.