A SONG FOR NAGASAKI

Paul Glynn

 

Takashi Nagai is born in southern Japan. The two major cities nearby are Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Raised in a household based on filial beliefs of Confucius, young Takashi is loath to challenge traditional Japanese society. But European science is sweeping across Japan and upon graduating high school, he enrolls in Nagasaki University. He studies intently and becomes a physician specializing in radiology.

As the Sino/Japanese War erupts, Nagai is called to the war front. There he is forced to confront the meaning of life and the political purposes of Japan’s military leaders. He has no religious faith and loses himself.  On leave from the war, Nagai meets a Christian woman in Nagasaki, named Midori Moriyama. Takashi is moved by her sincere faith and joyful life. After reading the French philosopher, Blaise Pascal, he realizes that his atheism and belief in scientific progress cannot fill the huge hole he feels in his heart.

With the help of the beautiful Midori, Nagai converts to Catholicism. They are soon happily married. But Japan’s evil military leaders soon launch a second war with a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Dr. Nagai warns the students at Nagasaki University of the terrible sufferings that will be inflicted upon Japan during WWII. They are shocked and stunned at his “disloyal” statements. Throughout the war, Nagai continues to improve X-ray techniques in Nagasaki and develops radiation treatments for those suffering from tuberculosis.

At the same time he continues to grow in grace and holiness. Then on Aug. 9, 1945, while at work in his hospital, the atomic bomb explodes, destroying most of Nagasaki and killing thousands. Over the next five years, until his death from radiation sickness, Takashi Nagai will become a symbol of light conquering darkness throughout Japan and the world.  What did Dr. Nagai do to accomplish this? How does his entire life become one with Jesus on Calvary? Why in the midst of all the evil that enveloped the world in 1945 does his life so brilliantly give an example of authentic love? What role does the Blessed Virgin have in his work? How does grace transform Takashi Nagai? To find out the answers to these questions we have to read this marvellous book that will edify and enlighten readers.

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