Program Contents

The Untold Truth

-American Victims of the Atomic Bomb-

First aired 17:00-17:54 Friday, August 6, 2004
(Re-run) 24:55-25:50 Friday, August 6, 2004

What is the meaning of "peace" that was conveyed by the American prisoners of war killed by the atomic bomb dropped by their home country?
Through the eyes of the families of the US POWs killed in Hiroshima, this documentary presents us the question of what war is all about.

Project Initiative

Over 60 years has passed since the first atomic bombing in human history. Despite Hiroshima’s ongoing appeal for "No More Hiroshima", war and conflict continue to be repeated in various parts of the world. The nuclear non-proliferation system is in danger of collapse, and nuclear fears envelope our present. That summer, of 1945, the atomic bomb showed off its nuclear power to the world. With one single nuclear weapon, 140,000 people in Hiroshima were robbed of their lives, including at least a dozen American prisoners of war. We have learned from materials disclosed after the war that although the United States had information on the likelihood of American POWs in Hiroshima, they ignored it. It is possible that US authorities avoided publishing these facts because they feared criticism of the atomic bombings that the majority of the Americans had supported, and that would have a significant impact on the nuclear strategy after the Second World War.

This program interviews the families of American POWs whose plane had crashed in Yamaguchi Prefecture off the coast of Yanai City in July 1945 and later died in the atomic bomb; Thomas Cartwright, former captain of the B-24 bomber Lonesome Lady, who lost his men in the atomic bomb; citizens of Hiroshima who witnessed the tragedy of US POWs just after the atomic bombing; and a former military police officer who investigated the captives at the Chugoku Military Police unit. We focus on the mindset of these people who live in the United States, where even today, there are deep-rooted voices justifying the atomic bomb, saying that it “hastened the end of the war”, while we appeal the tragedy brought about by war and the preciousness of peace.

Program Commentary

Madness directed at American POWs

In the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum there are approximately 20 pictures drawn by citizens, concerning American prisoners of war. Depicted there, is the tragedy of the American soldiers who were exposed to the atomic bomb; citizens hitting the American soldiers that were injured by a bomb dropped by their own country, with sticks. That summer, under the mushroom cloud, one woman saw the American POWs. She remembers, “I felt sorry for them, but after being subject to such cruel treatment, it didn’t make sense not to hit the American soldiers. In a war where American soldiers are the enemy, it was a natural feeling.” It was a scene of tragedy and insanity brought about by war.

Pain suffered by the former captain of a B-24 bomber

“I am one of the few Americans who lost something very dear to me in the atomic bombing. War brings destruction and hatred. It is my responsibility to convey the facts of history,” says Thomas Cartwright, who lives in Utah (2004, then 80 years of age). He was the captain of a B-24 bomber that was hit while attacking Kure Bay on July 28, 1945, and crashed into Yanai City, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Of the nine crew members on board, one was killed. Mr. Cartwright and another were taken to Tokyo and the remaining six were sent to the Chugoku Military Police unit, where they are said to have died as a result of the atomic bomb.

Justification of the A-bombs by a brother who lost his younger brother in the atomic bombing

“If the atomic bomb had not been dropped, there would have been many more victims both from our country and Japan.” Defending the atomic bombing is Francis Ryan (residing in Georgia, 2004), who lost his younger brother Sergeant James Ryan (20 at time of death) to the atomic bomb. Having been raised in a family of soldiers, he met the captain of the Enola Gay in 2002, despite the sorrow of losing his younger brother. When asked about the captain, who said that he was unaware of any American POWs, he says, “I believe him. I have no hatred towards him or the American government.”

Recollection of a former Japanese Army Military Police officer

“I was spared from experiencing the atomic bombing because I was away in Tokyo on business. Immediately after the atomic bombing, the Military Police was in a sorry state. After the War ended, as the only military police officer alive, I tried the best I could to inform the GHQ regarding what there was to know about the POWs. There was no time for human feelings. I still hate the people who made the atomic bomb.” These are the words of Mr. Akitaka Fujita (89 years old in 2004, residing in Shunan, Yamaguchi Prefecture), as he looks back on his investigation of the American prisoners of war at the Chugoku Military Police Unit. He delivered the remains of the American soldiers who had lost their lives to the atomic bomb while in their cells at the Military Police unit.

Peace monument at the bomber crash site

At the crash site in Yanai City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, said to have been where the B-24 bomber met its end, a peace monument was erected half a century after the War ended. Of course, it was not to commemorate the shooting down of an enemy plane, but was erected by the local people to mourn the deaths of the American POWs due to the atomic bomb. There were some voices against it, questioning the necessity of building a monument for the enemy, but it was built as a mission for those who experienced war and know how foolish it is. The monument would serve to continue the prayer that the tragedy of war would never be repeated, regardless of who the enemy or friend is.

Director Noriko Wakaki

When US President Obama visited Hiroshima on May 27, 2016, I covered the story. The first thing that crossed my mind was interviewing the bereaved families of the “American soldiers who died in the atomic bombing” for this program. I will never forget the time a family member responded to my interview, saying with great difficulty that, “the government only said he died in Hiroshima”. Those people who allowed me to interview them have since passed away. I can’t help but wonder how they would have felt if they had listened to Mr. Obama’s speech.

I would very much like people from around the world to watch this program and think again, about the meaning of war.


Noriko Wakaki became involved in press coverage upon joining the company as a press reporter. She then went to New York for three years to gain experience as an overseas correspondent for FNN. Following her return, she would serve as the main newscaster for TSS Super News FNN. She now produces TSS Prime Friday (aired Fridays at 4:47 p.m.) where she delivers a wide range of information from her own perspective.

Shin-Hiroshima Telecasting, Co.

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