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An article about a playwright/actor who is doing a one-man play, in the style of Noh drama, on Dr. Takashi Nagai

When an atomic bomb exploded in Nagasaki, Japan, Aug. 9, 1945, Dr. Takashi Nagai was at the medical college where he was a radiologist. Looking out the window of the concrete building he was in, Dr. Nagai watched his “beloved students” burn to death in a ball of fire. Two days later he found his wife’s body at their home. These deaths were among the 73,884 people killed and 74,909 people injured by the bombing of Nagasaki. Nearly all life within a one-kilometer radius was destroyed.

From the rubble, Dr. Nagai roused himself to form a relief effort. He was able to use his knowledge of radiation sickness to help the injured, but his efforts to seek healing were not restricted to medical care. He built a hut on the site where his house had stood and spent the rest of his life there praying, writing poetry, meeting with visitors and working for peace. Many in Japan consider him a saint and pray that one day he’ll be recognized as one.

Now the story of his life is being dramatized by an American actor who has never set foot in Japan and had never heard of Dr. Nagai until just over a year ago.

More on Dr. Nagai, from the late Gerard Serafin’s pages

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