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Yoko's Diary

Review

Yoko's Diary

Yoko Moriwaki was 13 years old when the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima, Japan. She had just started Level 7 in school and was very happy there. She was required to keep a diary of her daily activities as a class assignment and faithfully recorded a short version of what she did every day.

Because the diary was assigned as a school project, almost all the entries are written in the same format. They include the date, day of the week, weather conditions, what time she got up in the morning and what time she went to bed at night, how much time she spent studying and what chores she did at home. She also includes her thoughts and feelings about the war and what it meant to be a Japanese citizen. The diary entires are interspersed with pages giving additional information about the events Yoko mentions. For instance, Yoko talks about the Imperial Rescript Proclamation Day on May 8th, and the next page of the text is a short explanation of that particular event.

Thanks to Yoko, we have an insider’s glimpse into the lives of Japanese families in Hiroshima before the big bomb dropped.

The date of the first diary entry is April 6th, 1945 and the last entry made by Yoko was on August 5th, the day before Hiroshima was bombed. Yoko was near the epicenter of the blast. Although she initially survived, she was severely burned and died before the end of the day. But her diary lives on. Her family kept it for many years, and her brother, Kohji, had the diary published in Japan in 1996. It is now available in English. The original publication was simply the contents of the diary itself. This version includes the diary in its entirety, along with background information written by Kohji, as well as Yoko’s friends and other family members.

When I read Yoko’s story, I couldn’t help but think about Anne Frank. We know more about the daily lives of Jewish families in Germany who were persecuted during WWII because of Anne; now, thanks to Yoko, we have an insider’s glimpse into the lives of Japanese families in Hiroshima before the big bomb dropped.

Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on September 3, 2014

Yoko's Diary
by Paul Ham

  • Publication Date: September 9, 2014
  • Genres: Children's Nonfiction, History
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dogwise Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 0733331173
  • ISBN-13: 9780733331176