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“There are, of course, even sadder stories. One girl, for example, happened to see her hospital chart, on which was written ‘myeloid leukemia’, and then hanged herself. Whenever I hear such stories, I feel we are fortunate that ours is not a Christian country. I feel an almost complete relief that a dogmatic Christian sense of guilt did not prevent the girl from taking her own life. None of us survivors can morally blame her. We have only the freedom to remember the existence of ‘people who did not kill themselves in spite of their misery.’ My personal feeling about myself is that I, as a Japanese, might be the kind of person who, if attacked by cancer, would hang himself without any sense of guilt or fear of hell. At least, I doubt that I am qualified to prevent others from committing suicide. I am, as it were, too corroded by a sort of spiritless mold. Being such a person, I regain courage when I encounter the thoroughly and fundamentally human sense of morality in the Hiroshima people ‘who do not kill themselves in spite of their misery.’”

-Kenzaburo Oe, Hiroshima Notes (pp. 84)