The Day the Sun Rose in the West

The Day the Sun Rose in the West

The Day the Sun Rose in the West: Bikini, the Lucky Dragon, and I is a compelling account of an incident that few of us remember today, but which had an impact far beyond the few fishermen on the Lucky Dragon #5 who were irradiated in the Bravo test sixty-some years ago. It is a glimpse of the world situation at the time through the lens of the unfortunate fate of the ship and its crew. The author captures the tension between Japan and the U.S. over the incident, which occurred soon after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the anti-nuclear testing crusade that was beginning even back then, the self-righteous insistence of a nuclear power on continuing nuclear tests even while asserting limited responsibility for damages, and so much more” -—Francis X. Hezel, S.J., director of Micronesian Seminar

On March 1, 1954, the U.S. exploded a hydrogen bomb at Bikini in the South Pacific. The fifteen-megaton bomb was a thousand times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, and its fallout spread far beyond the official “no-sail” zone the U.S. had designated. Fishing just outside the zone at the time of the blast, the Lucky Dragon #5 was showered with radioactive ash. Making the difficult voyage back to their homeport of Yaizu, twenty-year-old Oishi Matashichi and his shipmates became ill from maladies they could not comprehend. They were all hospitalized with radiation sickness, and one man died within a few months. The Lucky Dragon #5 became the focus of a major international incident, but many years passed before the truth behind U.S. nuclear testing in the Pacific emerged. Late in his life, overcoming social and political pressures to remain silent, Oishi began to speak about his experience and what he had since learned about Bikini. This is his story.

A Latitude 20 Book
May 2011 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3557-6 / $18.00 (PAPER)