Hiroshima: Honorary Doctorate Awarded to 91-year-old A-bomb Survivor

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Setsuko Thurlow receives a bouquet of flowers after concluding a commemorative lecture on May 15.

HIROSHIMA — Setsuko Thurlow, a survivor of the atomic bomb that devastated Hiroshima in 1945, was awarded an honorary doctorate in literature by her alma mater, Hiroshima Jogakuin University, on May 15.

Thurlow, 91, is now a Canadian resident. When the bomb exploded, she was just 1.8 kilometers from the blast’s hypocenter. She was a 13-year-old student of a girls’ school, the predecessor of the women’s university.

Despite being buried beneath a collapsed building, she managed to claw her way to survival. However, the bomb claimed the lives of her sister, nephew and multiple classmates.

In 1954, Thurlow studied social welfare at a U.S university, before marrying a Canadian national and relocating to Toronto. Since then, she has advocated against nuclear weapons, spreading her message on the global stage and becoming a strong presence in the movement for nuclear disarmament.

In recognition of her achievements, the university presented her with an honorary degree during her recent visit to Japan. After delivering a lecture to about 500 students, Thurlow held a press conference where she expressed optimism regarding the future.

“It’s truly heartening to witness younger generations in Japan and around the world actively advocate for an end to nuclear weapons,” she said. “I fervently hope young people will continue to learn. I encourage them to read voraciously and seek insightful discussions with experts.”