Nature Immersion in an Extreme Environment: Hiroshima Survivors’ Personal Emergence Following Their Atomic Bomb Experience
1.1. Literature Related to Nature Immersion
1.2. Introduction to Qualitative Research Analysis
- Transferability (parallel to external validity): Findings are more transferable if there is purposive sampling and detailed rich description, qualities addressed through recruitment of documented Hiroshima survivors and reporting of direct quotes that support the thematic findings.
- Confirmability (parallel to objectivity): Findings are confirmable when another researcher can observe and audit activities to affirm plans for data preparation, collection, and analysis. In this instance, the researcher kept detailed records of interpretive thought processes and decisions which ensued from the processes, sharing records with parent study researchers for peer debriefing.
- Credibility (parallel to internal validity): Findings are credible when investigated with other researchers to consider comparative analysis and triangulation of findings. The data collection process contributes to credibility when the participants’ narratives are honored with inquiry that ensues without researcher bias. In this study, all researchers used a structured data-gathering approach that called for non-judgmental authentic presence. The research team had worked together for more than a decade prior to data collection, allowing for trusted engagement. Engagement occurred throughout all phases of analysis including this secondary analysis.
2. Materials and Methods
“This one girl, she must have been freshman or sophomore at girls school, no injuries, no burns, she was well, and she just was munching away those rice balls, she probably ate 2 or more. Next morning when I woke up, she was laying all cold right next to where I slept. If I think about it now, it’s the radiation, you know? I should have asked her name and address at least, I couldn’t think that far. I feel bad.”
They originally had been stuck up here in my leg, you could feel the bump right in there… I have less recovery power than normal people and it’d take much longer if I had a surgery. So I thought I’d rather not to have surgery if I absolutely don’t have to. I never thought it’d come all the way down to sole though.
“Doctors didn’t know what was causing (jaundice), no medicine, just eat well and take enough rest. I don’t remember exactly for how long but must have been like for a month or so, I had rested… Luckily jaundice had gone away maybe because I had been resting like I was told; I could function OK, didn’t have tiredness or heaviness of body”.
I tried to kill myself many times. But at the end, I pictured my father in my mind, then I couldn’t carry it out. What is going to happen if I died? My father, he had managed to live his life with his own hands, if I’d gone away, what would he think? When I thought about that, I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t carry it out. Many times I’d tried, committed to die, came this close…Born into unhappy society, I only had a father… had gone through so much to raise me. I grew up watching him trying so hard to raise me, every day watching my father work at it had given a lot of positives to my mental strength. If not for that, I wouldn’t have had a power to live through it then.
My father had said to me “it was good”. I thought “what? Good?…how can he say that? Well, he’s not the one who’s in this mess, loosing one eye and has injuries all over the body, of course you can say good” but he said, try to turn it around, think what would have happened if those injuries were deeper, what if you lost both eyes? It’s good, right?…he taught me that it’s all about how you look at things…I kind of got to thinking “you know, instead of loosing both eyes loosing sight completely, I can still see and that is a lucky thing if I think about it”.
So we were all lined up and about to start (cleaning up the rubbles), then this Pika! (flash of bright light) came from my left and that earthshaking sound. Split second, can’t see anything, couldn’t breathe, thinking in my head “this must be death”. When things got calm, Hiroshima had already turned into ashes”.
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|(a) Personal emergence||Healing that is an embodied force generating via self-organization of internal self-dimensions with external dimensions of nature to overcome disharmony and create harmony (e.g., among the cells to patch a wound together, transcending past and present memories to let go of emotions).||Self-healing|
|(b) Connecting with earthy materials||Sinking gently without intention to earthy constituents of nature including the organic and inorganic on Mother Earth, visible as the sunlight, invisible as sounds, tangible as stones, and intangible as scent. A personally developing relationship with any and all levels of the living and/or nonliving systems, physically and spiritually.||Nature|
|(c) Space-time expansion||Spatial-temporal sensitivity and expansion beyond nature immersion occasions in the past impacting personal emergence in here-and-now and possibly throughout the cycles of life.||Distance from epicenter and time taken for sense of perceived health|
|Characteristics of the Participants and Self-Reported Health Experiences||%||M||SD|
|Age at the time of the A-bombing attack||19|
|Distance in radius from the epicenter (km)||30.6||13.38|
|Within the 5-km radius from the epicenter 1||2.28||1.2|
|Perceived health in general at the time of the interview|
|Main trauma from the A-bombing attack|
|Blast skin cuts with foreign bodies (e.g., pieces of glass)||26|
|A hard blow to the body||9|
|Loss of consciousness||9|
|No major external injuries||13|
|Health experiences within a few days or months after the A-bombing attack|
|Heart diseases (e.g., ischemic heart diseases)||22|
|Blisters and bleeding||13|
|Ongoing or lifelong health experiences after a year from the A-bombing attack onwards|
|Cancer, cysts, tumors||25|
|Rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory diseases||7|
|Metabolic syndromes (diabetes, hyperlipidemia)||7|
|Infectious diseases (e.g., tuberculosis, diphtheria)||7|
|Lower back pain||4|
|Nature Immersion Evidence|
|(a) Personal Emergence||(b) Connecting with Earthy Materials||(c) Space-Time Expansion|
|Self-Healing; Healing Shift||Rhythm-Disorganization||Reorganization Effort||Distance from Epicenter and Time Taken for Sense of Perceived Health|
|“Healing cool on my burns”||Skin burns||Making ointment for burns from flaxseed oils and limestone powders (calcium carbonate) with zinc oxide at a factory. Treating others with burns in the same way as own burns.||2.3 km; a few decades|
|“The blisters that came up on our hands eventually went away”||Secondarily infection to the hands with blisters||Disinfecting gauzes in the boiled water and laying it out on the board to dry under the sun (as taking care of the injured people as a nursing student).||24.3 km; a few decades|
|“The injuries didn’t leave scars or keloids… and gradually disappeared”||Skin burns; easily-induced tiredness||Making cucumber juice on burns ("It was the old countryside remedy") and treating burns with ashes from funeral hall.||2 km; a few years|
|“It (a bleeding wound—a painless deep hole on the lower back) took a year to heal”; “I am healthier compared to days back”||A bleeding wound in a painless deep hole on the lower back||Heading to Funairihonmachi station from Funairihonmachi and further South to the fig farm at night of the bombing, while thinking about whereabouts of the brother and father. “We sat down there (a fig farm) for a moment, me, my younger sister and the neighbor’s baby”; having the wall clay (“filled in a deep hole in my wound”) washed off by the sister.||1.3 km; a few decades|
|“I gained my strength”||Symptomatic diarrhea and nausea||Arriving at western Miyajima by foot and then to hot spring sanatorium.||1 km; a few decades|
|“So in my case (tiredness and heaviness), things settled down within 2 or 3 years”||No major injuries; later diarrhea and tiredness||“I went to the mountain to get clay for him (military doctor at school), he’d mix oil paper and clay and vinegar. After that (some food distribution coming from military), we ran out of onions and pumpkins…”||1 km; a few decades|
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Nagata, M.; Ito, M.; Takahashi, R.; Nishimura, C.; Liehr, P. Nature Immersion in an Extreme Environment: Hiroshima Survivors’ Personal Emergence Following Their Atomic Bomb Experience. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 15894. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192315894
Nagata M, Ito M, Takahashi R, Nishimura C, Liehr P. Nature Immersion in an Extreme Environment: Hiroshima Survivors’ Personal Emergence Following Their Atomic Bomb Experience. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(23):15894. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192315894Chicago/Turabian Style
Nagata, Misako, Mio Ito, Ryutaro Takahashi, Chie Nishimura, and Patricia Liehr. 2022. "Nature Immersion in an Extreme Environment: Hiroshima Survivors’ Personal Emergence Following Their Atomic Bomb Experience" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 23: 15894. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192315894