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A Song for Nagasaki: The Story of Takashi Nagai: Scientist, Convert, and Survivor of the Atomic Bomb
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A Song for Nagasaki: The Story of Takashi Nagai: Scientist, Convert, and Survivor of the Atomic Bomb

4.62  ·  Rating Details ·  229 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
On August 9, 1945, an American B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, killing tens of thousands of people in the blink of an eye, while fatally injuring and poisoning thousands more. Among the survivors was Takashi Nagai, a pioneer in radiology research and a convert to the Catholic Faith. Living in the rubble of the ruined city and suffering from leukemia caused ...more
Paperback, 267 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Ignatius Press (first published July 1st 1989)
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Clif Hostetler
Aug 12, 2015 Clif Hostetler rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This is a biography of Takashi Nagai (1908-1951), a Japanese physician and survivor of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. He is well known for his efforts to help the victims of the Nagasaki atom bomb despite his own injuries and loss of his wife during the bomb blast. He was a physician specializing in radiology and used his knowledge to write descriptions of symptoms of radiation sickness. He himself suffered from leukemia brought on by exposure to radiation in his work with early x-ray equipment ...more
Julie Davis
Feb 12, 2014 Julie Davis rated it it was amazing
In 1928 young Takashi Nagai was a medical student at the top of his class. An atheist, he passionately believed that science held the key to the future of the human race. He loved his country and believed the "spirit of Japan" would improve his nation's future.

Then came a telegram that sent him racing home to be with his mother as she died. And his world changed.
"I rushed to her bedside. She was still breathing. She looked fixedly at me, and that's how the end came. My mother in that last penetr
Dhanaraj Rajan
Dec 04, 2013 Dhanaraj Rajan rated it it was amazing
One of the most beautiful biographies I have read. It talks about Takashi Nagai who survived the atomic bomb in Nagasaki. In the fatal event he lost much. He should have been a man reduced to meaninglessness. He had all the reasons needed to hate mankind and God. But then he did the opposite. He complained about nothing and loved God more and gave a hope to all the other survivors. Moreover, he was like a Japanese St. Augustine. Initially he was not a believer in Catholicism. He was a seeker of ...more
Dec 03, 2013 Jaye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a rare gem. It is the story of the life of Takashi Nagai, who becomes a Catholic Christian. His faith survives and maintains him through the bombing Nagasaki, which kills his wife, who dies with a rosary in her hand, and ultimately brings about Nagai's death. Aside from Nagai's personal story, we learn of the history of Christians in and around Nagasaki.

The first time I read this book, it had been loaned to me with strict admonition for its return. My father had been led to hunt i
I great admire Takashi Nagai, the holy man of Japan, who is the subject of this biography. A doctor and professor of radiology at the university in Nagasaki, he was also a Catholic, having married into one of the old Catholic families of Nagasaki, old as in, having somehow kept the faith over generations and generations without priests, sacraments or churches, and suffering additional dreadful persecutions. His beloved wife was incinerated in the atomic blast; his children were visiting relative ...more
Dec 03, 2013 Kris rated it it was amazing
Absolutely beautiful. Easily placed on my favorites shelf. I loved how so much information on Shintoism, Confucianism, and the history of Christianity in Japan were woven seamlessly into this biography. One of the most inspiring bios, I've read -- it ranks right up there with Immaculee Ilibagiza's Left to Tell. Both lived through immense tragedies, but both maintain(ed) a strong sense of God's goodness and grace.
I think I need to read this one again, more slowly this time, to soak up the lyrica
Dec 03, 2013 Mandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what to say, really, except that this was one of the most exceptional true-life stories I've ever read. Instead of burdening anyone with what I got out of it, I welcome you to read it yourself and glean what you will on your own.

Synopsis: The story of Dr. Takashi Nagai who was a pioneer for Radiology in Japan at the University of Nagasaki at the time the Atomic Bomb was dropped on the city. He also undertook a surprising religious journey that lead him to Christianity, by far a mino
Clarwin Castro
Dec 03, 2013 Clarwin Castro rated it it was amazing
A very good read. I wish I was able to read it continuously, not in spurts spanning a few months. But anyway.. It was very good. :)

"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church."
Dec 03, 2013 TJ rated it it was amazing
A marvelous book about an incredible witness of faith & trust in God's Providence, Takashi Nagai. His story will stay with me. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book.
Christina Grace
Jun 21, 2016 Christina Grace rated it it was amazing
This is the book that has influenced me most (in my adult life). I cannot recommend it highly enough.
احمد هلال
Jan 18, 2011 احمد هلال rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-i-return
الحمد لله رب العالمين
كتاب اغنية من اجل نجازاكى هذا الكتاب كتبه العالم والأديب اليابانى تاكاشى نجائى ويبدو انه غير اسمه من تاكاشى الى بول بعد ان دخل فى العقيدة الكاثوليكية المهم ان الكتاب تحفة فنية انسانية بارعة رائعة , فبداية تم ترجمة هذا الكتاب من اليابانية الى الفرنسية ومن الفرنسية تم الترجمة الى اللغات الاخرى , و منها نسختنا العربية التى صدرت ضمن مشروع الألف كتاب برقم 238 بعنوان كبير أجراس ناجازاكى وتحته تعريف صغير يقول : مذكرات احد ضحايا القنبلة الذرية .مكتبة الآداب هى من قامت بالنشر لصالح م
Patrick Costello
Dec 27, 2014 Patrick Costello rated it it was amazing
The story of Takashi Nagai is so powerful and Paul Glynn captures the profound spirituality and uniquely Japanese aspects of Nagai's life in this biography. It is certainly a companion to Nagai's famous "The Bells of Nagasaki" and is helpful to read concurrently as this biography shows the full story of Nagai becoming a holy man, from his days as a skeptical medical student, to the battlefields of Manchuria, to the atomic horror of Nagasaki, to his work in promoting peace and authentic religion ...more
Aug 21, 2015 Joe rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have read. It is a compelling, touching, and inspiring story that provides an unbiased view of one of the most horrible events in human history while simultaneously offering a path of hope, redemption and joy. The book is well written and not only tells the story of Takashi Nagai, but also provides some invaluable insight into how we should approach life.
Karyn Yager
Dec 03, 2013 Karyn Yager rated it it was amazing
I devoured this book in about two days. It is a story that will appeal to many people: those interested in Japan, WWII, the effects of the a-bomb, the development of x-rays and other medical techniques, and spirituality. The beginning of the story tells of Takashi's conversion to Christianity and his life as a scientist in Nagasaki. The description of the after-effects of the atomic bomb were a bit graphic, but the world needs to remember the power of this terrible weapon. The book says that if ...more
Fernando de Uña
El libro narra la conversión y la vida del Dr Nagai, radiólogo converso al cristianismo, acogido en la comunidad de Nagasaki y víctima de la bomba atómica, que perdonó y supo ver la mano de Dios en lo que acontecía a su pueblo. El autor va introduciendo al lector en la cultura y costumbres niponas, especialmente en lo referente al cristianismo japonés, introduciendo habilmente reflexiones del propio Nagai, crónica histórica, explicaciones culturales, dichos y poemas, etc. El resultado final es u ...more
Dec 03, 2013 Leann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith, autobiography
This book tells the story of life in Nagasaki before, during, and after World War II. It begins with a history of Christianity in Japan, including the persecution and execution of many. There is a first person account of battles with Chinese troops in Manchuria, the development of Western medicine in Japan, and the attitudes and fears of the people about war with America.

I recommend this book for people interested in Christianity in the Far East, people interested in military history, and people
Dec 03, 2013 Bev rated it really liked it
If we could all be as wise and full of faith as Takashi Nagai, this would be such a better world!! This amazing man could have been hardened and embittered after an atomic bomb wiped out his home, his wife, and so much more, but instead he inspired and uplifted others in the midst of so much tragedy. This biography not only follows Nagai's early life, his conversion to Catholicism, his work with radiology, and his sufferings with radiation illness, but also enhances the story by sprinkling in th ...more
Dec 03, 2013 Heidi rated it really liked it
I found this to be an incredibly inspirational book. Dr. Nagai's spiritual quest is one that I think many can relate to. However, most do not suffer the horrors that he had to endure. That he found faith and remained steadfast in it through all he endured is what is most incredible to me. While many would become bitter and angry toward God, Nagai's experiences only strengthened his devotion.
Cassie Hanson
Dec 03, 2013 Cassie Hanson rated it it was amazing
This is a very interesting story about finding Christianity. I loved how Nagai's moment of believing in an afterlife came from watching the separation of his mother's soul and physical body upon her death. After losing people close to me, this is a very true reality at the moment of death. There is something that continues to live beyond the physical being.
Dec 03, 2013 Cal rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan, nonfiction
I have nothing bad I could say about this book. It was an attention grabber and holder, inspiring, tragic, and... all around really good. It deals with a horrible piece of history with grace and insight and leaves me feeling hopeful instead of beaten up like most WWII books. This is a book almost anyone could love.
Dec 03, 2013 Noonie rated it it was amazing
I agree with another review on this page. I couldn't put it down. It was very intense in some portions. The descriptions of what the explosion was like and the aftermath are incredible. Dr. Nagai's life should be required reading for high school students who are studying Asian history.
Dec 03, 2013 Rafdi rated it it was amazing
A truly excellent life story of Takashi Nagai. Even though I'm not a catholic, the life of Takashi Nagai was truly one to behold. One of the best reads I've ever come across. The author combines his own research and Nagai's books to create an inspiration and insightful view.
Dec 03, 2013 Megan rated it it was amazing
An incredible read!! Definitely recommend for anyone interested in Japanese history mixed with a conversion story from Shinto to atheism to Catholicism. Beautiful read, very moving story, and wonderful thoughts about the terrible events that took place during WWII.
Vicki Andrada
Sep 15, 2016 Vicki Andrada rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! I had wanted to read it for over a year since reading something about Takashi Nagai. I can't now remember where I read it now, but I was struck by what I read then, and wanted to know more about this man. I was not disappointed I can tell you!

I can't say enough about this book, as it speaks for itself. I will only say that I believe we can learn from such people, so much from such people. Takashi Nagai went through great suffering, and that suffering just brought hi
Mar 05, 2014 Madison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot even begin to explain how much I appreciated, and, I'll be honest, loved this book. It really helped me realize a lot of truths about life that I've been ignorant of. Takashi Nagai is a truly inspiring figure.
Dec 03, 2013 Zjjohnston rated it really liked it
Recommended to Zjjohnston by: Jack Price
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is definitely different from anything I've read before, so I feel as though I've learned much. The life of Takashi Nagai is an amazing story.
Aug 11, 2016 Marita rated it it was amazing
What an impressive man! I didn't know much about the Nagasaki Christians, so this book provided great background as well as introducing me to one of the reasons that Nagasaki's memorials of the nuclear bomb are about peace - not just anti-Americanism. The story of this scientist's discovery of Christianity and its integration into his research and service after his conversion was also quite inspiring. Reading about the sacrifices he underwent to continue both his research and peace evangelizatio ...more
Raphael Mercikovsky
Dec 03, 2013 Raphael Mercikovsky rated it it was amazing
Very moving story of selfless service. It was very interesting to learn about the atomic bomb from those who experienced it's destruction.
Diane Low
Apr 25, 2015 Diane Low rated it really liked it
The first half or a little more was boring. I would have not kept reading if it weren't for my theology course. However, I am glad I read this book. I always heard about the Hiroshima bombing, but never about the Nagasaki bombing. I even have relatives in Japan and visited Hiroshima twice. I never even heard of Nagai before either. I am really inspired by him. As a premed student, I aspire to become a physician like him. I also hope to not complain as much and trust God to guide me. I am amazed ...more
May 15, 2014 Courtney rated it it was amazing
One of the most amazing biographies/conversion stories I've ever read. I find it hard to believe that I had never heard of him in my school career. Nagai seems like the world's unlikeliest convert--culturally, intellectually, philosophically. But his mother's death forced him to question his scientific atheism. He turns to Pascal's Pensées for answers, and becomes curious enough about Catholic spirituality to undertake his greatest experiment--boarding with a Catholic family in order to observe ...more
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“Unless you have suffered and wept, you really don’t understand what compassion is, nor can you give comfort to someone who is suffering. If you haven’t cried, you can’t dry another’s eyes. Unless you’ve walked in darkness, you can’t help wanderers find the way. Unless you’ve looked into the eyes of menacing death and felt its hot breath, you can’t help another rise from the dead and taste anew the joy of being alive.” 1 likes
“Suffering, gracefully accepted, refines the human heart, and the experience of darkness sharpens the vision of the spirit.” 1 likes
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