Dr. Nagai (1908-51) was a Christian and a member of the Urakami Catholic Church--the largest church in East Asia--that was destroyed by the bomb. One of the most striking parts of the book is his "Funeral Address for the Victims of the Atomic Bomb." In one amazing paragraph in that address Dr. Nagai asks, rhetorically,
"Is there not a profound relationship between the destruction of Nagasaki and the end of the war? Nagasaki, the only holy place in all Japan--was it not chosen as a victim, a pure lamb, to be slaughtered and burned on the altar of sacrifice to expiate the sins committed by humanity in the Second World War?" (p. 107).
Dr. Nagai completed his book in August 1946, just a year after the bombing, but it was not published until 1949. The book was translated by William Johnston, an Irish Catholic missionary to Japan, and published in English in 1984. Father Johnston (b. 1936) also wrote a very insightful introduction to the book. Several years earlier he translated Shusaku Endo's powerful book Silence, and he has also written several books on mysticism.