A Conversation with Dr. James Yamazaki

Dr. James Yamazaki, PSR-LA’s 2008 Socially Responsible Medicine Award recipient, joined us for a special evening conversation at the Japanese American National Museum.

He served as a World War II combat surgeon in the Battle of the Bulge, where he was captured by the Germans and held as a prisoner of war. After the war, the US government asked Dr. Yamazaki to head the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission. From 1949 to 1951, he worked with children in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and with Marshall Islanders who suffered from American postwar nuclear testing. His research focused on the effects of radiation on fetuses and his team discovered devastating abnormalities in babies who were yet unborn when the bombs hit, and numerous mothers experienced still-births or miscarriages.

Upon his return to the US, Dr. Yamazaki continued his dedicated research on the effects of radiation on children, became a clinical professor of pediatrics at UCLA, and maintained a pediatric practice. He is the author of Children of the Atomic Bomb: An American Physician’s Memoir of Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and the Marshall Islands (Duke University Press). In partnership with the UCLA Asian American Studies Center, Dr. Yamazaki established the website:

ChildrenoftheAtomicBomb.com. At the age of ninety-three, Dr. Yamazaki remains an active international speaker, writer and activist against the global proliferation of nuclear weapons. Currently, Dr. Yamazaki resides with his wife, Aki, in White Salmon, Washington.Dr.

Bennett Ramberg (Ph.D., Johns Hopkins, J.D. UCLA) directs the Global Security Seminar series sponsored by PSR-LA. He is a nationally recognized expert on nuclear weapons proliferation, terrorism and international politics. He has been a foreign policy analyst and/or consultant to the Department of State (Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs), U.S. Senate, Nuclear Control Institute, Henry Stimson Center, Global Green and Committee to Bridge the Gap. He also has served as a foreign policy advisor the Presidential campaigns of John Kerry, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. His academic appointments have included positions at Princeton, Stanford, and UCLA. Dr. Ramberg has published six books on international security issues and his journal publications have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Political Science Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Arms Control Today, Group Decision and Negotiation, Communication and the Law and the Croatian Medical Review.

The Japanese American National Museum is the first and largest museum in the United States dedicated to sharing the experience of Americans of Japanese ancestry as an integral part of U.S. history. Its mission is to promote understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. Through its comprehensive collection of Japanese American objects, images and documents, as well as multi-faceted exhibitions, educational programs, documentaries and publications, the National Museum shares the Japanese American story with a national and international audience.

UCLA stduents participating in the filming of "Children of the Atomic Bomb"
UCLA stduents participating in the filming of "Children of the Atomic Bomb"

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