Nagasaki had a glorious Christian history, a lot of martyrs, and a prosperous Catholic community, before the atomic bomb was dropped on the town, on the 9th of August in 1945.
Every year, in August, we remember the two Japanese towns, where the United States dropped two atomic bombs at the end of the second world war. One of the towns, Nagasaki was a flourishing centre of the Catholic faith in Japan, before the bombing.
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Jesuits and the Franciscans built up in the town a Catholic community, that was vigorously persecuted until 1889 when religious liberty was proclaimed in Japan. In 1891, the Diocese of Nagasaki was founded, and, in 1927, the first Japanese bishop, Fr. Hayasaka was consecrated by Pope Pius IX.
In 1929, there were, in all 94.096 Catholics in Japan, 63.698 of them lived in Nagasaki. In 1945, 63 thousand out of the 240 thousand people in Nagasaki were Catholics.
Due to the explosion, two-third parts of these Catholics have lost their lives. According to Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, it was not a coincidence that the Americans dropped the bomb at the Catholic town. He said:
“Let us assume that the atomic bombs were not dropped on random cities. Then the question is unavoidable: why did the Americans decide to drop the second bomb exactly on the Japanese city, where Catholicism had the most glorious history and was the most widespread and consolidated?”
Source: Aleteia Portugal