We have observed that physical fears experienced in relationship to early radiation effects could turn into lifetime bodily concerns. During the years that followed, these fears and concerns became greatly magnified by a development which has come to epitomize the hibakusha's third encounter with death: his growing awareness that medical studies were demonstrating an abnormally high rate of leukemia among survivors of the atomic bomb. There has thus arisen the scientifically inaccurate but emotionally charged term "A-bomb disease," which has taken for its medical model this always fatal malignancy of the blood- forming organs.
The increased incidence of leukemia was first noted in 1948, and reached a peak between 1950 and 1952. It has been greatest in hibakusha exposed closest to the hypocenter, mainly those who were within two thousand meters; for those within a thousand meters the incidence of leukemia has been between ten and fifty times the normal. 1 Since 1952 the rate has considerably diminished, but it is still higher than in non-exposed populations, and fears remain strong. The symptoms of leukemia, moreover, rather closely resemble those of earlier radiation effects, including the dreaded "purple spots" and other kinds of hemor-