Kan Moonhee, leader of support group for Korean A-bomb victims, dies at 95

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

It was learned on September 5 that Kan Moonhee, the longtime chair of the Special Committee Seeking Measures for the Korean A-bomb Victims at the Hiroshima Headquarters of the Korean Residents Union in Japan (Mindan), died on August 15 at the age of 95. People recalled his warmth as a person and praised his achievements in supporting A-bomb survivors living in South Korea.

Mr. Kan was originally from South Chungcheong Province, located in midwestern South Korea. He moved to Hiroshima before the war and experienced the atomic bombing at a munitions factory in the Eba district (now part of Naka Ward) when he was 26. His father and younger brother were killed in the A-bomb attack. After the war, he was involved in the establishment of the Hiroshima headquarters of Mindan, and devoted himself to pursuing fact-finding surveys of South Korean A-bomb survivors and providing them with support.

Jeong Gihwa, 55, secretary general of the Hiroshima headquarters, said, “Mr. Kan always had warm and encouraging words for younger members and showed us the road we should follow. We will follow in his footsteps and continue lending support to A-bomb survivors.”

Mr. Kan had been in the hospital for the last 10 years. But on August 6, 2010, he met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who was in Hiroshima to attend the annual Peace Memorial Ceremony. Mr. Kan said that he wanted to see the secretary-general achieve the elimination of nuclear weapons. Sunao Tsuboi, 89, chair of the Hiroshima Prefectural Confederation of A-bomb Sufferers Organizations, said, “Mr. Kan was a gentle person, but he had a strong heart and a sincere spirit. He was the kind of person that people wanted to be like.”

(Originally published on September 6, 2014)