Ryoichi Sasakawa

Ryoichi Sasakawa, his translator, Linus and Ava Helen Pauling, in Japan, 1980.

Ryoichi Sasakawa was among the most controversial of Linus Pauling’s many acquaintances.  To this day, opinions on Sasakawa tend to polarize: a politician, successful businessman and generous philanthropist, he was also considered by many to be a war criminal.  Many Japanese also referred to him as “kuromaku,” a shadowy force behind the visible power of a nation, because he had a hand in selecting two prime ministers and, as a result of his immense wealth, was a strongly influential player within Japanese politics. Sasakawa was also an avowed anti-communist and erstwhile admirer of Benito Mussolini.

Sasakawa himself admitted that he was a kuromaku – he thought them to be useful in a society where laws were ambiguous and law enforcement was weak. This impulse toward power was, however, couched in the rhetoric of equality – rhetoric that was backed up by vast amounts of charitable giving.  Especially in his later years, Sasakawa publicly espoused the notion that “the world is one family; all mankind are brothers and sisters,” an idea that guided him in his charity work.  Bringing peace to the masses became a stated life goal, and as a rich and powerful kuromaku, Sasakawa saw himself as well-equipped to redistribute resources to the poor and needy of the world.


Ryoichi Sasakawa was born in 1899 to a sake brewer and grew up in a Buddhist household. As a young man he was fascinated by airplanes to the point where he ran away from home to learn to fly and was eventually drafted as a pilot into the Japanese Air Force. He was discharged early from the service, having incurred a shoulder injury while working on an airplane. His military career ended, he returned to his hometown and founded the Konnichi Shimbun newspaper.

Coming from a respected family, having experience in the Air Force and professing a zeal for making things right in the world, Sasakawa became the Councilor of his village at the age of twenty-two. Quickly, he reformed the village council and eradicated a major drinking problem that was tainting the leadership of the village.

At the same time that he was dabbling in politics and the press, Sasakawa began accumulating his fortune by investing in the rice exchange. As his wealth began to grow, a business rival grew jealous and had Sasakawa arrested for “charges unknown.” In anticipation of such an event, Sasakawa had effectively sheltered his money before his arrest and emerged from the incident unscathed.

Not after long Sasakawa was released from prison, World War II engulfed the Pacific.  Already a successful regional leader, Sasakawa decided to involve himself further in the realm of national politics. Rather quickly, Sasakawa and Isoroku Yamamoto – the Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet during World War II and, over time, a friend of Sasakawa’s – came to be known as the the rightist leaders of the time. Both favored the ideals of fascism.

While Sasakawa and Yamamoto both spoke out against the outbreak of war, the two men were also strong patriots. As a result, the duo did all that they could to contribute to the success of Japan and its war effort. Notably, in 1932, Sasakawa became the leader of the nationalistic Volunteer Air Corps and “muscled in on a lucrative supply trade for the armed forces,” during the era of the Manchukuo government. These “supply trades” included traffic in both military goods and opium. In justifying his actions, Sasakawa stated, “once at war you must go all the way.”

Sasakawa was a strong advocate for Yamamoto, and because the United States viewed Yamamoto as a warmonger “bent on personally leading the Japanese forces into Washington,” the U.S. also put Sasakawa on its watch list.  With the defeat of Japan in 1945, Sasakawa’s support of Yamamoto, coupled with his extreme nationalism and his having been a “prime move[r] in developing Japan’s totalitarianism and aggression,” earned him the label of war criminal. Sasakawa was ordered by Douglas MacArthur’s General Headquarters to face the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal, and did so with pride and cheering supporters. During his time in prison he became an icon for a segment of the Japanese public.

Sasakawa greeting card, 1980.

As punishment for his war activities, Sasakawa was sentenced to be hanged.  In 1948, however, he was released from prison for unknown reasons – the CIA is rumored to have played a role in his being freed.  By his own account, during his time in prison, Sasakawa made a vow that, if he survived his ordeal, he would dedicate his life to preventing war and seeking world peace. After his release he vowed to stay out of the politics for the remainder of his life. He wrote a resolution so as to further confirm this promise to himself and others. The opening paragraph of this resolution is as follows:

The most horrible sin on earth is killing, with war being the paramount example. Despite the dedicated efforts of numerous people in the cause to end all wars, human history has shown us nothing but a repetition of wars. We cannot possibly account for all the victims of wars to date, but the number would be unimaginable. The only way to allow the souls of the war dead to rest in peace is to bring about everlasting world peace and rid the earth forever of the horror of war, building a heaven on earth where all people can live in harmony as brothers and sisters. There is no doubt in my mind that anyone dedicated to this worthy cause is abiding by the will of Heaven and will enjoy eternal life. May God protect and lead us in our efforts to achieve an early realization of our goal.

While in prison Sasakawa also developed an interest in powerboat racing through reading magazines, and once released from prison he introduced motorboat racing and gambling to Japan, eventually founding the Japan Ship Promotion Company. He was able to accumulate trillions of yen annually as a result of the success of this new venture. He was also able to exploit legislative loopholes that aided him in preserving his fortune.


Bust of Sasakawa installed at the World Health Organization headquarters, undated.

Before he died in 1995, Sasakawa stepped up his efforts to help others in need and to “brighten his tarnished image,” especially by promoting good health. Over time Sasakawa’s Nippon Foundation, also known as the Japanese Shipbuilding Foundation, devoted substantial sums to a wide variety of health-related projects. Working with the United Nations, the World Health Organization and a host of other groups, the Foundation allocated tens of millions of dollars toward efforts to cure smallpox and leprosy, to control parasites and hunger in impoverished nations, to study population control worldwide and to provide disaster relief.

Sasakawa also worked with U.S. President Jimmy Carter to promote amicable relations among the world’s people through a project called The Friendship Force. He likewise created the B & G Foundation, which built exercise facilities in hopes of fostering sound minds and healthy bodies for young people. For his efforts he was, in 1975, awarded the presidency of the Japanese Science Society and, in 1980, given the Golden Heart Presidential Award by the President of the Philippines for his fight against leprosy.

Jimmy Carter, Ryoichi Sasakawa and Linus Pauling, 1986.

It was in this light that Sasakawa also chose to support Linus Pauling and his research on vitamin C. Having heard of Pauling’s work on the common cold, the flu and cancer, Sasakawa traveled to the U.S. in June 1980 to meet Pauling in person. While there, the two men discussed the possibility of initiating a program of research the focus of which would be fighting leprosy with vitamin C. Pauling suggested contacts elsewhere who might be able to pursue this line of work, though research of that type was not something that the Institute was equipped to support.

The meeting planted the seeds of a relationship and over the next decade, the two men corresponded frequently and visiting one another on several occasions.  In short order, Sasakawa became a generous supporter of the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine. Beginning in 1981, the Japanese Shipbuilding Foundation pledged five million dollars over ten years to support the Institute’s research, primarily on vitamin C and cancer. The Institute also parlayed the Foundation’s support to establish the Sasakawa Aging Research Center, which used fruit flies to test theories of antioxidant protection against stress and in support of extending life span.

It is unclear just how aware Pauling was of Sasakawa’s past and reputation in Japan.  What is clear, however, is that Sasakawa’s funds were crucial to the Institute’s ability to remain financially viable during some very difficult years in the 1980s.  In acknowledgement of Sasakawa’s support, the Institute bestowed upon Sasakawa the 1983 Linus Pauling Medal for Humanitarianism, an award that was usually given to important financial backers.  More importantly, on at least six occasions in the 1980s, Linus Pauling nominated Ryoichi Sasakawa for the Nobel Peace Prize.  While Pauling often nominated multiple individuals for the award in a given year, and while his nominations in support of Sasakawa tended to be relatively brief, his formal support of Sasakawa for the award is an important detail for those seeking to understand the contours of the two men’s relationship.

Akira Murata

Akira Murata, 1975.

A year before being introduced to Fukumi Morishige‘s work, Linus Pauling was paying close attention to research being conducted by another Japanese colleague, Dr. Akira Murata, who was studying the inactivation of viruses by vitamin C.  Over the coming years, Morishige and Murata often worked together on research related to vitamin C.  And as with Morishige, Murata became a close colleague of Pauling’s, hosting him on numerous visits to Japan and, on at least a few occasions, traveling across the Pacific to visit Pauling in California.

Murata was born in Shimonoseki, Japan in 1935, and later attended Kyushu University, receiving his Ph.D. in microbiology in 1963.  In 1966 he accepted the position of Associate Professor at Saga University, where he has remained for the bulk of his career.

From early on, Murata was interested in vitamin C and, in particular, the impact that it could make on viruses.  In 1975 Murata summarized much of his early work in a paper written for the Intersectional Congress of the International Association of Microbiological Societies titled, “Virucidal Activity of Vitamin C: Vitamin C for Prevention and Treatment of Viral Diseases.” In it, he outlined a series of clinical trials that he had conducted with Morishige, which focused on the impact of vitamin C on viruses using phages for model systems and their host bacteria. A year later, in 1976, Murata went to the United States to study vitamin C and the immune system at the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine.

Murata and Pauling in Pauling's office, 1976.

A parallel track of research conducted by Murata and Morishige in the 1970s focused on the impact of vitamin C on hepatitis.  The duo authored an important paper titled “Vitamin C for Prophylaxis of Viral Hepatitis B in Transfused Patients,” (J. Int. Acad. Prev. Med. 1978;5(1):54–58) in which they discussed their hepatitis work.  In it, Murata and Morishige reported on a series of tests in which patients who had received blood transfusions were also given specific dosages of vitamin C.  From there, observations were made with respect to hepatitis contraction among the transfusion patients.

The researchers found that, between 1967 and 1976, no hepatitis B cases were recorded for those who received large doses of vitamin C following a blood transfusion. The paper concluded that vitamin C, in large amounts, has a “significant prophylactic effect against post-transfusion hepatitis, especially type B.”  Prior to its publication, Pauling annotated and edited Murata and Morishige’s text, adding his suggestions for how the manuscript could be improved.

In 1976, the year of his residency at the Pauling Institute, Murata also published observations made by Morishige on the effect of increased doses of ascorbic acid with respect to various viral and bacterial diseases. In their study, the duo found that ascorbic acid showed a therapeutic effect on infectious hepatitis, measles, mumps, viral orchitis, viral pneumonia and certain types of meningitis.

Murata continued this line of research through the 1980s, continually seeking out new ways to test the effects of vitamin C on human health. Like Pauling and Morishige, Murata was also highly interested in vitamin C and its possible therapeutic use with cancer. Several papers arose from this program of work, including one titled “Prolongation of Survival Times of Terminal Cancer Patients by Administration of Large Doses of Ascorbate,” (Int. J. Vitam. Nutr. Res. Suppl. 1982;23:103-113) and another listing viruses reported to be inactivated by vitamin C. Together, Pauling and Murata also served as chairmen and panel members for at least one workshop on vitamin C, immunology and cancer.

Akira Murata, Ava Helen Pauling and Linus Pauling. In Japan, 1980.

By the late 1980s, Akira Murata had contributed upwards of twenty-five publications on vitamin C and its effects upon various diseases, and Pauling continued to visit him and keep in contact. Murata typically hosted at least a portion of Pauling’s many visits to Japan, often acting in the duel capacity of scientific colleague and friend. Murata also translated a few of Pauling’s books into Japanese. Among these was Vitamin C, the Common Cold, and the Flu, the preface of which contains Pauling’s note of thanks to Murata and the observation that “it is important that everyone know about the great value that vitamin C has in improving health and in protecting against disease.” Murata also translated Pauling’s best-seller, How to Live Longer and Feel Better.

As with a few other contacts in Japan – especially Morishige – Pauling remained in close correspondence with Murata over the duration of their acquaintance, frequently discussing papers on vitamin C and exchanging ideas on new studies. The two remained friends and collaborators throughout the last two decades of Pauling’s life, both benefiting greatly from their cross-cultural exchange.

Fukumi Morishige

Linus Pauling and Fukumi Morishige, 1986.

Dr. Fukumi Morishige, a chief surgeon of the Fukuoka Torikai Hospital for over thirty years, introduced himself to Linus Pauling via letter in 1975.  In this initial outreach, the Japanese physician informed Pauling of his own research on vitamin C, asking to meet with him when Pauling visited Japan later that year. Pauling did indeed meet with him and, at Morishige’s request, delivered a lecture on the value of vitamin C in health and disease. Thus began a friendship and continuing correspondence that would last for the remainder of Pauling’s life.

Fukumi Morishige was born in Fukuoka, Japan in 1925. He attended Kurume University where, in 1961, he received his medical degree. Within six years of completing his studies, he became the chief surgeon of the Fukuoka Torikai Hospital. It was after he visited Tottori Sakyu Hospital and witnessed the inspiring work being accomplished by the resident surgeons there that he really began to take into consideration the importance of vitamin C.  He later recalled

I knew that giving vitamin C to patients helps them to heal quicker for some reasons but I didn’t know why. I decided to do more research on how vitamin C impacts human bodies and made up my mind to explore vitamin C’s effect and stay in this field.

So began his research studies on vitamin C, work that, at the time, focused specifically on the prevention of serum hepatitis in patients receiving blood transfusions.

Over time, Morishige’s interests moved in the direction of Pauling’s focus on cancer. Through the nearly twenty years of their correspondence, Morishige frequently would relay information about new ideas on cancer research, and Pauling would unfailingly reply with enthusiasm and encouragement, often voicing his desire to bring Morishige to the U. S. to discuss his progress.

Spurred by Pauling’s encouragement, Morishige conducted several experiments involving vitamin C and other therapies for cancer.  In 1983 Morishige, Pauling and three additional Japanese scientists published a paper in the journal Cancer Research titled, “Enhancement of Antitumor Activity of Ascorbate against Ehrlich Ascites Tumor Cells by the Copper: Glycylglycylhistidine Complex.” In this publication, the group communicated their work, which sought to increase the antitumor activity of ascorbate by use of an “innocuous form of cupric ion complexed with glycylglycylhistidine.” While it did not significantly “oxidize ascorbate,” the researchers found that the compound “killed Ehrlich ascites tumor cells” in high concentrations of ascorbate. They further reported that glycylglycylhistidine “prolonged the life span of mice inoculated with Ehrlich tumor cells.”

In 1986 Morishige was introduced to a cancer patient who seemed to be controlling her disease by drinking reishi tea. Excited by this, Morishige launched his own program of research on reishi mushrooms. Through his findings he came to believe that reishi mushrooms acted as both a cancer preventative and a tumor suppressant. He then began to combine the reishi treatments with vitamin C and found that the vitamin C strengthened the effectiveness of the reishi. Though Dr. Morishige used and tested this method successfully on several cancer patients, it is still looked upon as an alternative healing remedy rather than a medically accredited technique.

Artist's rendering of the Tachiarai Hospital. The back of this print is annotated by Pauling, "Dr. F. Morishige's hospital. We participated in dedicating it." Note Morshige's identification of his home to the right of the hospital.

Indeed, for both Pauling and Morishige, their work with vitamin C was commonly rejected by the medical community, yet they both doggedly continued to research the topic, determined to show the world what they believe to be the great benefits of ascorbic acid in medicine.

Over the course of their struggles and interactions, Morishige remained extremely grateful for Pauling’s support and continually expressed his gratitude to Pauling for the interest and advice that he imparted. Among the resources held in the Pauling Papers is a Japanese newspaper series in which Morishige discusses, in length, his relationship with Pauling and their continuing academic exchange on vitamin C. The newspaper series runs to twelve installments in total, all written in Japanese.  Our hope is to someday have this resource translated, so that we might gain further insight into this remarkable collaboration.

Later Japan

Linus Pauling with President Matsuda at Tokai University, 1975.

Sixteen years passed between Linus Pauling’s participation in the 1959 Hiroshima Conference and his next visit to Japan in Fall 1975.  And while the 1975 trip largely dealt with his findings and research on Vitamin C – a common theme for many of his travels to East Asia and elsewhere – some of his time was devoted to peace-related talks and activities.

Notably, Pauling attended a symposium of the Keidanren Kaikan Memorial Lecture in Tokyo, and a symposium of the Memorial Lecture at Hiroshima-Ishikaikan in Hiroshima. He also attended the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship of Japan and presented a paper titled “Reverence for Life and the Way to World Peace” in Tokyo.  His short “peace tour” likewise included his making a guest appearance on a talk show with Dr. Soichi Iijima, and following that up with a lecture, delivered at a high school in Hiroshima, titled “The Development of Science and the Future of Mankind.”

Then the vitamin C tour began. In the preface to the Japanese translation of his book Vitamin C, the Common Cold, and the Flu, Pauling described the budding of his interest in vitamin C. In it, he describes the familiar story of his initial intrigue in learning of the effectiveness of large doses of vitamins in controlling schizophrenia. Not long after,  a biochemist, Irwin Stone, wrote to Pauling of his own findings on vitamin C, health and disease, which further spurred Pauling’s own interest and compelled him to begin his own program of research.

As time passed and Pauling’s advocacy grew, he increasingly sought to spread this growing body of work around the world, including his stops in Japan. In 1975 Pauling went to Fukuoka with Dr. Fukumi Morishige (who would become a close colleague) to meet with fellow vitamin C researchers and discuss new ideas and experiments. While in Saga he likewise gave lectures on vitamin C to researchers and students at Tokai University. In October, near the end of his trip, he visited with a series of dignitaries including Kenzaburo Gushima, the President of Nagasaki University, and Yoshitake Morotani, the Mayor of Nagasaki. In these meetings Pauling exchanged thoughts on a number of ideas, including peace, but was also keen to discuss his favorite nutritional topic, vitamin C.

Five years later, Pauling and his wife made another trip to Japan in March and April of 1980. By this point, Pauling wanted very much to convince others that vitamin C lay at the heart of treating many ailments, and his activities during the 1980 trip are indicative of the fervor with which he pursued this goal.

Pauling began the trip by giving a talk to the general public on the health benefits of ascorbic acid. He then attended the general meeting of the Society of Japan Agricultural Chemistry at Fukuoka University, the topic of which was vitamin C and cancer. At the conclusion of this meeting he was made an honorary member of the Society. Next, at Kyoto University, he gave a lecture titled “What Can We Expect for Chemistry in the Next 100 Years?” after which he attended another symposium on vitamin C and participated in a vitamin C committee meeting at Cakushi Kaikan.  Prior to returning home, Pauling gave another lecture, “Prevention from Disease -Vitamin C, the Common Cold and Cancer,” and also found a spare moment to write a letter to the editor of Time about Vitamin C and cancer that clarified his thoughts on the vitamin’s relationship to cancer therapy.

Ava Helen Pauling and Dr. Yashie Souma, 1980.

In 1981 Pauling traveled to Japan on two short, separate occasions. The first visit was for the International Conference on Human Nutrition. During the second he appeared on Japanese television discussing orthomolecular medicine with Drs. Kitahara and Morishige.   A few days later he gave a lecture on the same topic to the Japanese Pharmacist Association.

Upon his return home, Pauling maintained a regular correspondence with Dr. Morishige about Morishige’s vitamin C research. He specifically wanted to know if Morishige had tested it on patients suffering from gastrointestinal cancer, noting his very personal reasons for doing so: this was the type of cancer from which Ava Helen was, at the time, suffering. Morishige wrote back to Pauling in September giving him a treatment plan that he thought might aid in slowing down the disease. Pauling attempted to act on this recommendation, but a variety of barriers arose to its implementation.  Less than three months later, she passed away.

Morishige's prescription.


In the years following, Pauling visited Japan three more times. Most of these trips, at least in part, involved his continuing efforts to secure financial support for the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine. In concert with his travels in 1981, Pauling wrote to the industrialist Ryoichi Sasakawa, asking his permission to establish a Ryoichi Sasakawa Research Professorship in Cancer Research. Pauling also requested that Sasakawa to endow the position, knowing of his support for cancer research in general and of Pauling’s efforts to explore Vitamin C in particular. Though Sasakawa did not fulfill this specific request, he did eventually gift many other large sums to the Institute for research and study.

A 1984 trip concentrated almost completely on vitamin C. Shortly before flying across the Pacific, Pauling wrote a chapter for the book Medical Science and the Advancement of Health titled “Problems Introducing a New Field of Medicine: Orthomolecular Medicine.” Completing this chapter clarified his thoughts and led directly to a talk, “Molecular Disease and Orthomolecular Medicine,” delivered upon his arrival to Tokyo. Assisting him in this talk were other doctors pursuing and interested in this same field. The rest of this trip was devoted to visiting various institutes and industrial sites including the National Institute of Genetics and the Aliment Industry Co. in Mishima, as well as a vitamin factory in Hakone.

Pauling’s final two visits to Japan both took place in 1986. The first trip was for an exposition on vitamin C and health, followed by a series of interviews and seminars where he discussed cancer therapy and research results with Japanese medical journalists.

Pauling delivering the Opening Address at the Tokyo Health Fair, April 1986.

Pauling returned to his activist roots for his final visit, which was devoted primarily to peace. He visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the Memorial Monument for Hiroshima City of Peace, and participated in a public screening of the documentary “Hiroshima – A Document of Atomic Bombing.” He spoke with survivors of the 1945 nuclear attack and visited the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Hospital.

The Peace Summit in Hiroshima was also a part of this trip. Titled “In Quest for International Peace,” the gathering was partly devoted to discussions of the role of science in working for peace. The last of many speeches that Linus Pauling delivered in his nine trips to Japan took place in Hiroshima and was titled, “We Have Already Taken a Great Step Toward the Goal of World Peace.”  At this point Pauling had come full circle in Japan, a country that he greatly admired.

The Paulings and Japan: Roots of a Fruitful Relationship

Dining in Japan, 1955.

“As a scientist I am interested in Japan and primarily in the universities…[I am] greatly impressed by the natural and cultural richness of the country… [where] scientific work is of the highest quality…Science of the modern world has been accelerated here by the atom-bomb and radiation…Because of this, hopefully steps will be made towards the goal of permanent world peace.”

-Linus Pauling, 1955

Japan was a favored spot for research, vacation, and lecture for Linus Pauling and his wife, Ava Helen. Generally speaking, the Japanese held the couple in high esteem, a major factor in Pauling having maintained close contacts with many of the country’s leading scientists.

The public’s adoration also resulted in the extension of numerous invitations to Pauling to deliver lectures and attend conferences. He was invited to visit on multiple occasions by a wide variety of Japanese societies and committees, and followed through a documented nine times. Each of the trips, spanning some thirty-one years, involved at least one of three agenda items: vitamin C, chemistry research, or the struggle for world peace and nuclear disarmament.  Today’s post focuses on the Paulings travel to Japan in the 1950s.  Future posts will detail later trips as well as certain Japanese individuals who became important to Pauling and his work.

Pauling manuscript on Japanese scientists and science, March 10, 1955.

The first proposed trip to East Asia was scheduled for 1953. Linus Pauling was supposed to travel to Tokyo from February to March of that year, but it was cancelled due to his chronic passport difficulties. Instead, 1955 marked the first of many ventures to Japan. While there from February to March, Linus and Ava Helen visited Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka.

The 1955 trip in particular was dedicated to delivering lectures on the chemical bond, hemoglobin and proteins. The first lectures that Pauling gave took place at Tokyo University. There, he spoke on structural chemistry as well as the hemoglobin molecule and its correlation to health and disease. These lectures were also repeated to the general public of nation’s capital, as well as at Osaka University. In between lectures Pauling also attended seminars on proteins.

This was the only of Pauling’s Japanese trips that was solely associated with topics in chemistry. In his future visits, chemistry was typically brought up in some form, but time was more frequently occupied with topics of the atomic age, the peace movement and, in later years, vitamin C.

Linus Pauling lecturing on hemoglobin. Tokyo, Japan. February 26, 1955.

The main purpose for visiting Japan in August 1959 was to attend the Hiroshima 5th World Conference against Atom and Hydrogen Bombs. Pauling began his trip by participating in a march at the Hiroshima Peace Park, followed by a brief lecture titled “Physical and Biological Aspects of Radon” at Hiroshima University.

For the 5th World Conference, Pauling also edited and approved “The Hiroshima Appeal” which demanded that all nations cease the testing and stockpiling of nuclear weapons. A note attached to the Appeal indicates that Pauling found the document to be just and did not understand how individuals might not support it. He then, on August 7, 1959, wrote his own manifesto titled “The Scientist’s Appeal,” which also asked that nuclear tests be stopped and that science not be “used in any ways incompatible with the principles of humanity.”

Pauling’s stance and his participation in the Hiroshima conference sparked conversation back in the United States. In the Chicago Daily News for instance, journalist Keyes Beech wrote an article titled “Pauling Denies ‘Left’ Role at Hiroshima,” in which the scientist discussed his comments and thoughts on disarmament, while denying claims that he was being used as a tool of political propaganda by communist hardliners allegedly present at the Hiroshima Conference.

In a letter that he later wrote to his friend, Dr. Gunther Anders of Austria, he further discussed the conference. In particular, he stated that he felt strongly about continuing to work with the Japan Council and its head, Dr. Kaoru Yasui. Pauling also suggested that China be made a member of the United Nations so that provisions could be implemented to prevent China from developing its own cache of nuclear arms.

After the conference concluded, Pauling gave a talk in the Grand Lecture Hall of Politics and Economics Department of Hiroshima University titled, “Our Choice: Atomic Death or World Law.” In it he advocated for a world government (a “path of reason”) that would bring peace, and condemned the use of nuclear weapons and the dysfunction of “insensate militarism.” These ideals were extended in additional meetings with the Japanese Committee of the Pugwash Conference, and collections of other scientists and academics.

In these conversations Pauling reiterated his stance that it is the scientist’s duty to understand the physical reality of nuclear war and to relay its horrors to the world. To further his support of these convictions he held a meeting on peace in Tokyo, participated in the march at the Peace Park in Hiroshima, and gave a lecture titled “Physical Biological Aspects of Radiation” at Hiroshima University.

In Pauling’s view, understanding the consequences of nuclear detonations and radioactive fallout was crucial to furthering the general public’s realization of just how destructive atomic weapons are. He believed this to be a social responsibility of scientists, and in his last few days in Japan he met with colleagues in Hiroshima, Osaka, and Kyoto to stress the point.