THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Did you know that the bombing on Hiroshima and Nagasaki could have been averted if it was not for the folly of a translator? The notorious term was ‘Mokusatsu’, (‘Silence’ or ‘Withholding Comment’) which was the reply Japan gave to the US in response to their letter demanding surrender, refusal of which could lead to serious consequences. Unfortunately, the term also carried the meaning ‘not worthy of comment’ or an utter denial to surrender, and this was how the allied leaders translated it. Thus, a mistranslated word finally lead to the atomic bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
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