Dr. Chad Diehl
2011-2012 Postdoctoral Fellow; Assistant Professor, History, Emmanuel College
Chad Diehl, holds a Ph.D. in modern Japanese history where he completed his dissertation on “The Resurrection of Nagasaki: Religion and Politics in the Reconstruction of Nagasaki City, 1945-1970.” Upon his first visit to the Nagasaki atomic bomb museum, he discovered the Urakami Catholic community’s role in the reconstruction of the city. Diehl does not consider himself religious, but wrote, “I have always been fascinated by the influential role that religion and religious groups have played throughout history.”
A chance encounter in the library at Columbia University landed him a job translating “Twice Bombed, Twice Survived,” a documentary on Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only officially recognized person to have survived the atomic bombings at both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The film was presented to the United Nations in August 2006. Diehl organized an additional screening at Columbia that was attended by the then 90-year-old Yamaguchi. Diehl screened his film at UCLA as well.
After meeting Yamaguchi, Diehl maintained the relationship by getting involved with Yamaguchi’s peace activism and acting as an interpreter at an outreach event in Japan the following year. During this time, Diehl discovered the body of tanka, a style of Japanese poetry, written by Yamaguchi, and set out to translate it. He lived with Yamaguchi in the summer of 2009, discussing poetry and speaking to Yamaguchi about his work. Diehl translated the works to be as close to the original Japanese while still maintaining the syllable count and including rhyme schemes.
“Mr. Yamaguchi admired Western poets from the time he was a young man, and he liked the idea of having his own poetry rhyme in English,” Diehl wrote in an email. Yamaguchi passed away January 4, 2010 before the collection was published. Determined to complete his work, Diehl created Excogitating Over Coffee Publishing, a small press he intends to convert to a non-profit, and published And the River Flowed on as a Raft of Corpses: The Poetry of Yamaguchi Tsutomu, Survivor of both Hiroshima and Nagasaki in July 2010.
While at UCLA, Diehl conducted research on a book manuscript based on his dissertation and began working on a project examining wartime depictions in Japanese, Chinese and German literature and popular media. He also taught a course within the history department.