31 Germany 2

Medical Students' Enthusiasm for Nuclear Abolition

The Bank of Japan building, located about 380m southeast from the hypocenter in Hiroshima, was three-storied and built of marble and ferroconcrete. It was a substantial building, which had 40-70cm thick walls. Thanks to the fact that the A-bomb was dropped before 9 a.m., when the bank opened, only the third floor, whose shutters were open, was damaged by the explosion and fire.

Ownership of the building was transferred to the City of Hiroshima and the building has been used for exhibitions and events held by individuals and groups. However, how to make use of it in the future is under discussion.

In July 2001, the Hibakusha in the World Exhibition was held in that building. I found a lean young man looking at each display with extremely eager attention, and talked to him. His name was Eckart Metie. He said he was a medical student of Munich University in Germany and came to Hiroshima during summer vacation to study at the Hiroshima University Research Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine.

I told him that I am a hibakusha, and that I had missed seeing the clock tower of the City Hall when I visited Munich. We enjoyed small talk and said good-bye. 

A few days later, I got a phone call from the World Friendship Center. They said that they were looking for a hibakusha who could go to Germany and attend workshops at his/her own expense in autumn. The workshops were to be held by medical students who belonged to the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War of Munich University. As I was to go to Sweden, they asked me to attend the workshops after that. To my surprise, the person who had requested some hibakusha to attend was Eckart. I always wanted to go to Dachau in the suburbs of Munich and accepted the request without hesitation.

On Nov. 16, when I visited the Dachau Concentration Camp, it was severely cold with sleet. The camp was a large area surrounded by barbed wire. After visiting the museum, I went out and found a concrete building beyond the cleared land. I fearfully entered it and saw many holes on the ceiling from which poison gas had been blown out. The holes were horrifying enough for me to imagine countless deaths of the Jews. The reverberating voice of the audio guide increased the desolation.

That night, I told my A-bombing experience at Munich University. Then we had a party, talking about nuclear problems over famous Munich beer. They said to me, "We will tell about Hiroshima here, so please tell about Dachau in Japan, Keiko." After I parted with them, I got on a train. I was so excited that I went beyond my destination. I was frozen at a ghost station in the snow.

(Having a meeting with medical students in Munich)

(To medical students in Munich)

32 Sweden 4-1

A Japanese in Göteborg, Sweden

I met Ms. Fumiko Johansson for the first time when I talked about my A-bombing experience at a church in Göteborg in October, 2002. She said, “I feel ashamed I don’t know deeply enough about Hiroshima, though I am from Japan. On your next visit, please tell your A-bomb experience as a survivor to the Japanese people living in Sweden.”

It was January, 2003, when she visited me after paying homage at her family graves in Shizuoka. We made a tour in Kasama City, visiting a ceramic complex, Nichido Art Museum, and an old house, Shunpu-banri-so, which once belonged to a famous artist, and talked about our lives. I learned that she was deeply concerned with the Fifth Fukuryu-maru incident, a fishing boat that was exposed to the US hydrogen bomb testing.

The meeting held for Japanese people at the church she belonged to made me feel relaxed, since there was no need for interpreting. Almost all the audience were female. Then Fumiko introduced me to a middle-aged man, who was Professor Munetaka Yokota at Göteborg University. His look was somehow impressive.

Soon after returning home, Fumiko said in her letter that she would like to prepare a meeting the following year, inviting literary and peace groups in and around Göteborg. She also added that she asked Ms. Hjordis Andersson to work as an interpreter since the participants would be Swedish next time.

I decided to take a grandson of mine, a first-year junior high school student, since the meeting held in 2004 was during his summer vacation. He made the story “Sadako” into leaflets in English. He also folded cranes with beautiful Japanese paper.

He distributed the leaflets and paper cranes to the participants at the meeting. I may have made him bear a burden as being a third-generation A-bomb survivor, but he helped me quietly with what I did.

In March, 2005, I travelled in Sweden with another grandson. When I arrived in Göteborg after visiting Stockholm and Karlskoga, I made a phone call to Fumiko. Then she suggested we go to the workshop of Mr. Munetaka Yokota. There, I learned that he was a pipe organ craftsman. Mr. Yokota looked just like a young boy when he was talking about the processes to make large and small pipes by compounding lead and tin and about the resonance. We saw a pipe organ which had just been completed in the building with high ceilings. There was a ladder which had been left standing for us against the back of the organ. My grandson hurried up the ladder and cried with excitement. I also went up after him. We walked along the pipes, large and small, and the wood fragrance got me. A blissful moment enveloped us when a Bach piece started to sound from Mr. Yokota’s fingers.

I found an article, “One Hundred Japanese the World Respects” in the October 26, 2005 issue of Newsweek Magazine. Mr. Yokota was on top of the list. His voice returns fresh to me—art can share some responsibility in realizing world peace.

Fumiko Johanson (left)

33 Sweden 4-2

Government and Voters

On September 4, 2003, when I arrived at the Göteborg airport in the west coast of Sweden, a poster showing a woman caught my eye. The woman looked intellectual and beautiful, but didn’t seem to be an actress or a fashion model. Out of my innate curiosity, I asked Ms. Hjordis Andersson who the woman was.

In 1995, Sweden became a member of the European Union. Although the EU introduced the euro as the currency of its member countries in 2002, Sweden has kept using the krona over the years. Recently, the government presented the bill which was to abandon the krona and adopt the euro, as the other EU countries had done. The most active supporter was the woman on the poster, Minister of Foreign Affairs Anna Lindh. Ms. Andersson told me that the referendum was to be held on the 14th and that Swedish people seemed to prefer to keep the krona.

While the sessions of the A-bomb survivor’s testimony were proceeding as had happened the last few years, the subject of the referendum came up very often in people’s conversations.
Foreign Minister Anna Lindh was a national idol, and many people expected her to be the next prime minister. I heard people talking to each other that their government’s social welfare policies offered a helping hand to anyone in need, so refugees took a large amount of taxpayers’ money, and that citizens hardly received the proper return of their high taxes. They were having a heated debate over the pros and cons of the bill.

Someone said that if their currency were to become the euro, only powerful member countries would be better off. I said to him, “It seems to me that this bill might trigger a war.” He said, “You are right. We are in a volatile situation.”

On the evening of the 10th, an announcer suddenly appeared on the TV screen we were watching, and shouted, “Foreign Minister Anna Lindh was stabbed to death.” All her posters were gone within that night.

On the afternoon of the 11th, I saw national flags flying at half-mast everywhere. TVs and radios kept airing programs to remember her and to pursue who was responsible. Then, the outcome of the referendum on the 14th was “No”.

Although I spent days in bewilderment encountering the historic moment of the country, I had as many opportunities to talk about my A-bomb experience as I had the previous years. Mr. and Mrs. Carin and Bengt Gustafsson, living in Nykvarn near Stockholm, had visited many schools and churches in order to urge people to listen to my story, saying, “Even though Sweden hasn’t been involved in any wars for a long time, no one knows what will happen in the future.” So, every session in the schools and the churches was full of feverish excitement and people said, “A nuclear war might not be waged intentionally, but nuclear weapons could be a threat unless eliminated.”

On the 19th, I was free for the first time in several days. I went to see the funeral ceremony of the late Foreign Minister Anna Lindh. VIPs visiting from foreign countries to convey their condolences were carefully guarded in a volatile atmosphere there.

(Memorial TV program for Foreign Minister Anna Lindh)

(Sweedish bills )

34 Sweden 4-3

To One Thousand Young People

In October 2002, when I talked about my A-bomb experience in a school of Boras, one of the leading industrial cities in Sweden, I met Mr. Jan Swedmyr, who was a former employee of a trading company. He had visited Japan on business many times, but he did not know about Hiroshima. That’s why he wished that many young people would listen to my A-bomb testimony. At that time, Ms. Keiko Miyamoto served as an interpreter for me. Thanks to her, we could enjoy an interesting conversation on topics such as Japanese food and hot springs.
About two months after we returned to Japan, I received an e-mail through Ms. Keiko Miyamoto. I was requested to talk about my A-bomb experience in Stockholm in autumn of the following year, because a seminar sponsored by educational and business circles would be held for one thousand young people. However, time passed without receiving any detailed information about the event. Ms. Miyamoto was asked to serve as an interpreter for the event by Ms. Hjordis Andersson, but she did not receive any further information. As I had promised to talk about my A-bomb experience in churches and schools around Göteborg, I departed from Japan for Göteborg on September 3 as scheduled.
The notable thing about this trip was that not a few people seriously questioned the movement to change the Japanese Constitution within Japan. “Is it necessary to change your Constitution, which advocates the most noble idea for the human race?”
The seminar for young people was organized by an elderly lady named Ms. Marianne Edstrom. Suffering from cancer in various parts of her body, she wished that young people would consider the preciousness of life, and set her mind on organizing this seminar. I learned that she had been so busy that she could not contact us, and we hugged each other with smiles.
At 3:00 p.m. on September 20, in Brotby in the suburbs of Stockholm, the big event started in a theater, which had been abandoned due to depopulation. For 24 hours without intermission, various programs had been planned; dance, pantomime, jazzband, discussion between an old priest and a young politician. A popular opera singer also participated with his chorus group. These programs went on one after another.
At 4:00 p.m., my turn came. Young people who had been outside flocked into the theater. In less than five minutes, the theater became silent. Even though the venue was dimly lit, I could see the people up to the fifth row. Among them were young girls shedding tears. Wishing to hug those girls, I continued to tell of my A-bomb experience. I could not contact Mr. Jan Smedmyr yet, whom I had promised to see again.

(A-bomb Photo Exhibition)

35 Sweden 4-4

To the Place of Nobel’s Death

In 2004, I met Megumi Lundh through Rev. Yoshida at Ushiku Church, while she was back home in Ushiku, Ibaraki Prefecture, from Karlskoga, Sweden. There, I learned that the FN Commune, a U.N.-affiliated organization in Sweden to which Megumi belonged, was planning a world peace event on U.N. Day, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII. Listening to its concept, I was spurred and excited enough to offer my participation.

Soon afterwards, the Lundh family visited Hiroshima and attended the Peace Memorial Ceremony on August 6. They also attended an Anti-Nuclear Conference and “Listen to A-bomb Survivors” session, and took part in an international exchange program. They enthusiastically gathered A-bomb materials with the advice from my friends in Hiroshima. After they returned home, we busily exchanged e-mails, through which the contents of the event became rich little by little.

At the high school Megumi’s son Simon was attending, a mini-U.N. Conference was planned, and Simon became a person in charge. He was going to share what he learned in Hiroshima with his schoolmates. I decided to speak my A-bomb experience there, hoping it would be a rehearsal for the U.N. Day.

In March, 2005, I left for Sweden, taking my grandson along with me. Since I wanted him to experience this trip, I waited until his graduation ceremony was over.
Karlskoga was a town of quiet and refined atmosphere dotted with woods and lakes. It is the place of Alfred B. Nobel’s death, located between Oslo and Stockholm, where the Nobel Prize is awarded.

Our first dinner was an elk dish. Hunter provided his game, a Lundh family’s close friend. As I am a glutton, my tongue was pleased to taste something I had never eaten before.

At the mini-U.N Conference, Hiroshima A-bomb materials were exhibited all over. When I learned that an A-bomb Dome replica was made by the Lundh family, I was struck with admiration.

A TV camera was waiting. I walked on the red-carpeted center path and stood at the podium to tell my A-bomb experience and wish for the abolition of nuclear weapons. I looked out and saw the students clad in ethnic clothes of the U.N. member nations. Over the year, students studied the history, geography and conditions of the nation they had been assigned. From the standpoint of each nation, they actively engaged themselves in debate.

The newspaper the next day had an article that covered Simon’s hard work and my peace activity.

The morning I was leaving Karlskoga, I saw daffodils in the remaining snow. They looked as though they were telling us that Easter was coming.

( Replica of A-bomb Dome)

36 America 4-1

World Peace Mission

The World Peace Mission, sponsored by the Chugoku Shinbun Newspaper and the Hiroshima International Cultural Foundation, was sent to various places in the world, starting with South Africa in May, 2004. In the middle of April, 2005, I was asked to substitute for one of the America team members who suddenly fell ill and told to join the team in Columbus, Ohio. There was no time to vacillate. I consulted with my daughter. “America is the strongest nuclear power. If your physical condition permits, it may be worth going,” she said. So I made up my mind.

On April 15, I left Narita Airport feeling slightly nervous, although I didn’t care about traveling alone. After 12 hours’ flight, I arrived at O’Hare International Airport, Chicago. It was my first visit in seven years. I knew the security check had become strict ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but I felt I had enough—fingerprints taken, photo taken and immigration papers required to fill in in detail. I somehow managed to do it all by myself and arrived in Columbus.

Waiting at the hotel for two days, I finally joined the team that had already been in the U.S. Then, since the teamwork was already established, I found little room left for me among the members.

On May 18, we headed for Wilmington College in Ohio, established by Quakers. I had been there in September, 1998, sent by the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, so I was rather relaxed for the first mission task.

First, we visited the Peace Resource Center affiliated with the College, where I saw James Boland, a tall gentleman. “Hi, aren’t you Keiko? What a surprise!” He hugged me, lowering himself. More surprised were our mission members. James went to get my picture in kimono. Everybody’s eyes focused on us. That moment, I felt I became part of the World Peace Mission team.

The Peace Resource Center was established in 1975 by Barbara Reynolds who had founded the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima. This Peace Resource Center has been highly recognized not only by the academic world but by people in general as well, since its collection of Hiroshima and Nagasaki materials are made available to anybody.

Barbara Reynolds traveled around the U.S. and Europe in 1964, taking A-bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as scholars, along with her. She thus became an initiator of the “world peace pilgrimage,” to have the facts of the A-bombing widely known to the world.

I heard something very intriguing from University President Daniel A. DiBiasio: A Quaker structure has separate entrances for men and for women, not because of discrimination but for liberty of women. I wonder if that means men admit themselves as selfish beings.

Mr. James Boland (by the Chugoku Newspaper Co.)

At Peace Resource Center (by the Chugoku Newspaper Co.)

37 America 4-2

People Working on Nuclear Disarmament

On April 19, 2005, World Peace Mission members moved on to Washington D.C.
The following day, Ms. Linda Gallini visited us at our hotel. She was the acting chief of the Office of Multinational Nuclear Issues in the U.S. We met in the meeting room. She is a veteran of nuclear issues, having worked for 30 years in the U.S. government. The first thing she said was, “Yesterday I happened to have an opportunity to hear about Hiroshima from my friend who had been to Hiroshima. Human beings have short memories. Besides, we tend to be distracted by immediate concerns, so what you are doing is a good thing.” She said this as greeting, but her eyes were not smiling.

There was going to be the 7th Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and more than 150 nations were estimated to participate this time. Looking back at the past five years, nations such as Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Libya are obviously inclined to have nuclear weapons. In January, 2004, a “nuclear black market” surrounding the Pakistani, Dr. Abdul Q. Khan, came to light. Inspection by IAEA must be stricter than ever in order to prevent such events from happening again.

Ms. Gallini said that the concerns of the U.S. are 1) peaceful nuclear disarmament and 2) nuclear import-export control. It is justifiable for us to maintain nuclear arms, because the U.S. has a role of overseeing those weapons not to get into wrong hands and proliferate.

I said to her, “Please continue your work keeping in mind what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In Hiroshima we have the “Flame of Peace” which is supposed to be extinguished when a nuclear-free world is realized. I only wish my grandchildren would live to see the “Flame” go out. She only repeated that America was keeping a global watch.

On the 25 th, we had an opportunity to hear Daryl G. Kimball of the Disarmament Association, which was established in 1997. In the beginning, he said that he was concerned with young people who did not know important things that happened in history. Then he talked about the current U.S. nuclear arms situation: the U.S. is certainly trying to reduce the number of deployed nuclear warheads now, but the truth is that those withdrawn are reserved in a condition ready for restoration. He also said that if the U.S. nuclear arsenal shrank to the same level of other nuclear nations, multinational talks could become realistic. Nuclear weapons should never be used, only as deterrence. Even terrorist acts or biological weapons should not be targets. He continued, “This Association is seeking a restraint of nuclear testing and disarmament, but unfortunately, President Bush doesn’t take our advice.”

Having been in Hiroshima for the A & H bombs Ban event in 1997, he said that the purpose of our Peace Mission was praiseworthy and the Japanese landscape, food and friendliness were wonderful. He was a kind and flattering American individual. I wondered if the day would come when this Association’s advice would actually affect the Bush government. I also wondered if the U.S. would change its course with the post-Bush government. I remain with endless ifs.

With Ms. Linda Gallini (left) (by the Chugoku Newspaper Co.)

38 America 4-3

B-29 Superfortress, Enola Gay

On April 21, 2005, I visited the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the new facility of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Despite the severe security check at the entrance, taking pictures was not prohibited inside the building.

I was overwhelmed to see the gigantic super-high ceiling. Various types of America’s proud fighter aircrafts were ostentatiously displayed there. Of them, the Boeing-built B-29 Superfortress, Enola Gay, which had been used to drop the A-bomb on Hiroshima, was by far the largest. B-29 bombers, which were capable of flying as high as 10,000m, could never be shot from Japanese fighter aircrafts, which were no match for them. I hear that their metallic silver bodies were designed to reflect sunlight so as to intimidate the enemy with their blinding reflection.

I had a recollection of A- bomb survivors saying, “I saw a shining B-29 drop something like a parachute.”

It was the first time for me to see the bomber, Enola Gayi, because I was inside an air-raid shelter at the time of the A-bombing. This maternal B-29 named after the mother of its captain, Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr., reached the sky over Hiroshima with its evil child, “Little Boy,” the nickname for the A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima, in her body, and gave birth to it, the first A-bomb. I spontaneously uttered a few words, “This is the assailant of Hiroshima.” The bomber of Nagasaki, by the way, was nicknamed Bockscar and the A-bomb it dropped was called “Fat Man.”

A guide plate in front of Enola Gay gave a simple explanation, but no description of the A-bombing. Groups of people were coming up to Enola Gay one after another. A guide explained, “The B-29 Superfortress was the most sophisticated bomber of World War II. Thanks to this B-29 bomber, Enola Gay, peace was brought to the world.” Listening to the guide, everyone uttered admiration and looked at Enola Gay with respect. When I went close to them, they cast an eye to me as if to say, “Ah, ah …a Japanese.”

In Columbus, Ohio, I joined the mission group that had started their journey earlier. In the yard of the state capital building, I saw an array of monuments dedicated to the soldiers killed in wars. Although the U.S. has never been defeated in any war, it has lost innumerable lives for the country.

A few years ago, I saw a documentary on TV in Japan, in which Capt. Paul Tibbets toured across the country giving talks as a hero of WW II. I knew Capt. Tibbets lived somewhere in this city. The streets were lined with apple trees. Their white blossoms were too bright to me.

After dropping the A-bomb on Hiroshima, every crew member had a choice of living with regret or with pride. Capt. Tibbets chose the latter. Or maybe the new post-war political system needed to make him a hero. I heard that replicas of Enola Gay and pictures of Capt. Tibbets standing by Enola Gay with his own autograph sold the most at the museum shop.

I feel a little sorry for Capt. Tibbets, whose life was also tragic. He was affected by the expediency of his country.

(Enola Gay)

39 America 4-4

The American University

Fifty years after the end of World War II, the National Air and Space Museum planned to hold an A-bomb exhibition. American war veterans opposed the plan so harshly that the plan was canceled; furthermore, the manager of the museum had to retire.

A second generation survivor, Ms. Akiko Naono, who was studying in the US at that time, planned an A-bomb exhibition by herself. She successfully held the A-bomb exhibition on the campus of the American University in Washington, D.C. and later wrote a book about how she did it. I felt encouraged very much by reading that book, Hiroshima・America –Gembakuten wo megutte (A path to the A-bomb Exhibition) published by Keisuisha.

That was when I learned that American University was in Washington, D.C. It was remarkable of the university to give a Japanese student the opportunity to hold an A-bomb exhibition in the country whose society is allergic to the two words-Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In April 2002, I visited the university as a member of the “Hiroshima/Nagasaki Anti-nuclear Peace Mission.” On the late afternoon of the 29th, people including college students began to gather on the campus. Crew members of the local TV station, which was going to broadcast our forum live, also began to look busier.

The forum started at 7 p.m. The American panelists consisted of specialists in nuclear and international issues. I told my A-bomb experience as one of the Japanese panelists. Spotlighted and feeling a little nervous, I read the English translation of my story. When all the programs were over, every panelist extended a handshake to me. A cameraman winked at me approvingly. Other mission members happily welcomed me down on the floor.

It never occurred to me that I could visit American University again. The World Peace Mission wouldn’t miss the university, which had kept tackling nuclear issues.

On April 22nd, 2005, when I was back there on the campus, I felt overwhelmed with memories. Friendly students passing by said hello to us, obviously foreign visitors. Professor Peter Kuznick, who was familiar to me, met us, and led us straight to the classroom where some fifty students were waiting. The students earnestly listened to us and had a heated discussion about the conflicts in many parts of the world and about weapons of mass destruction. It is regrettable to say, but I couldn’t fully understand what they were saying. So I could only assume from Prof. Kuznick’s facial expression. At the end of the class, Prof. Kuznick said, “We will visit Hiroshima on Hiroshima Day next year. I hope to see you again there.” During his farewell greeting, Prof. Kuznick told us that they were busy again preparing to have another hibakusha there two days later. In America there are also people who earnestly listen to hibakusha and make efforts to pursue nuclear disarmament.

For your information, presently Ms. Akiko Naono is an associate professor at the graduate school of Kyushu University. I hear that besides teaching, she is deeply involved in Hiroshima and extremely busy writing books, giving public lectures, and researching about Hiroshima.

(Downtown, Washington D.C.)

40 America 4-5

4-5 A Think Tank of the United States

The Washington office of the Monterey Institute of International Studies is located along the Potomac River. On the afternoon of April, 22, 2005, I was watching the range of cherry trees in full bloom and big buildings from the top of the office. Someone who was familiar with the area explained to me that the Watergate scandal happened in the building opposite this office. I realized that this office was no more than one kilometer from the White House. I felt as if I were examining history.

As soon as Dr. Lawrence Scheinman came into the room, he introduced himself and said, “I was a special advisor for the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and Japan has been a familiar country to me. I visited Japan five times for the sake of peace. You might think that I am a think tank for the United States.” He used to be in charge of the government’s military affairs, including nuclear weapons, under U.S. Presidents Ford, Carter and Clinton. That is why he could say that he was a think tank for the United States all by himself.

Mr. Okada, a journalist from the Chugoku Newspaper seamlessly asked him questions: “Could you tell us about the nuclear policy under the Bush administration? I don’t think that the United States has really decreased the number of nuclear arms.”
He answered, “The world situation has changed our policy on nuclear possession. The NPT Review Conference is important because it states that nuclear states will not use their arms on non-nuclear states. However, even if nuclear states disarmed their nuclear warheads, it would make no impact on North Korea. Nuclear armed Pakistan and India would still need some help for reconciliation. Israel would prefer to possess nuclear arms to keep its superiority to its neighboring countries. The biggest concern is that information and technology to produce nuclear arms may leak to terrorists. People in the United States don’t think that the president will use nuclear weapons. They understand that nuclear weapons are necessary to keep their diplomatic superiority.”
“Your country actually used the only two atomic bombs existing in 1945” Mr. Okada said and continued to ask, “Practical small nuclear weapons reportedly have been developed now. What is the purpose of them?”
Dr. Scheinman replied, “The Chinese economy is soaring and threatening us. We don’t know what will happen in the future. The Bush administration is trying to minimize nuclear arms usable as conventional weapons. It is not for use but for deterrence. I believe that the United States should play an important role in regional conferences.”
Lastly, I had a chance to give my opinions. I knew that he had nothing to do with the present government, but I said, “I am doubtful of the premise that the United States commands the world, which the president, his aides and think tanks believe. However if they do, they should take the lead to abolish nuclear arms.”

(Washington Memorial)