41 America 4-06

In October, 1962, at the time of the Cuba Crisis, I was nine years old then, living in The people who deplore the nuclear power

There are many people who are involved in anti-war activities including the abolition and reduction of nuclear weapons and disarmament in the U.S. Because they live in a country which has nuclear weapons, their concern is greater than ours.

On April, 22, 2005, I visited Ms. Carah Ong in the office of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation based in California. The foundation had just moved its base to Washington, D.C. We were the first visitors.

Ms. Ong said, “Unfortunately, the Bush administration seems not to be interested in the NPT Review Conference. Unloaded warheads are stored in Texas. The annual budget for nuclear arms is 40-billion dollars, which is used for the research of nuclear arms or the longer sustainability of warheads and so on. In a word, they use the money for the improvement of nuclear arms. We have to educate people in the U. S. so that they will be aware that nuclear arms eventually threaten their lives. We need to make them focus on the issue, otherwise nuclear disarmament won’t be realized. Many people are worried that if we renounce nuclear weapons, our country will be weakened. So we are trying to persuade them that our military is stronger than all other nations, our defense level would not be affected without nuclear arms. It is of no use to intimidate invisible terrorists with nuclear weapons.” Ms. Ong, in her 20s, talked with enthusiasm.

The next day, we visited Mr. John Pike, the founder of Global Security Org. They uploaded a U.S. classified document, NPR (Nuclear Posture Review), on their website in March, 2002. The document include the US determination to use nuclear arms on countries against the United States. Mr. Okada, a journalist from the Chugoku Shimbun Newspaper, asked him, “How did you get the document?” Mr. Pike answered jokingly. “From a fax machine.” Then he started a talk about his opinions about nuclear arms.
Kentucky. I saw the Air Force refueling fighters there, which made me realize this was war. It made me start learning about the effects of atomic bombs.
Our long war history has kept us creating new weapons. At present, the U.S. has considerably reduced nuclear weapons but failed to eliminate all of them. One of the reasons for this is that we can’t sweep out terrorists who live nowhere.
Japan has cultivated various cultures in its long history, so you have many national treasures. But the history of our country is still young. It took a long time to create atomic bombs at a great cost, so these are our national treasures” he said satirically in a plain tone.
I said to him, “There are many national treasures in Japan because of our long history. That is why we do not need nuclear arms. I hope your country will have something else, not atomic bombs.” Then I left his office.

On the way to the hotel by taxi, I saw the Arlington National Cemetery and the Iwo Jima Memorial through the window. It was cold and pouring with rain.


Donate documents on Hiroshima produced by HIS to Ms. Carah Ong

42 America 4-07

American Recognition of History about the A-bombings

During our stay in Washington, DC, we met the historian, Mr. J. Samuel Walker, who justified the dropping of A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was the evening of April 23, 2005, which was two days after the original appointment. I felt very uncomfortable when Mr. Walker’s high stature appeared at the restaurant of the hotel where we are staying, but it was not only because he postponed the meeting without any explanation.

As he took his seat, Mr. Walker began to talk about his historical recognition of the A-bombings. His voice was very calm and each word was expressed carefully: “President Harry S Truman’s main concern was how to terminate the war quickly and definitely, in order to avoid an invasion of the mainland Japan. At that time, the Japanese military did not consider surrender and the Russian army was developing an invasion plan for Japan. If the A-bomb had not been dropped, more people would have died. However, Truman was taken aback by the tragedy the A-bomb caused.”

Mr. Okada, a journalist of the Chugoku Newspaper, fired off a question to Mr. Walker: “Then, why did they drop another one on Nagasaki?” Mr. Walker unconcernedly replied: “It was after the bombing in Nagasaki that Truman commanded not to use any more A-bombs. He said that the A-bomb shouldn’t be used in the Korean War.” Mr. Walker continued: “It took so long for Japan to reach the decision of an unconditional surrender. They made several demands such as keeping the Emperor system, leaving war criminals to the Japanese courts, and having only a short-term occupation while accepting demilitarization. In the end, the emperor system remained and the other conditions were not accepted. I think that the emperor decided to conclude the war after the bombing of Hiroshima, however, by then Soviet Union had already started an invasion. At the fiftieth anniversary victory celebration, I ascertained that a historical recognition had spread through the American people as a myth; ‘The A-bombings brought an earlier conclusion to the war and reduced the number of victims on both sides.’”

Mr. Okada pointed out that there is a huge gap in historical recognition between the United States and Japan and questioned how we could overcome it. Mr. Walker lightly parried his question by saying that “there is no way. There is even no need to fill the gap.”

There was nothing new to me in Mr. Walker’s talk—it was the logic of the American side, which I have heard repeatedly. However, I felt overwhelmed and experienced a shudder come over me when I heard it firsthand. I asked him, “Have you ever met A-bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Have you ever read any accounts of the damage done by the A-bombings? Have you ever seen pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?” “No, you are the first survivor who I have met,” Mr. Walker briefly said and went away quickly as if he was tearing himself away from us, who had invited him for a drink.

After this meeting with Mr. Walker, I began to feel a pain in my stomach and couldn’t even drink water. People in the Mission kindly sent some fruit, hot dogs, and drinks; however, I had no appetite throughout the night.


(Capitol, in Washington D.C.)

43 America 4-08

The Pride of the Nobel Peace Prize

On April 25, 2005, I visited the IPPNW (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) in Washington, DC. The IPPNW is a group founded in 1980 by a few physicians from the United States and the former Soviet Union. Since I have referred to the IPPNW in my essay about trips to Sweden and Germany, you might remember it. We listened to a representative, Mr. Bob Musil. According to him, there are 32,000 members of the IPPNW in the United States and they eagerly carry out lobbying activities for their main purpose of altering the country’s nuclear policy. Mr. Musil sketched their Project:

“Former president William Jefferson Clinton was perceived to be a politician who maintained peaceful policies. In reality, however, it was the work of some influential NGOs that led to a reduction in American military force and the signing of CTBT and NPT. George Walker Bush, who became president through a controversial election, refuses international peace. The IPPNW seeks to realize the comprehensive peace, including a reduction in armaments and nuclear weapons through international agencies, law, and methods. The United States should stop the development of arms and should not initiate any war. The Department of Defense budget of $450 billion should be preferentially directed to other forms of security and education for young people. The State of Iowa successfully gained people’s awareness through this movement. This movement has extended to the state of Oregon and Wisconsin. In the state of Utah, Mr. Matson, a member of the House of Representatives, is a leader of the prevention of nuclear testing. This is because his father, who was the governor of the state, died from a nuclear test. Local members of IPPNW have given treatment to radiation victims.”

We also listened to Mr. Tom Graham who came into the room after Mr. Musil. During the Clinton government, Mr. Graham worked as a special advisor for the reduction in American military force and on the restriction of the number of nuclear weapons. He presently contributes to international peace as a lawyer, lecturer, and writer. Mr. Graham said:

“In 1998, the then-Japanese prime minister Keizo Obuchi said: “Japan is a defeated nation. We are not allowed to question the policies of the United States. We are under the umbrella of a nuclear power.” I respect the policy of Japan. However, I wonder why the successive Japanese governments have not taken positive actions even though they have had a negative view on the initiative use of nuclear weapons. They should insist on this point more. I have been to Japan several times and have given conference speeches on nuclear issues three times in Hiroshima and once in Nagasaki. I also had discussions with A-bomb survivors.

He showed his deep understanding towards nuclear issues. In this talk, he remarked that supporting the indefinite extension of the NPT is a natural role for Japan to fill. This was the most impressive message for me.


(IPPNW office)

44 America 4-09

High School Students studying of Hiroshima

When we arrived at Wilmington Station, an hour and a half from Washington, D.C. by train, Mr. Yamaguchi was there to meet us. It took more than another hour at high speed from there to Westtown in Philadelphia. We heard that Westtown High School, where we would visit, was one of several prestigious schools run by Quakers, who adamantly renounce war. There were farms nearby, so we realized that students were surrounded by nature. We thought Mr.Yamaguchi, who took care of us a lot, was a teacher, but actually he was the father of one of the students. He sent his son to this school because he shared the philosophy of their active peace education.

On the morning of April 26th, 2005, we woke up with the chirping of birds.

The meeting in the morning started with meditation, which was a Quaker custom. This is the way of their religion; it is more important to talk to yourself rather than pray aloud.

At the beginning of the class, a film was shown. The film had been edited from documentaries, describing the streets in Hiroshima at the time of the A-bombing, the victims and the cruelty of nuclear weapons. It gave a vivid portrayal of the facts of the A-bombing. Then I told my experiences. Students seemed to have studied a lot about Hiroshima before my visit. They hailed questions on me; “What should we do to stop using nuclear weapons?” “What should we do not to expand nuclear arms?” “What can we do about countries exporting and importing nuclear technology?”

Mr. Okada, a journalist from the Chugoku Newspaper, said, “There is no way to prevent a nuclear disaster without abolishing nuclear weapons. As long as they exist, uranium can be used by terrorists. NPT should work effectively and something should be planned for international peace. The challenge we face is to eliminate the tensions among countries having problems with each other. The only way to solve the problems in the world is to trust each other, not to use force. Grass-roots exchanges are important for its realization, so we need movements at the citizen level.”

Someone asked, “What do you think about the view that the U.S. justifies the A-bombing?” I answered, “In early 1945, the situation in Japan was already miserable; the major cities such as Tokyo, Yokohama and Kobe were bombed and many American soldiers landed on Okinawa. The local people committed suicide, were killed by American soldiers or were sent to prisons. Japan’s surrender was within sight. On July, 16th, U.S. president Harry S. Truman confirmed the success of a nuclear test in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Then he hastily gave the order to use the A-bomb. I believe that it was wrong and Hiroshima was used as a guinea pig.”
In the afternoon, a symposium was held with eleventh grade students and people from the town. I will introduce how it went next week.


(Meeting with high school students)

45 America 4-10

Learn from history for a brighter future

Westtown High School in Philadelphia is a prestigious school run by Quakers, who practice a pacifist doctrine.
A training session with eleventh grade and the public was held on the afternoon of April 26th, 2005. I told my experiences of the A-bombing. One of the female students stood up and asked me, “How was it possible for you to get over the trauma of the A- bombing? “ She looked at me intently.

I said “On New Year’s Day of 1946, the Emperor Showa announced the Humanity Declaration, denying being a living god but rather the symbol of the State and unity of the people. The new Japanese Constitution was issued in May the following year, granting the people of Japan equal rights. Women previously of a low social status were very grateful and also filled with hope because they could participate without hesitation in a democratic society based on the United States. Four years after the end of the war, some missionaries from the U.S. were teaching English at my Christian girls’ junior high school. They consoled the A-bomb victims and orphans after school. We were told to knit 10-centimeter-square pieces out of wool and tie these to make shawls and warm lap covers. Not long before Christmas, they sent these to the victims, and at the same time, showed us what it was to be a volunteer.
I have a personal story I would like to tell you. One day I was asked by a teacher why I didn’t do my homework. I explained that my mother was in bed due to the A-bombing sickness. After that, the teacher inquired after my mother whenever we met. I couldn’t forgive the United State for dropping the A-bomb, but I came to console myself by accepting American people’s apologies and their acts of goodwill.” I noticed that strained look on the face of the audience changed to one of relief.

However, very soon after I had finished speaking, someone asked, “Do you really understand how nervous we feel after 9/11.?” I said, “I went to Ground Zero six months after 9/11. I saw the terrible destruction and the ruined remains of what had been World Trade Center; however, the rest of New York City seemed quite O.K. and was busy as usual. Why should I take it for granted that this tragedy was comparable of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which were completely destroyed by nuclear weapons? I want American people to think about why 9/11 happened and not to believe that only they are victims. I am quite certain that there were some reasons before it happened.” There was a momentary stir in the audience, but I had not the least intention of changing my opinions.

The next morning, I joined a teachers training session. After the session was over and I was making my way out of the room, one of the female teachers called to me. She said, “I was angry with you when you told us we should rethink of 9/11. I thought it over all last night and realized we forgot to reconsider what we, as a nation, have done in the past. We will do our best to seek the truth in a deep and honest way. Thank you.”


(Presented thousand cranes at Westtown High School)

46 America 4-11

Artists Who Express Hiroshima

When I stayed in New York, April 27 through May 8, 2005, Mr. Hiroshi Sunairi, an artist from Hiroshima, served as an interpreter for me. We introduced ourselves to each other and I learned that the town where he was born was where my parents lived. It was nice that we had a lot in common to talk about, though we were different in generation.

On the afternoon of the 29th, we visited the Art Department of New York University where Mr. Sunairi was teaching. It was more like a factory than a campus in my impression. Indescribable smells and a weird metal-scrubbing noise enveloped the rooms, hallways, virtually everywhere. Students were working seriously with rhythmic movements, trying to give life into their artworks using clay, paint, plaster, wood, metal, paper or cloth. A Peace Exhibition was planned at the former Bank of Japan, an A-bomb survived structure in Hiroshima, starting from late July and the objects they were working on were for the exhibition. Having been familiar with the works of Michelangelo or Auguste Rodin, I could hardly understand what the objects being born through their fingertips were supposed to express.

We were taken to a dreary/bleak classroom that had extra high ceilings. More than ten students sat in a lump at the stairs in the corner as soon as they got in the room. They were in torn jeans, shirts and jackets smeared all over with clay or metal rust, let alone paint, and kept chewing gum. When I stood in front of them, I felt tension, a strange feeling I had never experienced before, probably because I had something surging up in me – an obstinate feeling that I would make their interests concentrate on Hiroshima.

After our presentation was over, they began folding cranes with 20-square-centimeter white paper. Enthusiasm whirled as we joined them in folding, but they were taciturn. I said to myself that they were the kind of people who would express their inner feelings through creating. I promised to see them again in Hiroshima.

On August 18, I visited Mr. Sunairi for his private art exhibition at the Hiroshima Modern Art Museum, taking two Swedish young men along with me. His artwork was an elephant lying on the floor that had its feet cut off. He explained that elephants are the animals that do not forget things in the past, and that the message of his work was “Hiroshima should never be forgotten.” His artwork was over my head without his explanation, but the young men showed interest and asked Mr. Sunairi many questions.

We moved to the former Bank of Japan for the Peace Exhibition where we found the young students’ art works from New York. The paper cranes we had helped to fold were dancing in the air. Again, their artworks were beyond my comprehension, but somehow I felt their message not to repeat the cruelty. The American students said they were learning about Hiroshima from the people who came to visit the exhibition.


(At New York University)


(Exhibitions at former Bank of Japan)


(Footsteps of an elephant)

47 America 4-12

A Charismatic Citizen of the United States

On the morning of April 27, 2005, I was in Virginia Beach in Norfolk, Virginia, not knowing how to pass the time. Studying the map, I found the MacArthur Memorial on the opposite side of the street. I thought this would be a good opportunity to see how American people think of General Douglas MacArthur. But the street, which was too wide and busy with speeding cars, discouraged me from walking across it. When I gave a casual look at the grass around my feet, I spotted a rare four-leaf clover. I found one after another. Finally I picked eight four-leaf clovers there and pressed them in my datebook.

At three in the afternoon, we paid a visit to Rev. Pat Robertson, the former president of the Christian Coalition, a Christian fundamentalist group, at the building which he owns. The building looked like a western castle. He is a televangelist and hosts a show on a cable television, CBN. It took a long time before he showed up, although we had made an appointment. The walls of his gorgeous office proudly displayed his picture taken with previous presidents and VIPs. Some of them were conservatives and others were liberals. These pictures show how influential and charismatic he has been.

Mr. Okada, a Chugoku Shimbun Newspaper reporter, started the interview, saying, “You are a spiritual leader of American citizens. We would like to ask your opinion about nuclear issues.” Mr. Robertson made a model answer, saying, “Personally speaking, I am very concerned about the spread of nuclear weapons.”
Mr. Okada asked him if the U.S. could stop developing small nuclear bombs. Mr. Robertson answered, “I don’t think we can stop. Evil governments exist in the world, such as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Because they are very dangerous, the U.S. forces are necessary for world peace.” Mr. Okada pursued, “You mean that is why the U.S. needs nuclear weapons, don’t you?” “The U.S. has been trying to promote democracy around the world. We possess nuclear weapons as a deterrent to realize a peaceful world. We will never use them unless we are attacked. Terrorist groups are a real threat. We should possess nuclear weapons as an imperative measure. Saddam Hussein wanted his country to be a nuclear power and wanted to monopolize oil in that region. The U.S. gave him a warning,” said Mr. Robertson a little defensively.
He turned to me and said in a flat and decisive tone, “I feel very sorry about the adversity of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But the then Japan’s policymakers are to blame.” I said to him, “Hiroshima thinks that dialogue and mutual understanding, not force, are the only way to resolve conflicts. We want nuclear weapons to be eliminated. Peaceful relationship with Muslims can be attained through dialogue, can’t it?” He only returned a smile to me.

While waiting for a taxi outside the building after the interview, we saw the garden stretching around the building and spotted a small structure resembling the Flame of Peace in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, which will burn until the day of the elimination of all nuclear weapons in the world. This structure also has a flame. One member of our group said, “I wonder what the flame means.” Mr. Okada replied in a second jokingly, “It will burn until the day of the extinction of all Muslims.” But nobody liked his joke.


(Rev. Pat Robertson)

48 America 4-13

Four-leaf Clover

On April 28, 2005, I was at Ground Zero in New York again for the first time in three years, accompanied by a middle-aged man who introduced himself as an educator. The site, which had been cleared and leveled, looked odd with construction incessantly going on. Following him, I came to the reception desk of a big building. After a strict security check, we entered the interior, and I found myself in the Memorial Hall for the 9/11 victims. There were photos, notebooks, clothes, accessories, neckties, and rings, as well as messages from family members and friends. There were poems, pictures and letters, gorgeous artificial flowers, and many Stars and Stripes and also Japanese victims’ photos and condolences. A mother and infant were sitting on the floor talking to a photograph of their loved one. The same scene was repeated here and there. Wherever I might cast my eyes, grief welled up in me.

Being here, I realized that there had not been any place for consolation in Hiroshima after the A-bombing. The dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki could not leave even a single picture behind, much less be remembered in such a grand Memorial Hall.

After leaving the Memorial Hall, I was shown to the office of Peaceful Tomorrows, the 9/11 victims’ bereaved family group. This group, protesting the belligerent Bush administration and appealing to it to stop retaliation, had grown into such a big one that it began to receive peace activists’ attention worldwide.

Ms. Colleen Kelly, who came into the room late, took her seat across from me. She made a cry of surprise, saying, “Hi, Keiko.” I stood up and said, “I have something for you.” I took her hand and gave her a four-leaf clover wrapped in tissue paper. She burst into tears with her hand on her mouth. People around us were surprised at the “turmoil” and looked at Colleen and me.

Three years ago, when a dialogue meeting was held at a Buddhist temple in New York, I made a speech, saying, “It was said that no trees or plants would grow in Hiroshima for 75 years after the A-bombing. However, many four-leaf clovers grew on the grounds of the girls’ junior high school I entered four years after the A-bombing, and I was very happy, putting four-leaf clovers between the pages of my hymn book and Bible. The four leaves are said to symbolize hope, faith, love, and happiness. I believed that God brought us happiness because Hiroshima had experienced such misfortune. But when I learned the fact that I found so many four-leaf clovers was caused by radiation, I was disappointed. There will be no four-leaf clovers growing at the World Trade Center site. Please be happy about the fact that any nuclear weapons were not used in the 9/11 incident.”

When I finished my speech, Colleen called me to a corner of the room. She pulled up her skirt, saying, “Look here!” There I saw a four-leaf clover tattoo on her thigh. “My brother, who was killed in the 9/11 incident, used to have a tattoo. So I got the tattoo done in the same design,” she said, with tears in her eyes.

This time, Colleen winked and smiled at me, patting her thigh, and said, “My brother showed me the way to live.”


(Reunion with Kelly)


(A four-leaf clover)

49 America 4-14

Akiba Project

It has been generally accepted in the United States that World War II started with Pearl Harbor and ended with the Atomic bombings. The U.S., which regards the Atomic bombings as righteous, has not made any apology to Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Indeed, the U.S. has used sophistry that many lives were saved by them, and the idea has taken root among U. S. citizens.

In the 1970s, the Chugoku Shimbun and Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation started preparations for a project which would invite U. S. journalists to Japan to help them understand the facts of the Atomic bombs, various problems brought about following the bombings, and nuclear issues taking place all over the world. The present mayor of Hiroshima City, Dr. Tadatoshi Akiba, used to teach at Tufts University in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. The invitation project started in 1979, thanks to his extraordinary efforts. It was named the Akiba Project and continued for the next 10 years. A total of 40 journalists were invited, and as a result of having them study, they have become the driving force to question the U. S. justification here.

Prof. Diana Roose at Oberin University met me at the airport in Columbus, Ohio, when I joined the World Peace Mission in the middle of the mission tour. She said she went to Hiroshima as one of the members of the Akiba Project in 1980. She also said that she made another Hiroshima tour together with her son Kevin in August, 2004.

She rushed to meet us in Wilmington, Ohio; Washington, D. C.; Westtown High School in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and New York, visiting us from her work place or home depending on our Mission’s itinerary, and also volunteering to help as advisor. Her figure next to Mayor Akiba, marching at the front of the peace march, cheering with all her might, will never leave my memory.

Mr. Greg Mitchell, active in writing circles, also introduced himself with pride as a product of the Akiba Project. When he said, “I produced Child Bomb. I have confidence in the work,” I cried with surprise at this wonderful encounter. I had made a voice appearance in the movie, persuaded by a Japanese staff member.

I expressed my thanks, saying, “I cooperated in producing some movies with the themes of pacifism and nuclear abolition, and I asked them to let me see the movies when they were finished, but in vain. Child Bomb is the first work presented to me.” Mr. Greg Mitchell showed his surprise with his whole body, much more than I did.

Returning home, I bought a book written by him, Hiroshima in America, since it was introduced to me. Its contents have so much meaning that I am reading it slowly page by page. I have the other volume yet to read.


(With Diana in Central Park)

50 America 4-15

A Japanese Teacher in New York

As with all religions, when the interpretation of Scriptures differs, styles of faith are diversified and subdivided. Christianity is not an exception. Former President George W. Bush calls himself a pious Christian and attacks Islam in his style.

The Quakers, one faction of Protestantism, is a very faithful Christian group. In ordinary churches, priests lead their followers and seekers; however, Quakers don’t consider one man better than any other, and seek their inner light through meditation. They also hold on to peace at any price without giving in to secular authorities. If I were to say that Quakers resemble Zen Buddhists, its authorities may object.

On April 29, 2005, our World Peace Mission visited a high school in Brooklyn, New York, run by Quakers. When we tried to prepare for the exhibition of A-bomb-related photos brought from Japan, the teachers said, “Our students are very sensitive. We are worried about making too strong impact on them. Don’t exhibit tragic pictures.” I said to a Japanese teacher among them, “Why not? What can we convey by putting a blindfold on their eyes?” She said, “I also would like them to face reality. However, the American way is different from the Japanese way. To protect young people from bitter experience is important.”

I flatly said, “It is generally accepted in the U.S. that only soldiers fight in war. However in other countries, not only children but women indiscriminately were killed in war. The Atomic bombing killed people instantly and indiscriminately.”

The program, however, proceeded as the host of the event wished it to be. The time allotted for me was only about fifteen minutes. I was afraid that they would think they really understood Hiroshima. In the end, however, I settled for the fact that the Quaker students listened to me, even though many American citizens believe that the A-bombing on Hiroshima saved many lives.
At the end of the program, we took a commemorative photograph with big smiles, displaying one-thousand paper cranes folded by Sanyo Jogakuen High School students in Hiroshima Prefecture.

In the U.S., this kind of event planned by outside groups is organized through the considerations of teachers and requests from students, not by the school authority. This program was realized by the enthusiasm of Ms. Mie Makishima, a Japanese teacher of the school. She repeatedly apologized for having an argument with me. I said to her openly, “In the U.S., they divert their eyes from something tragic. I am used to it. I was given chance to talk about Hiroshima’s tragic experience because they are Quakers. Thank you.”


(Brooklyn High School)


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)