To New York, Arizona and New Mexico

Keiko Murakami

With cooperation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the A-bomb Exhibition was held in 101 different cities in the U.S. from August, 2007 to the end of 2008.

In summer, 2008, I met Mr. Ken Koshio, a musician living in Arizona, who had visited Hiroshima in support of the A-bomb Exhibition in Arizona. He joined me in my peace activities for a few days. http://www.kenkoshio.com

Later, he sent me an e-mail from Arizona. It read, “Won’t you come to Arizona? With Hopi and Navajo tribes, the first hibakusha in history, we could work together with a slogan, “Building a Peaceful World without Nuclear Weapons?” I held off answering his invitation.

On October 11, 2009, a lecture meeting by Shigeko Sasamori, a hibakusha living in Los Angeles, and Kathleen Sullivan, President of the Hibakusha Stories Project, was held at the Buddhist Hall in Shiba, Tokyo. www.hibakushastories.org

Ms. Sasamori took the occasion to introduce Kathleen to me. Kathleen said, “I’m planning the Hibakusha Stories Project around New York City in 2010 during the period of NPT Review Conference. I’d like you to be part of it.” I gave her my positive answer right away, because I thought I could stop in Arizona on the way back.

I will take part in the Hibakusha Stories Project for ten days from May 16. Then, I will move to Arizona by myself.

The e-mail I received from Mr. Koshio said that the schedule had been finalized. His group performance and my A-bomb story together will be given at two institutions—National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque http://www.nuclearmuseum.org and Arizona Historical Society Museum in Phoenix. http://ww.arizonahistoricalsociety.org

Also suggested activities were to visit reservations of Hopis and Navajos and exchange friendship with them and a visit Los Alamos Museum and White Sand Trinity site in Alamogordo, the first nuclear testing site in history, if I want. I will return home on June 13.

Mr. Koshio is going to bring a Hopi performer, Derrick Suwaima Davis, to Japan in early August and make a prayer tour throughout Japan.
August 6 will be a special day for them. They will attend the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony and pray for the perished souls in the A-bombing and for world peace at 8:15 a.m., the time the bomb was dropped. After that, I am going to give them a guided tour to elementary schools in Hiroshima City.

At 6 p.m., Peace Prayer performance will begin at the open stage on the river bank across from the A-bomb Dome. It will be about time for lanterns floating on the river in Hiroshima.

On the following day, the 45th World Friendship Center anniversary event, Hibakusha, Our Life to Live will take place at the International House (1-1 Nishi-Kojin-machi, Minami-ku). They will join in this event, too, and confirm solidarity as world citizens. http://www.hicat.ne.jp/home/ryugaku While in Hiroshima, Mr. Koshio group will stay at the World Friendship Center and exchange friendship with people from all over the world. http://www.wfchiroshima.net

HSO decided to dispatch me when this plan first came up. Hiroshima COOP supported us with a 100,000-yen grant.

Hibakusha Stories Project also offered 1,000 dollars. I am very thankful for these financial supports since I always have been on my own.

It is unknown how much can be achieved by a single hibakusha, but I will try the best I can to reach people, hoping to bring back fruits to Hiroshima in the year of the 65th anniversary. Now, I keep myself busy preparing for the trip.

P.S. Please enjoy the performance of Derrick Suwaima Davis on YouTube.
World Champion: Derrick Suwaima Davis, Hopi/Choctaw, Old Oraibi, Ariz., 240 points
Four-time Champion Hoop Dancer Derrick Suwaima with Ken Koshio (Japanese Performer)
Hoop Dancers at the Heard Museum


An A-bomb Survivor from Hiroshima

Goteborg Newspaper, September 18, 2008

Around 20 people who gathered in Backa Kulturhus intently listened to Keiko Murakami, whose life has been full of ups and downs.
The story of how she survived the A-bombing in Hiroshima was beyond words, but at the same time the way she has lived since then was inspiring.
Sitting at the front, Mari Spendrup said that it was wonderful she could listen to a person who really experienced the A-bombing.
On August 6, 1945, Keiko was at home in Hiroshima, only 1.7k. from the hypocenter. With her friend Hjordis Anderson interpreting for her, Keiko told how all her family members miraculously survived, but that the physical and mental trauma lasted all through their lives.
With her husband Karl nodding beside her, Mari Spendrup said that she was moved to find Keiko Murakami’s strength, in spite of all such experiences. Karl added that it is difficult for us who have never experienced such a thing to understand it.


The audience was certainly moved, but it took a long time before Keiko could speak about her own experience. She had never wanted to talk about her experience to others until she met Hjordis Anderson 18 years ago. However, in time she realized that it was her obligation and mission to tell her experience. She concluded her story, saying that she would like people, young people in particular, to listen to her experience so that they can turn their efforts to world peace, since the number of A-bomb survivors is getting fewer year by year.


Colgate University Students visited Hiroshima

Two professors and 29 students of Colgate University in New York State, USA came to Japan on May 24 for peace studies, staying in Hiroshima and Nagasaki until June 2. Their schedule in Hiroshima was arranged by HIROSHIMA SPEAKS OUT.

Colgate University Students make questions and take notes in earnest

We heard that they were studying the general facts of the A-bombing by reading Masuji Ibuse’s Black Rain and Kenzaburo Oe’s Hiroshima Notes before their trip to Japan.

So we made a schedule for them, with some Hibakushas’talks as the core, so that they could learn that the horror of nuclear weapons is not something in the past, but a horror that exists today.

Particularly they were young people from the US, which is a nuclear power. Since they are the ones who will play central roles in the US society in the future, we wanted them to make the most of this opportunity to think whether or not it is possible to secure peace for their nation by owning nuclear weapons.

They visited the Peace Memorial Museum and listened to a message given by Mr. Steve Leeper, Director of Hiroshima City Peace and Culture Foundation, on the morning of May 24.

Students taking notes so that they could remember all the contents of his speech

First, Mr. Leeper explained the present situation of nuclear proliferation, and talked about the inequalities of NPT and the loopholes. He also talked logically and comprehensibly about why nuclear weapons should be abolished, what sort of processes would make it possible, and how Hiroshima is exerting itself.

After the speech, some specific questions were asked one after another. Mr. Leeper said that it was his personal view that the present peaceful use of nuclear energy should be converted into other substitute energies, such as solar energy, because of the difficulty and danger of the reprocessing of nuclear waste.

He also said that the development of nuclear weapons requires huge experimental apparatuses compared to that of chemical and biological weapons. Now that surveillance satellites are orbiting around the earth, it is not difficult to discover nuclear facilities. The control of radioactive materials will be thoroughly realized by building an international control system or strengthening IAEA’s authority.

In the afternoon the students had a period to listen to two survivors’ experiences. They learned directly from the survivors how they suffered the losses of families and friends, and how their suffering lasted long after the A-bombing. The students said that they were very shocked, describing their feelings.

Students listening to a survivor

Later on, they offered the paper cranes they had folded in the US to the Children’s Monument.

Paper cranes folded by the students are offered to the Children’s Monument
On May 25, they went to Hiroshima Jogakuin University, listened to Prof. Ron Klein about US and Japanese comparative culture, and enjoyed having lunch with HJU students of the English department. They then attended a Cross Cultural Communication class with HJU students.

The students made a day trip to Itsukushima Island on May 27. Then they visited the US military base in Iwakuni, and moved on to Nagasaki on May 28. They were a group of about 30 students, and we thought it might take a long time for them to move from one place to another. The concern was soon swept away. They were youths of more or less 20 years of age, serious and punctual. They kept notes in earnest in each lecture and asked many questions.

We hear Colgate University will continue this kind of tour in the future. We look forward to that with eager anticipation.


A Big Throng of Cranes Come to Hiroshima

Keiko Murakami

“Sending Hiroshima out to the world” is HSO’s motto. We are actively involved in encouraging those who share the same idea with us or study trying to build up peace.

1) On June 19, 2007, Keiko Kotoku, a marimbist, and Keiko Murakami, an HSO member made a visit at a Japanese school in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Our flight had a big delay and we were very late for the appointment made by e-mail, but they welcomed us warmly. I told the active and cheerful students about Hiroshima, and dialogued with them about war and nuclear weapons. Was it because they were living in a foreign country that the students were responsive in reaction?
The students entrusted us with paper cranes with signatures put on the cranes’ wings.

Both Keikos talk about Hiroshima at a Japanese school in Buenos Aires.

At a Japanese school in Buenos Aires

2) On June 20, 2007, Keiko Kotoku and Keiko Murakami had an exchange with some percussionists who can represent Argentina. Gabriel Glocer and Hector Correa, in particular, who performed with Keiko, identified themselves with the theme of Keiko’s work, GAKU, meaning that we should learn from history. They held gatherings and concerts by calling their circles in great number. Both Keikos learned in Argentina that Hiroshima and Nagasaki had not been conveyed to the Spanish speaking sphere as well as Mexico that we visited last April. Naturally, they were surprised to know the disasters in Hiroshima and Nagasaki for the first time. Each of them promised that they would like to realize a peace concert in Hiroshima and Nagasaki some day. We gave a class for folding paper cranes. We were entrusted with paper cranes folded by the percussionists in Buenos Aires.

Happy artists, their cranes completed!

3) On July 10, 2007, Noriko who used to be a musical artist recited “Sadako and One-thousand Paper Cranes”, and Keiko Murakami, an HSO member, gave testimony about her exposure to the Atomic bombing at Kinuta Minami Elementary School in Setagtaya Ward, Tokyo. Then, politely waiting for their turns, the students said to Noriko and me, “what is the most important thing to avoid war? ”, “Why did the father of Barefoot Gen have to be blamed as an unpatriotic national when he said that war shouldn’t be fought, which was just right?”, “I’d like to shake hands with you, an Atomic-bomb survivor.”, etc., which were sharp questions and warm remarks made for us.

And a week later, paper cranes folded by the students were sent to me packed full in a cardboard box. I hear the cranes were folded by them out of their heightened feelings, without any intervention of their teachers or parents. A few of the cranes were hurt, so I gave them treatment and decided to send them all to Hiroshima.

I stringed them away with thread. Yoshie Watanabe, a Hiroshima TV director, who happened to be with me for an interview helped me with the paper cranes, which numbered 1,311 in all.

With 1311 cranes being stringed

4) On July 30, 2007, a lot of paper cranes were offered at Children’s Monument with the help of two high-school students who came from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Hiroshima TV showed it in the evening news show.

Note: Kalamazoo, Michigan and Numazu City, Shizuoka-ken have been sister cities since 1963. Both cities have exchanged visits every other year. A trip to Hiroshima was included in the program in 2005 for those who want to study Hiroshima. HSO has helped them with peace study from the very beginning including the visit of Miyajima or Itsukushima Island.

At the front of Children’s Peace Monument or Sadako’s Monument

A student from Kalamazoo offering cranes entrusted us


A thousand Cranes flying from Sweden

One of the members of HIROSHIMA SPEAKS OUT, Keiko Murakami, who is also an A-bomb survivor, has been sewing “seeds of peace” all over the world so far, and found out that one of the seeds sprouted out in Sweden recently.

Eighty-one students in the Japanese course at Luleo University, Northern Sweden, had an opportunity to listen to the story of Ms. Murakami in January, 2006. After that, they talked about what they could do for peace and decided to fold a thousand paper cranes. Led by Tomoko Okamura, a Japanese teacher at the college, they folded cranes together with an English family, and sent them to a member of HSO living in Hiroshima.

The cranes were dedicated to the Children’s Monument in Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima, by an HSO member. The statue was erected in honor of Sadako Sasaki, who died at the age of 12 of leukemia which is said to be an A-bomb disease, folding paper cranes with the wish for being cured. (Sept. 24, 2006)