Atomic Bomb survivors are referred to in Japanese as hibakusha, which translates literally as “bomb-affected-people”.
In 2012 and 2013 Robert Croonquist and Kathleen Sullivan of Hibakusha Stories invited me to New York City to meet with hibakusha, survivors of the bombing of Japan, and to tell our stories about radiation and bombs to thousands of high school students.
New York City 2012
I was nervous and scared to meet three survivors of the bombing of Hiroshima. The bomb, built and transported from Los Alamos, New Mexico to the West coast by my father, ripped apart these women’s lives, families, homes, and neighborhoods. I was met with great love and respect. Their stories brought me to tears; their loving hearts opened my heart to heal more of my own pain. Each of the hibakusha told me how deeply touched they were by my story.
Hiroshima hibakusha Shigeko Sasamori, Reiko Yamada and Toshiko Tanaka and myself visited eighteen educational complexes; we spoke with approximately 2,100 students. We went in pairs and Toshiko, Reiko, or Shigeko spoke before me of the horrors they had lived through. Then I stood up and said my father built the bomb. The students eyes popped out, their ears perked up, and they sat up in their chairs.
We were invited to the United Nations and met with Angela Kane, High Representative for Disarmament Affairs.
Over the days, we each learned of the many similarities between us, from radiation dripping out our gums, to brittle and broken bones due to radiation, to screaming nightmares. We all were living in environments were it was forbidden to speak about radiation or what was happening in our bodies. In my family, everything about my fathers work was top secret and never discussed. In Japan, part of the treaty with the US was the Japanese were forbidden to talk about what the radiation was doing in their bodies.
New York City 2013
Hiroshima hibakusha Shigeko Sasamori, Reiko Yamada and Jong-keun Lee, a Korean resident of Japan, Clifton Truman Daniel, President Truman’s grandson, and myself visited seventeen educational complexes, both public and private. We spoke with close to 3,000 students.
Clifton Truman Daniel, Shigeko Sasamori, Jong-keun Lee, with Marie Cochrane interpreting, and I spoke at the Japan Society in New York. This event was live-streamed to Japan.
Cinema Forum Fukushima 2012
In May of 2012 the Hibakusha Stories team visited many New York City area high schools to make presentations to the attentive school kids. These recordings document the visits to East Community High School and Lower Manhattan Arts Academy High School.
Dr. Cynthia Miller / Hibakusha Interview
Hibakusha Stories NYC School Visit @East Side Community High School #1, Facilitator: Kathleen Sullivan, PhD.
Hibakusha Stories NYC School Visit @East Side Community High School #2, Hibakusha Testimony: Reiko YAMADA
Hibakusha Stories NYC School Visit @East Side Community High School #3, Hibakusha Testimony: Dr. Cynthia Miller & Student Comments/Q&A
Hibakusha Stories NYC School Visit @Lower Manhattan Arts Academy High School #, Facilitator: Debbie Brindis
Hibakusha Stories NYC School Visit @Lower Manhattan Arts Academy High School #2, Hibakusha Testimony: Toshiko TANAKA
Hibakusha Stories NYC School Visit @Lower Manhattan Arts Academy High School #3, Hibakusha Testimony: Dr. Cynthia Miller & Students Questions
Cinema Forum Fukushima 2013
On May 2, 2013, The Japan Society & Hibakusha Stories presented “Atomic Bomb Survivors Meet Descendants of Harry Truman and the Manhattan Project” with students in New York City Public High Schools. The evening featured Clifton Truman Daniel, Shigeko Sasamori, Jong-keun Lee, and Dr. Cynthia Miller. Marie Cochrane graciously acted as interpreter. Robert Fish of the Japan Society & Robert Croonquist of Hibakusha Stories provided opening remarks.