Dr. Yurii Naumtcev, Director of the Botanical Garden of Tver State University, Russia, writes to inform us that on August 6th 2014 a ceremony was held in the botanical garden in memory of the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, 69 years ago.
The ceremony was attended by members of the Japanese community who live and work in Tver, and other Japanese visitors.
We are grateful to Dr Naumtcev for sending us this report, and especially so because he tells us that on that day, named “Day Open Heart,” a very special ginko-bilboa sapling was planted by a 12-year-old Japanese girl called Hitomi-san. It is the first sapling that the botanical garden has grown from seeds obtained from Hiroshima through the Green Legacy Hiroshima initiative.
The full report of this event can be found at: http://garden.tversu.ru/den_otkritogo_serdca_eng.html
On behalf of Green Legacy Hiroshima we extend our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Yurii Naumtcev and the staff of the Tver State University Botanical Garden and all who participated in, supported and attended “Day Open Heart.”
Torrential rain fell on Hiroshima all through the night of 19th-20th August, depositing more than a month’s rainfall in a few hours. The hills above Asaminamiku and Asakita to the north of Hiroshima city had already absorbed a lot of water during a very wet summer season. At least three major landslides occurred between 3:20 a.m and 4:00 a.m. hitting the suburbs of Yagi as well as Midori and Yamamoto, burying dozens of people under mud and debris, and washing others away.
Nineteen houses have been completely destroyed, 31 half destroyed, forty partly damaged and nearly 200 invaded by mud and sludge.
So far, 71 people are known to have died and at least 15 people are still missing. We ask for your prayers for the victims.
As for the clean-up operation, emergency services and personnel from the Self Defence Force are working as hard as they can, as well as many volunteers both Japanese and foreign residents of hiroshima.
Here are some photos taken by GetHiroshima.com which give you some idea of the scale of the disaster and how volunteers are working to help clean up the area…
Source: Photos available under a Creative Commons licence at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gethiroshima/sets/72157646809910355/
Foreign Resident Volunteers’ Experiences
You can read about the experiences of a couple of long-term foreign residents of Hiroshima who volunteered to help with the clear-up one week after the mudslides struck:
- Volunteering in the Hiroshima Landslide Zone by JJ Walsh
- Landslide Volunteer Clean-Up Crew by Dan James
If you are in Hiroshima and want to volunteer…
Here is the Japanese site for Hiroshima landslide volunteers: http://hiroshimavc.jp/
Do not go directly to the disaster zone. You must first visit the volunteer registration centre at Asa-minami-ku to register, get volunteer insurance and equipment.
Asa-minami-ku Volunteer Center Asa Minami Ku, Nakasu 1-38-13
Tel: 080-2931-3142 and 080-2931-3242
Asa-kita-ku Volunteer Center Asa-kita-ku Social Welfare Center 3-19-22 Kabe, Asa-kita-ku
Both centres are open from 9am to 5pm.
Here is the location of the disaster area:
Earlier this year we posted a book review of Rising From the Ashes, A True Story Of Surviaval And Forgiveness From Hiroshima by Dr. Akiko Mikamo.
In her book, Dr. Mikamo uses a vivid narrative style to tell the story of what happened to her family when they were caught up in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. The story is narrated by her father, Shinji Mikamo, who was a teenager at the time of the bombing.
Last month the BBC published Shinji Mikamo’s experience in the form of an “immersive story” in the magazine section of their website under the title, When Time Stood Still .
The story is based on conversations between Dr. Akiko Mikamo and her father, Shinji and features some extracts from Dr. Mikamo’s book, Rising from the Ashes.
Click the screenshot of the BBC website, below, to access the BBC Magazine story:
Sixty-nine years ago at 8:15 a.m. on 6th August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
Destruction from the bomb was massive. Shock waves, radiation and heat rays took the lives of some 140,000 people — nearly half of the town’s population. Three days later, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing another 74,000.
A-bomb survivor Koji Hosokawa, who was 17 years old at the time, tells his story. Hosokawa spoke to a Democracy Now! team next to the A-Bomb Dome, one of the few structures in the city that survived the blast.
KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] I was, at one point, three kilometers away to the northeast from this area. I was exposed to the bomb there. And there was a building, which was a very stout building. And so, miraculously, I survived.
AMY GOODMAN: How old were you?
KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] Seventeen years old.
AMY GOODMAN: What were you doing in that building?
KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] I have to explain about it. Around the end of World War II, men throughout Japan were drafted and sent to battlefields, adult men, so there was a labor shortage. And so, in order to have some people working in various places, 12-year-olds or 13-year-olds or older than these students were mobilized and worked at various places, so they could not study. And so, I was one of the mobilized students, and I was working at that building. That was a communication bureau. And today it is now NTT, a telephone company. And people thought the imminent landing of the U.S. forces, Allied forces. And I was there in order to have some communication lines established. And so, I miraculously survived.
But my younger sister, she was also mobilized to work at some place. And she was at 700 to 800 meters away from the hypocenter, very close to the hypocenter, and she was exposed to the bomb there. And she was with a teacher and the students, the other students. And in all, 228 people were there together with her. And all of them were exposed to the bomb. And my biggest sorrow in my life is about my younger sister died in the atomic bomb.
AMY GOODMAN: On that day, on August 6?
KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] Yes, she died on that day. But in many cases, the relatives or family members could not find their children’s bodies even. But in my sister’s case, fortunately, she was carried to a relief station outside Hiroshima City, and she could receive some care. And she died there. Many people were missing. But I thought it was very fortunate that we could have her body. So, at that time, that was a fortunate case.
AMY GOODMAN: How old was she?
KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] Thirteen years old. She became 13 very recently at that time.
AMY GOODMAN: She died of radiation sickness after or the actual effects of the blast on August 6th?
KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] In those days, we didn’t know it was an atomic bomb. Nobody knew it was an atomic bomb. And so, I was around this area because I didn’t know about the bomb, so I was very close to the hypocenter, but I stayed around that area. The Japanese people in those days knew nothing about atomic bomb. If I had known that, I would have fled from the city to as far as possible.
AMY GOODMAN: Where were your parents?
KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] They were outside Hiroshima, suburbs, Miyajima. Do you know? Miyajima island. So the house was OK.
AMY GOODMAN: How did they find you?
KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] I walked. The next day, I walked all the way home. There was nothing here. I walked through the burned-out city, walked through the city.
AMY GOODMAN: What did your parents say when they saw you?
KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] My mother was away to the relief station. And so, soon after that, my sister came home in a coffin. She was burned all over her body, but fortunately, her face was OK. She was almost naked. Aside from her face, she was almost naked, and almost all her body was burned. This is only one of the cases, just one case of many. Many people experienced a similar situation.
AMY GOODMAN: This is almost 69 years later. It was the United States that dropped the atomic bomb. How do you feel when Americans come here to Hiroshima?
KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] I hate war, rather than the people of the United States. I hate war. War makes everyone crazy. So, in the war, innocent people are killed. And the ultimate case, I believe, is A-bombing.
AMY GOODMAN: Mr. Hosokawa, as a hibakusha, as a A-bomb survivor, do you feel the United States should apologize for dropping the atomic bomb on your city?
KOJI HOSOKAWA: [translated] The A-bomb was dropped in Hiroshima and also one in Nagasaki. And I think that atomic bombs were dropped not just on our cities, but on the whole human beings. And so, I have many things to talk about, about my experience of the A-bomb, but if the next one, the third A-bomb is to be dropped, then the Earth will be annihilated. I want people to understand, this is going to be—you know, the Earth is going to be annihilated. So whenever I talk, I want them to understand this.
The Peace Memorial Park, until the A-bomb, people lived here. Everything was destroyed. Everyone died around this area. The Peace Memorial Park is a beautiful park today, with so many trees. But later, they planted small trees, and after decades these trees became bigger, and now a very beautiful park today. So, I tell the visitors about this, too. I want them to understand people lived here. Please tell the people that people used to live here. War makes everyone crazy.
AMY GOODMAN: Hiroshima survivor Koji Hosokawa. He was speaking at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. His 13-year-old sister’s diary has been published as a book; it’s called Yoko’s Diary: The Life of a Young Girl in Hiroshima During World War II.
Special thanks to Naoko Koizumi for translating the interview and Makiko Nakano of Democracy Now! Japan, as well as John Hamilton and Denis Moynihan. If you’d like to see our three days of coverage from Japan, go to: democracynow.org
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.
ANT-Hiroshima friend, Mr Hector Nihal, Director of the Aids Awareness Society in Lahore, Pakistan approached us with a proposal to hold two events on 6th August 2014 to commemorate the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Hector also proposed to hold a peace-poster competition at several schools. The winning posters will be used to create a peace calendar for 2015.
In his proposal, Hector explained that,
Pakistan is one of those countries that has nuclear weapons along with its neighbour, India… Pakistan is also one of those countries where peace has become a dream for every citizen, but religious conflicts, political conflicts, war and terror, drone attacks, suicide bombs, target killing, increased inflation, conflicts with neighboring countries and within the country have affected the peace of mind of every Pakistani.
Hector would like to contribute to the promotion of peace education in Pakistan so the 6th August Commemoration programs in Lahore and Karachi are intended to appeal to Civil Society Organizations, journalists and intellectuals using educational materials donated by ANT Hiroshima.
At the same time, Hector believes that,
6th August is a day of concern for all peace loving people around the globe and to raise their voice to call for peace and say no to mass destruction Nuclear weapons, and if we really want to change the world it is important to involve young people the youth, to become ambassadors of peace.
The poster project involved 1000 students at 10 high schools in Lahore and Karachi, who were taught about the effects of nuclear weapons and about the destructive power of Nuclear Weapons in Pakistan.
Here are some pictures of the posters that were created and displayed at one of the schools: