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Emiko Okada: the story of an atomic bombing survivor (Part Three)

This is part three of a series in which we are uploading the English translation of an interview with Emiko Okada, a survivor of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. Her whole story will be told in parts, detailing her early life before the war, her experience in the bombing and its aftermath, her life in the decades following the bombing, and her activism in recent years, in posts over the next few weeks. The interview was conducted in Japanese and has been translated so that her story can be spread around the world, to encourage people to think more deeply about peace and the role of nuclear weapons in the world today. The interview was spoken and has been translated as is, so read it as if somebody was talking to you.
Part one, in which Okada-san speaks of her pre-war life and experience in the bombing, can be accessed here.
Part two, in which Okada-san speaks of her life and struggles following the bombing, can be accessed here.

 

“What can you do for world peace?”

My meeting with Barbara

I looked in the Chugoku Shinbun and an article titled “What can you do for world peace?” leapt out at me. I was 49 at the time, and it was an article by the World Friendship Centre. They were searching for people to undertake activities in the US. Until then, I’d only known dressmaking, I’d been completely focused on making ends meet and hadn’t given any thought to world peace.

It was a completely different world to me. One that wasn’t just Hiroshima. I’d only seen America in movies. Gone with the Wind and such. It was like a dream. I’d only thought that America must be super bright and fun.

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Emiko Okada: the story of an atomic bombing survivor (Part Two)

This is part two of a series in which we are uploading the English translation of an interview with Emiko Okada, a survivor of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. Her whole story will be told in parts, detailing her early life before the war, her experience in the bombing and its aftermath, her life in the decades following the bombing, and her activism in recent years, in posts over the next few weeks. The interview was conducted in Japanese and has been translated so that her story can be spread around the world, to encourage people to think more deeply about peace and the role of nuclear weapons in the world today. The interview was spoken and has been translated as is, so read it as if somebody was talking to you.
Part one, in which Okada-san speaks of her pre-war life and experience in the bombing, can be accessed here.

Living through the devastation

My father’s struggle

After the bomb fell, my dad had not only felt great guilt at losing his daughter, but both guilt and difficulty that the same middle schoolers he had been giving a radical military education to, he now had to teach about the sanctity of life and democracy; the middle schoolers who had survived, anyway.

During the war, even though they were officially middle schoolers, they were receiving the same education as the military. As the evacuation point for Matsumoto Commercial School was in Danbara, in the shadow of Mount Hijiyama, most people survived. They spent three days trying to clean away rubble in the care of the teachers, but were sent home. Within ten days, the war finished.

Now, he had to teach those same students democracy; my dad was very conflicted. As it was the same school, the same students. They blacked out all of the textbooks, and had to teach the importance of life this time around.

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Emiko Okada: the story of an atomic bombing survivor (Part One)

This is part one of a series in which we will be uploading the English translation of an interview with Emiko Okada, a survivor of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. Her whole story will be told in parts, detailing her early life before the war, her experience in the bombing and its aftermath, her life in the decades following the bombing, and her activism in recent years, in posts over the next few weeks. The interview was conducted in Japanese and has been translated so that her story can be spread around the world, to encourage people to think more deeply about peace and the role of nuclear weapons in the world today. The interview was spoken and has been translated as is, so read it as if somebody was talking to you.

Please click photos to open them bigger and have a closer look. Freshened up photos courtesy of Takeo Nakaoku.

The precious ‘normal’ days I spent in Onagachō

   
Emiko Okada (in her mother’s arms), with her older sister Mieko (middle) and her aunt, pictured on the left. (Photo taken 1937)

The birth of Emiko Okada (née Nakasako)

This is the first time I’ve told this old story like this. Though I am telling people about my experience in the nuclear bombing. It feels like I’m starting to get senile. Whilst I can still remember, I want to tell my story to those I meet. I’m starting to lose confidence in my memory.

I was brought up three doors down from where Setōuchi High School is now, in a place called Onagachō. I was called Nakasako. Emiko Nakasako. My birthday is the first of January, 1937.

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ANT-Hiroshima Introductory Pamphlet Available in Chinese Now!

We are excited to announce that the Chinese version of ANT-Hiroshima pamphlet was born with the help of our intern, Jenny Xin Luan. As Japan enters the new era of Reiwa, ANT-Hiroshima is also stepping up to broaden our audience group and strive to deliver Hiroshima’s message to more parts of the world while strengthening international two-way communications for global peace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spreading Peace through Animation

Created by founder of the Funkor Child Art Center Fauzia Minallah, and produced by ANT-Hiroshima, the animated short-film “Amai and Sadako’s Prayer” won first place in the 2018 MY HERO film festival.

Telling the story of Amai, the bird of light, along with her friends Babai and Janoo as they travel the world and meet Bibi, a girl from a war-torn country. Amai tells them the story of Sadako, another innocent victim of war, teaching the three of about hope, friendship and peace.

It was received very well by attendees at the festival. A Japanese-language version is also in the works at the moment as well. Please, do take a look at “Amai and Sadako’s Prayer” below.

 

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