Yoshiko Kajimoto

The Evil Will Be Repeated, Unless We Convey It

8. Importance of conveying A-bomb experiences.

Japan is a peaceful and affluent country today. When I ask young people if they know what day August 6th is, I have heard such answers like, “It is Mountain Day.” (Mountain Day is a Japanese national holiday falling on August 11.) On my saying, “The A-bomb was dropped,” there once was a response, “Where was it dropped?” Many young people couldn’t answer correctly to the question which country had dropped the bomb. I sometimes feel shocked to find so many people don’t know well about the WWII and the A-bombings.

In 2008, I had opportunities to tell my story to young people in the U.S. I talked not only about the A-bombing but also about the present existence of a number of nuclear weapons in the world. Furthermore, they have been downsized for their ease of use. Children didn’t know about the facts of the A-bombings or the fact that nuclear weapons are being produced even today.

For 12 years, I have been visiting Aizu-wakamatsu in Fukushima prefecture, to tell children about my A-bomb experiences. Children there know well about the Boshin War. (It was a civil war in Japan at the end of Edo period fought between forces of the Tokugawa Shogunate faction and the Imperial faction. The Aizu domain, whose castle was in Aizu-wakamatsu, fought as part of the Tokugawa Shogunate faction and surrendered.) But they scarcely know anything about the A-bombings and WWII.

The A-bombings are not history to us but are ongoing. Our fearful exposure to radiation is always with us. If we stop telling our stories, those bombings would be easily forgotten and the evil would be repeated. As long as there are some people keen to listen to me, I will never stop conveying my story.