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Posts Tagged ‘Hiroshima’

To President Obama in Hiroshima and candidates promising a better world…this is

from the children :

 

Voice from the Unborn

You promised me, eons ago,

A world, free of battlefields, soldiers, children

Abandoned  in fear and hunger.

You offered me Hope, again and again.

A world, you said, where we will stand

Hand in hand, beyond  color, religion, gender, age,

One race. One humanity.

 

You promised me a world

Free of poison in oceans, earth and air.

“You  are the future”, you told me,

“Come and be born in this world I will

Create  for  you.”

 

My brothers and sisters who believed you

Are now old men and women, and they wait.

They wait.

 

Listen to my voice, your unborn child.

 

Eons ago, you sliced the chrysanthemum

Off  its stalk and left it

Naked in the sun.

 

Over the ashes of Hiroshima,

Our victory was hailed.

Beneath that, my ancestors lay buried.

 

Stop using me, your unborn child

For promises and meaningless  rhetoric.

The future is now.  I can’t wait any longer.

The future is now.  I want to be  born.

Today.

©Frances  Kakugawa

 

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kapoho line

book signing kapoho

This is a quote from a statement made yesterday by someone:

“The Japanese do not talk about earthquakes, volcanoes, etc….”

So here I am at the Volcano National Park, signing my book: Kapoho:

Memoir of a Modern Pompeii. I begin my stories with Pearl Harbor and end with the lava

destroying my home village, Kapoho.

Below, I’m holding Charles Pellegrino’s book: To Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima at Barnes and Noble. The voices of  the survivors of Hiroshima echo out of the pages. And yes, we are all Japanese, btw.

b&n 1

 

 

 

 

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cover hell and back

Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima by Charles Pellegrino

Before my mother died, she left me with a nagging thought. She told the minister, “ Don’t let me be forgotten.” What if all my ancestors in Hiroshima had said this? What if my grandparents or their parents and their parents had said that, too? I know nothing of them until today. They have remained statistics without names or personhood, except for the surnames of both my grandfathers: Kakugawa and Takahashi. Until today, I have carelessly referred to every member of my Hiroshima family as “my ancestors who were killed in the Hiroshima bombing.”

Today, they have risen out of the shadows because of Dr. Charles Pellegrino’s newly published book, Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima. My ancestors have become real people. They are children, teenagers, young adults, mothers and fathers and grandparents. They are children who went to school on an empty stomach because of war rations and of their mothers who would try to find forgiveness by leaving their special food on their children’s graveside for the rest of their lives. They all have a voice.

The story begins in Hiroshima at the first flash of the bomb and ends at Nagasaki and beyond. Approximately 300 people from the smoldering city of Hiroshima fled to safety to Nagasaki. Nagasaki was home to many of these survivors. 90% of them were killed by the second bomb. Thirty people survived the second atomic bomb in Nagasaki to become double survivors. One known survivor would experience radiation for the third time in Fukushima.

This story is told through the voices of the survivors of the bombings. Pellegrino preserves that part of history with his forensic and archeological expertise along with his poetic and masterful use of language. It is not a generic history but a very personal and humanistic one. It is not a political story, it is a story of humanity. It is not a story of blame, it is a story of forgiveness and hope for our future children.

Pellgrino had originally published a riveting book titled : Last Train From Hiroshima. After publication, more survivors sought Pellegrino to tell their stories, stories that were silenced for 70 years. Their message is clearly told…what they experienced must not happen again. What happened to Hiroshima and Nagasaki must not be forgotten, ever for the sake of our children.

Each time Pellegrino brought forth the story of a child, a teenager, a mother or father, I saw them as my ancestors. Ancestors I haven’t thought of as real people.

On pages 43-44, 14 year old boy Akihiro Takahashi’s story is told with uncensored description of the people he saw that day. Pellegrino calls it the un-gloving where skin is burned away and only flesh remains. Takahashi bears many of these scars.

Twenty five years later, in Washington D.C., Takahashi met the pilot of the plane who dropped the bomb and here is part of their conversation:

Pilot Tibbets sees the scars on Takahashi’s hands. “Is this the effect of the A-bomb?”
Takahashi: “Yes, we must overcome the pain, sorrow, and hatred of the past—and {we must} work together to make sure that people never experience this gain.”

Tibbets: I understand but I would have to do the same thing, under the same circumstances; because once war breaks out. Soldiers can do nothing but follow orders.”

Takahashi said later, “Among humankind’s abilities, it is said imagination is the weakest and forgetfulness the strongest. We cannot by any means, however, forget Hiroshima, and we cannot lose the ability to abolish war. Hiroshima is not just a historical fact. It is a warning and a lesson for the future.”

My mother’s voice echoes back. I need to believe that Akihiro Takahashi was one of my ancestors. My mother’s maiden name was Takahashi.

On Page 208, Pellegrino speaks of Kiwanu who survived the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and yet, a third time.

Kiwanu had chosen, as his family’s place of refuge, the pristine-appearing fields of Fukushima. On March 11, 2011, he would suddenly come to a special unity of feeling with the Kakugawa family, whose members had departed Hiroshima ahead of the war, seeking the illusory peace of a farming community in Hawaii. To the west of Kapoho Village lay beautiful Pearl Harbor/ and somewhat nearer, a scared mountain that would one day bury the entire village beneath a lake of lava.

Many of the names are familiar surnames found in our communities: Sato, Sasaki, Doi, Fujii, Yamaguchi, Nagai, Yoshioka, and many many more, but you don’t need to bear the same name or ethnic background to find meaning in Pellegrino’s words. He speaks for all humanity.

We are all familiar with Sadako and the Thousand Cranes. Sadako’s brother Masahiro asked Pellegrino to continue the legacy of his little sister who made a thousand cranes while dying from cancer.

“I think Omoiyari is the best way to start. The worst way is to call ourselves victims. To say ‘victim’ requires a victimizer, and the victimizer is led to blame; and that starts the cycle of blame…

Sadako understood this theme more personally and more intensely than most people ever will. And she had only enough time to begin teaching anew what most of us have so easily forgotten.”

The survivors who told their stories to Pellegrino are all adults but their memories are from their childhood so these stories are from the children who survived. They are not pretty stories but they are real and a part of who we are. Surely, as Pellegrino and the survivors proposed, each time we do an act of kindness, we honor and remember our ancestors by helping to create a world of peace.

Thank you, Charles Pellegrino, for helping us to not forget all those who have passed before us.
And to my mother, no, you and all those before you, will not be forgotten because there are the Charles Pellegrinos of the world who will painstakingly pick through the mountainous piles of political and historical debris to bring us the human story of all our ancestors. So we carry on this legacy of peace, forgiveness and human kindness in each of their name.

Pellegrino’s book is dedicated to Tomorrow’s Child.

1st published in Hawai’I Herald

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                   Hiroshima

We sliced the chrysanthemum

Off its stalk

And let it naked in the sun.

 

My parents did not hear from any of their families after that day.

In 1989, Noriyo and her family moved to Hawaii from Hiroshima. Her grandmother was exposed to the radiation as a child, and was now ridden with cancer throughout her body. Her physician had recommended the mild climate of Hawaii. Noriyo entered my third grade class:

 

             44 Years Later

a dark mushroom cloud

follows me across the Pacific

into my classroom.

 

forgive us, Noriyo,

for Hiroshima

and Nagasaki.

 

        Voice from the Unborn

 

You promised me, eons ago,

A world, free of battlefields, soldiers, children

Abandoned in fear and hunger.

You offered me Hope, again and again.

A world, you said, where we will stand

Hand in hand, beyond color, religion, gender, age,

One race. One humanity.

 

You promised me a world

Free of poison in oceans, earth and air.

“You are the future”, you told me,

“Come and be born in this world I will

Create for you.”

 

My brothers and sisters who believed you

Are now old men and women, and they wait.

They wait.

Nagasaki, they said, was the start of Peace.

 

Listen to my voice, your unborn child.

 

Eons ago, you sliced the chrysanthemum

Off its stalk and left it

Naked in the sun.

 

Over the ashes of Hiroshima,

Our victory was hailed.

Beneath that, my ancestors lay buried.

 

Stop using me, your unborn child

For promises and meaningless rhetoric.

The future is now. I can’t wait any longer.

The future is now. I want to be born. Today.

 

                               ©Frances Kakugawa

 

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My good friend Takashi Tanemori invites you to his art exhibit in San Francisco:

 

Silkworm Peace/Kaiko Heiwa Institute Presents

            An Art Exhibit by Takashi T. Tanemori

                    ~A Survivor of Hiroshima~

 

“US and JAPAN: A Bridge Between Nations”

 

2014 marks the 69th Anniversary of the atomic bombings of the Japanese

cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on August 6th and 9th, 1945. Forever

remember- Never forget. “Today we all must become honest historians. The

greatest way to avenge your enemy is by Learning to Forgive”.

-Sadao and Takashi Tanemori

 

August 6th OPENING on Hiroshima Day,

Meet and Greet the Artist, 6-9pm

 

August 9th on Nagasaki Day,

Film Screening and Q&A with Artist, 1-5pm

 

August 24th Artist’s RECEPTION

and book signing, 1200 to 2:00 p.m.

 

Artist’s book is available at the website $29.95 (special event price $25)

“Hiroshima: Bridge to Forgiveness” by Takashi “Thomas” Tanemori and John Crump

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

CONTACT

 

Elizabeth Weinberg, Emissary Takashi T. Tanemori, Founder

エリザベス ワインバーグ 胤森 貴士 トーマス

Kaiko.heiwa@yahoo.com Silkwormpi-usa@sbcglobal.net

 

Visit the website: http://www.hiroshima-forgiveness-tanemori.com

 

EVENT LOCATION:

The Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin St.@ Geary, San Francisco, CA

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      Hiroshima

We sliced the chrysanthemum

 Off its stalk and left it

 Naked in the sun.

 Over the ashes,

 Our victory was hailed.

 Beneath, my ancestors lay buried.

 

                   Voice from the Unborn

 

You promised me,  eons ago,

 A world, free of battlefields, soldiers, children

Abandoned  in fear and hunger.

You offered me Hope,  again and again.

A world, you said, where we will stand

Hand in hand, beyond  color, religion, gender, age,

 One race. One humanity.

 

You promised me a world

Free of poison in oceans, earth and air.

“You  are the future”, you told me,

Every election year.

“Come and be born in this world I will

Create  for  you.”

 

My brothers and sisters  who believed you

Are now old men and women, and  they wait.

They wait.

 

Listen to my voice,  your unborn child.

Turn Hope into Reality,

Future into Today.

 

Stop using me, your  unborn child

For promises and meaningless  rhetoric.

The future is now.  I can’t wait  any longer.

The future is now.  I want to be  born.

Today.

 

frances kakugawa

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Join me in Hawai’i or send the news to anyone you know through the Coconut Wireless!

BOOK SIGNING SCHEDULE IN HAWAI’I
BOOK LAUNCH CELEBRATION
Wednesday, December 7 |6pm – 7:30pm
Native Books at Ward Warehouse
1050 Ala Moana Blvd.
Reading & Light Refreshments
(808) 596-8885
Saturday, December 10 | 11am – 12pm ( signing)
Barnes & Noble, Kahala Mall
4211 Waialae Ave.
(808) 737-3323
Saturday, December 17 | 11am – 1pm (reading&signing)
Book Gallery, Hilo
259 Keawe St.
(808) 935-4943
Saturday, December 17 | 3pm – 5pm ( lecture and book signing)
“A Writer’s Pen” Workshop—The Writing Process and Memoir Writing
East Hawaii Cultural Center, Hilo 141 Kalakaua St.
Sunday, December 18 | 1pm – 2pm ( signing)
Basically Books, Hilo
160 Kamehameha Ave.
(808) 961-0144

 

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