By: Emma Smith
On Sept. 4, Findlay welcomed a very special guest on campus. That guest was, Certified Atomic Bomb Legacy Successor, Michiko Yamaoka. Yamaoka was able to give a firsthand experience on what it was like growing up with a mother who was in and out of the hospital for different illnesses. Yamaoka never understood what was wrong with her mother until she was in sixth grade. That was when she finally decided to ask her mother why she was always sick. After that, she was told the horrible story of the day Yamaoka’s mother and aunt witnessed the bombing that the United States dropped on Hiroshima, Japan.
Yamaoka’s aunt was in middle school during the bombing. Her school was less than a mile from the epicenter of the bomb. Her mother searched for Yamaoka’s aunt for two days and struggled to locate her, amidst the rubble. Yamaoka’s aunt died shortly after she was found, while Yamaoka’s mother struggled with radiation sickness for years following the bombing.
Yamaoka’s purpose for traveling all over the world to give speeches, similar to the one University of Findlay students witnessed, is to promote peace and prevent future suffering through new and appropriate approaches.
One thing that Yamaoka wanted to stress to her audience is that although Japan have suffered due to the bombing, they do not resent the United States. They understand why the United States government reacted the way they did.
Dr. Hiro Kawamura was the faculty member who was able to bring Yamaoka to campus. He coordinated with one of his colleagues from The Ohio State University, to make sure that she could speak at both campuses. This way it allowed Yamaoka to get her message to more people. Kawamura was very excited to host her because he feels that students today need to understand the importance they play in peace, on a nation and personal level.
“Warfare & peace are very close to each other. All of us have a stake in it. We tend to leave everything to politicians and the military. That is not right. It is our issue,” said Kawamura.
If you missed the speech but are interested in learning more, you can tune into UFTV on YouTube and watch Yamaoka’s speech. Japanese Week is Oct. 14-19 with events.