At the World Religious Council: The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima

New York, N.Y. Human arrogance will destroy the world. This was my theme as I pitched in to cover a presentation for Mr. Masami Nakagaki of Jodo Shinshu, who encountered a sudden misfortune in his family. I am attending the World Religious Council in Toronto, scheduled for three presentations. And suddenly I have a fourth.

I think that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
has a different meaning than other historic acts of wars.

The most memorable of these session was speaking about the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Talking as a Japanese on this theme, the atomic bomb, I thought about it deeply what I should talk about. Even now, war continues every day in various places of the world and people suffer all the time, but I think that the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has a different meaning than other wars.

The atomic bomb instantly burns human bodies and buildings. In Hiroshima,and Nagasaki, approximately 210,000 people instantly died. The total number of casualties is not clear but estimated to be 368,000 people. This many people were burned in a blink of an eye.

Kazuko - 600

The atomic bomb is burned from inside the body radioactivity. The phenomenon that a person sitting on the stairway of concrete becomes only a black shadow is a condition that occurs because it is burned with radiation from the inside of the human body in only a few seconds.

This is the same as the mechanism of the microwave oven. If you put a bagel in a microwave oven than necessary timing, the inside will be completely burned black, the outside will be very hard. All Human beings were burned from the inside, and surfaces of the body, skin, face, eyes and hands all was melted and hanging down from the bodies. The pictures shows absolutely speechless sights.

Why was such an atom bomb dropped on Japan? Given the situation at the time, there was a possibility of dropping it on Nazi Germany or possibly Fascist Italy. When I consider why it was dropped only on Japan, I am confused…

Of course there are various theories, the most common simple prejudice. Germans and Italians were European, not Asian. But, rather, I think this is the work of the Universe. I can understand this only from the point of an at of the Universe.

In terms of the Universal Energy, I thought of the temperament of the Japanese people that I have discussed here several times already. From this point of view, I come to the conclusion that this incident was actually a good thing in the history of Humankind.

Japan is a country with a history of disaster. The Japanese have suffered again and again, both seriously and thoroughly. But we always crawl from there, not trying to rule Nature, which as a god, as a natural disaster caused by God, we accept everything with respect and fear of Nature despite the pain and painful feelings. From there, the Japanese rise again and again.

I think the Universe knew this and that only the Japanese could stand up and bear it. Therefore, this energy moved in that direction.

It seems the Japanese accepted that the atomic bomb was done as a work of God, not by simple hatred of the Americans. But as natural disaster. As I was talking from the podium of the Congress, many in the audience were shedding tears. I finished talking with tears of appreciation myself, that I was understood.

Indeed, not less than ten years from the end of the war, not only did Japan revive as a nation but felt grateful for the postwar assistance of the United States. Everyone became friendly. I am often asked, ‘Why did Japan not feel bad about Americans who did such a terrible thing to them?’ This may be something only the Japanese people will understand.

The Japanese have a temperament of ‘accept and surrender with dignity,’ accepting sadness and suffering with the mind of understanding and forgiveness, incorporating and digesting this into their mind.

Like with natural disasters, we Japanese accepted the atomic bomb while being sorrowful. Some American say, ‘It seems with the passage of time — over 70 years since the end of the war — they forgot their anger.” This is absolutely not so. We will never forget. How could we?! However, the Japanese are like that. Perhaps it is in our ethnic DNA.

After my presentation concluded, many people came to hug me, in tears. It was a powerful moment of my life.

Even today, various countries are trying to build nuclear weaponry – especially North Korea and Iraq. No one other than the Japanese actually know that the bomb is so intense it burns everyone in one or two seconds. As human beings, can we truly accept making such a thing again? I ask, Why do we have to compete, using money for such evil? I wonder if governments could spend money on migrant poverty and to alleviate starvation of people around the world.

Rev. T.K. Nakagaki, President of the Buddhist Council of New York, has conducted a memorial for Hiroshima-Nagasaki in August every year in New York for 25 years. I implore him to never stop as long as humans make nuclear weapons. There are many tragedies of war all over the world, but the story of the atomic bomb is only known by the Japanese people. I think that the universe has so reckoned.

Where we create such destructive weapons like this, there is total lack of human dignity. Human beings are trying to concur the Nature. However, thinking of wildfires in California which are burning as we speak, it is perhaps obvious this is Nature’s act. Almost a Revenge or Revelation?

I think this is because we have forgotten the greatness of Nature in our daily life. Like Japanese people in the Jomon period (14,000–300 BCE), we must feel respect and be fearful of Nature from the bottom of our hearts.

Human arrogance has reached its ultimate peak and today emotions and hearts with feelings and intelligence are created into the Robot. We are trying to create our own clone with AI. This idea is most frightening to me. Let’s think again, think about the Universe and Nature and our Planet Earth. All these global warming, floods, California fires are starting from our own arrogance as Humanity.

Originally published as Vol. 50 in Weekly Biz, November 17, 2018; translated by Jim Luce.

See: Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura Column in Japan’s Weekly Biz



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About Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura

View all posts by Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura
Dr. Kazuko Hillyer Tatsumura
Dr. Kazuko was born into a distinguished old family in Kyoto, Japan, and graduated from Toho conservatory of Music in Tokyo. In 1961 she came to U.S. as a pianist sponsored by the Boston Symphony. She studied at Boston University, New York University, and received her Ph.D. in Oriental Medicine from New York State University and the International Academy of Education in Tokyo. From 1968 to 1992, she promoted cultural exchanges from East to West and vice versa, and became a world famous impresario, producing 2,000 events each year all over the world encompassing over 140 countries. In this connection, in 1972, she went to Dharamsala to find the lost Tibetan Folk Opera, and met His Holiness the Dalai Lama, with whom she remains a lifelong friend. In 1973 and 1991 she arranged and funded personally the tours of the Folk Opera of Tibet to the West. She has received many medals and honors from different countries. Her tireless life long work in Philanthropic field is vast and well known ranging from Save the Beacon Theater, Save the Boat People, Help the Homeless, natural disasters of earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as relief to AIDS and HIV positive children in Africa. She has been a dedicated Board Member to both the J. Luce Foundation and Orphans International for years. Her work focuses on the Tibetan people; Tibetan children remain especially strong in her heart. She raised fund for the new academic building for Manjushree Orphanage in Tawang, India and supported many aspects of the school. See HuffPo pieces entitled Japanese Holistic Healer in NYC to Build School for Tibetan Orphans in India, A Japanese Dinner with Raul Castro’s Daughter, and NYC Gala in Support of Tibetan Orphans Set for January.

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