Peace and Disarmament
Atomic Bombing Survivors Visit SGI-USA's New York Culture Center
On May 7, 2009, SGI-USA's New York Culture Center hosted a visit by five hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) who had traveled to present their testimonies and speak out against nuclear weapons during the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) PrepCom being held at the United Nations. Their visit was coordinated by Mayors for Peace, an antinuclear lobbying group linking mayors of cities around the world.
Over 400 SGI-USA members and their friends welcomed the visitors, who had been between one and eight years old when the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and listened attentively to their life stories. With the group were 12-year old Yuki Tominaga and her grandmother Emiko Okada who experienced the bombing directly. Yuki, who herself suffers from health problems as a third-generation victim, spoke of the shadow cast by the nuclear bombing over her own life and appealed, with the direct eloquence of a child, for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
Noboru Tasaki, former director of the Nagasaki Municipal Peace Promotion Office, was the only hibakusha from Nagasaki with the group, which included individuals who had only recently determined to speak out against nuclear weapons. After the initial presentation, which included a musical performance by SGI-USA youth members, the survivors joined breakout sessions where participants could listen to their accounts and ask questions in a smaller session.
Also present were David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Kathleen Sullivan, UN disarmament education consultant, and Steve Leeper, director of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation.
[Adapted from a report from the SGI Office of Public Information, Japan; photo courtesy of the SGI Office of Public Information]