Shock Treatment…I still remember Hiroshima – By Kaz


By Guest Blogger: KAZ MATAMURA — Japanese (read bio)

I still remember Hiroshima after 65 years

We couldn’t do the Girls Gone Wild thing during our summer breaks; instead, we had home schooling with tons of homework.

We were forced to keep a journal everyday. That’s how Japanese keep kids from going too out of control during the long break. Well, our breaks weren’t that long; they were only five weeks.

August 7 and 15 were special summer school days. Usually, I didn’t show up to these special days, but that particular morning, my mom needed to clean the house thoroughly, so she kicked me out. After hanging out with friends in the classroom, bragging about how tanned we all were, we were lined up and marched to the auditorium.

When the baldheaded principal showed up at the podium, we bowed to him as he bowed. He talked about how healthy we looked and said that we shouldn’t overeat. Then he told us about the meaning of this day.

In 1945, this day, around eight o’clock in the morning, eighty thousand people disappeared in a flash. He told us if it happened right now in this city, that we, our parents, friends, neighbors, the man at the fish shop, the newspaper deliverymen, would be all gone. He’s a good speaker – he knows how to “personalize” history for us.

When the auditorium was coldly quiet on that August morning, he brought out a special guest, a middle aged man in a grey suit. We gasped, but without sound, because we didn’t want to be rude to our “special” guest. He bowed, so we bowed. When our heads were back up, we stared at him again. The left side of his face was melted, with a grey purplish surface. His eyes were both open, but his left eye didn’t close when he smiled. His speech was clear, but there was a slurp-like sound at the end of his sentences.

Then the lights went black. We panicked, but again, without sound. We heard the grey suit man’s voice. “Here’s how Hiroshima looked like before.” A slide of a nice suburb with skinny kids is shown. “And this is the same place after the bombing.” A slide of petrified city looking liked it belonged inside a giant ashtray. And he keeps clicking, showing new slides. More than just black and white pictures, there was also artwork that was burned into our minds. Red clouds, black air, body parts and slumps of naked bodies piled on the ground.

When the burns were bad, we had to take off clothes to ease the irritation. Sometimes the radiation took the clothes off. Sometimes the radiation took the skin off.”

While showing the artwork, he told about how he was trying to find his home in the city with only one eye open. He saw a pair of legs standing with no body attached. He saw the imprinted images of people against building walls from when the bomb hit. He walked against the current of people heading towards the river for water, many of them dying on the street or in the shade while resting. It was a hot day, but he lost all sense of time because it was all dark.

We bowed him to say good-bye and went back to our homerooms. No one took home the book about the bomb that the teacher recommended.

Since that day, I’m now for the disarming of all military forces. Nothing can justify any humans being nuked and killed. War should be illegal.

When the United States cut off Japan’s oil supply, Japan got mad and attacked Pearl Harbor. The States joined the war. Even though, they had no resources, Japan believed that they were not inferior and so they did not give up easily. So after almost three years, the States says, “That’s it!” and drops the a-bomb for the first time in human history to see the damage it can cause.

Japan surrendered and went to bed with America the beautiful for next sixty-plus years. It was an easy switch because when the Emperor announced he was no longer a god, they didn’t have a religion. Buddhist is atheism. We don’t believe in god or anything beyond reality.

But now, we are dealing with people who believe in life beyond life. They will keep goin’ ‘till the end – because that’s where they want to go. The same old stories can be found in history books.

Oh, I forgot. Our kids are not really learning to read….

88 Responses to “Shock Treatment…I still remember Hiroshima – By Kaz”

  1. Jim Fitzgerald says:

    How can ANYONE do this to another human being? Men create war, for political gain or religious causes. Why? Do away with borders and religion? Answers? Makes no sense to me, it never has and it makes no sense to me today.

    • kaz says:

      True. Religion, Politics, etc create the believing wall – and everyone who is on the other side of their wall is “non-human.” Star wars mentality. So obedient … those religious freaks…

    • C. Norman says:

      What does religion have to do with Hiroshima? And which religion are you talking about?

  2. Kazumi says:

    You are a good story teller, Kaz san!

    I’m not sure if war should be illegal, but I do agree lots of points. When I saw Face of Jizo last month, it reminded me of Hiroshima. How survivors of a-bomb struggled with guilt when being dead or scarred were the norm.

    War used to be fights between countries with rewards, but after WW2 it became total war involving justice. It’s a tricky thing. I wish someone would come up with a brilliant idea to save us all. (Jesus? No… Even if he’s perfect, his followers won’t) Maybe a superman.

    • kaz says:

      Besides “Why-not-ism,” tell me why wars should stay legal. Justice is JUST-IS, and there is no common justice among all societies.

      George Carlin was right – 2 commandments: Thou shall not lie … and Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself.

      We are so lucky… at least we have ability and freedom to keep seeking information. xxxxx

    • Andrew W. says:

      Kazumi, Jesus IS the answer. Even a superman has to bow down to him. Kaz, George Carlin was an atheist and I’m sure he’s burning in hell for his self absorbed views. Atheists think they’re all powerful but George couldn’t save himself could he? Think about that.

  3. karen lyons says:

    Hiroshima was a horrible, horrible tragedy, however I believe that we should see and/or hear both sides of the story. My father, who just passed away at the age of 98, was at Pearl Harbor and Iwo Jima. All of the lives that were lost at both battlefields was also a horrible tragedy. He describes unbelievable stories of body parts, heads etc. floating from the shore. My Uncle Bill as in the Bataan death march. He couldn’t even talk about it. He would get so upset. One day, after I had pestered him to talk to me about it, he finally described the tortures that he had witnessed, His best friend was wounded, and the rule was that if you couldn’t walk by yourself, then you were shot. Uncle Bill’s friend tripped and fell, and my uncle tried to pick him up as fast as he could but he wasn’t fast enough, and the Japanese came back and shot him. Uncle Bill had to leave his friend lying on the side of the road. I guess what I’m trying to say is: War is hell! It will never be illegal and shouldn’t be. It’s not just political, or religious. We have raised a society of hatred and intolerance, “my opinion only counts if it is the same as yours”. In an effort to keep relative peace, we will be called upon to defend ourselves. Opening up the borders will not stop wars, it will just bring a multitude of people into countries to bitch and moan about how bad our country is. I’m tired of hearing it…if they don’t like it here then go back home..but they won’t because they like our welfare and unemployment. Hiroshima was bad..yes…but don’t expect us to apologize, because had they left us alone, we would have stayed out of it. As a famous Japanese veteran was quoted as saying: “We have awoke a sleeping giant”.

    • kaz says:

      Again, nothing good comes out of war. It creates cash flow, but does it worth it? Money comes and goes – but experience (whether through my grandpa or through your great grand ma) would stay for the rest of our lives.

    • Brett says:

      Karen, I just read your comment on Hiroshima and I thank you for speaking out. I am tired of us taking responsibility for everybody and apologizing for everything. If we are so bad why does the world look to us to set the standard in all areas of life? Why do they copy us? Why do they come here? I’m sick and tired of the America bashing. The only thing I agree with Kaz about is that nothing good comes out of war – it only creates a cash flow for the greedy promoters of free enterprise. Thanks for standing up and saying things that everyone is too politically correct to say. Also I’m sorry for what your father had to go through.

  4. Taro Kato says:

    Hiroshima was indeed a tragedy. But so were the brutal and aggressive conquests of Japan into Asia. To be killed in an instant, or to be killed over a period of four years, does it matter? For an American perspective on the war, http://www.pbs.org/thewar/

    The failure of humanity to love each other is the real tragedy. At times, as history shows, war is inevitable if peace is to reign. Making war illegal sounds “good, ideal and noble”, but such wishful thinking is ignorant of our reality and our human condition.

    All that said, Kaz, thank you for sharing. We need to hear about the human stories, lest war devolve into abstraction and faceless statistics.

    • kaz says:

      Drunk driving is illegal, right? War is still legal, right?

      We drive everyday – it affects our daily life.

      MQ1 predator does not fly over our houses (yet). It does not affect our starbucks morning.

      If we bring the draft back – we will see who truly believe in war.

    • Jeremy K. says:

      Thanks for the link – very illuminating. I just want to add that liberal thinkers always tend to support the “underdog”. I’m all for supporting the so called underdog if their noses are clean with no heinous acts in their history. I also agree with Kaz that if we bring back the draft, I truly doubt that most people would be supporting war.

  5. Natalie says:

    “When the burns were bad, we had to take off clothes to ease the irritation. Sometimes the radiation took the clothes off. Sometimes the radiation took the skin off.” That says it all. What a horrible, horrible tragedy and what a shame for us Americans. But the big question in the big scheme of things is what is all this war worth – what does war REALLY accomplish?

    • kaz says:

      True… what does it accomplish?
      I don’t think America was blamed for it – because out of the A-bomb, we got GODZILLA out of it – and scared American kids! LOL!!!

      (well, till “Poltergeist” came out, and scared winnie the poop out of Japanese kids!)

  6. megaman says:

    Congratulations Kaz for being bold to share this story. I’ve heard this story so many times but this time I feel humbled by your personal account. what a tragedy!

    • kaz says:

      Tragedy – true, but as a theatre artist, i believe there is always a comedy behind of every tragedy.
      I am yet to find a comedy in this…

  7. Berphia Owens says:

    I’m glad you decided to talk about Hiroshima today 9-11. Today, all attacks against humanity should be decried. Loss of human life, not just American life by violent acts is always a disgrace on us as the species that’s supposed to be the smartest of the animal kingdom. I take my hat out to you for your boldness in reminding us of another act of terrorism.

  8. Vinny says:

    The kind of hate that’s going around now with muslims and 9/11 is the same hate that started the interment camps for the Japaenese after Pearl Harbor. Let us not forget, hate is dangerous.

  9. Sandra G. says:

    Nothing like looking at history in the face. Wow, Kaz! What an experience! I grew up just like you looking at history in the face. My grandparents barely escaped the grasp of the Nazi regime and so did some of their surviving friends and family members. One thing is very important. Never forget the atrocities that our ancestors went through. Ignoring the reality around us will only allow those who inflict terror and destruction to succeed.

  10. churchmouse says:

    This account of Hiroshima is all more special because its not from American propaganda. Very touching. Sometimes I weep for my people and the sometimes cold controlling heart of America.

    • kaz says:

      Is it possible to have a heart as a nation?

      Unless, of course, we are talking about Switzerland.. We need ALPS to chillax… and some good goat cheese. Learn from Swits!

  11. Justine says:

    One question – how did this experience with the grey suit man affect your life and your view of America, Americans and your fellow Japanese?

    • kaz says:

      I learned…
      1. Anger won’t get u any where
      2. Japanese pride won’t go before a fall (mine does).
      3. I hate drama…

      Seriously, it was not “propaganda” speech – no one said it was anyone’s fault, they said it “this kind of mistake should never be repeated.” So I never thought America as “enemy.” It was a crazy time…

      • boo says:

        Kaz I agree with your comments about anger, drama and pride but do you really feel that way? It just sounds like you trying to be politically correct.

  12. rubbadubbdubb says:

    pimp

  13. R. Thompson says:

    To me the Japanese internment camps here in America were the worst. The worst. How were we better than Auschwitz-Birkena then?

    • kaz says:

      Japanese didn’t get gas chambered here.

      Also, because of the hatred toward Japanese right after the Pearl harbor, they were living in fear. There were several incidents of Asian people getting lynched on a street.

      So, having Japanese moved to the camp, it was safer for Japanese, and other Asian ethnics.

      Of course, the living condition was horrible, they didn’t know why, what and how long they would be there. Most of them lost everything they worked SOOOO hard for. even most of them were Americans, they were treated like enemies and it WAS a PRISON, and not a Martha Stewart CAMP.

      But again – Japanese attitude of “sometimes, there is nothing you can do – just LIVE with it” saved their spirits. They made the best of the situation, and now, look at how they thrived.
      Did you know they had baseball teams IN the camps?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_Independence

  14. YahooGirl22 says:

    I really like this post. It is well written and that makes it so easy to get to the heart of a horrible topic, which is through the eyes and minds of innocent Japanese children. Thank you for sharing.

  15. James DC says:

    all the nations of the world will bow down before the Almighty God. you can run but can’t hide. it is written.

  16. champagne charlie says:

    this just proves that war achieves nothing but line the pockets of greedy men.

  17. Glad to be Alive says:

    i respect the Japanese for the emphasis they put on education. you don’t need “girls gone wild” because that’s not going to get you respect or a future because boobs drop and bodies get old but an education is more valuable. say thanks you had tons of homework, obviously it worked for you.

  18. Nada says:

    We can all have an apathetic attitude to war when it’s not in our own backyard. 9-11 gave us a small dose of what others suffer every day in other parts of the world.

  19. KudoKing says:

    Kaz, wonderful perspective on an otherwise touchy subject. It’s just like Roots and the way Alex Haley wrote it and let it unfold like a great story instead of an angry account of history. Well done girl.

  20. carolita says:

    Kaz are you a comedian? If not you should be.

  21. Philly says:

    Your responses to the comments are very circumspect and funny. Keep them coming.

  22. doggone says:

    This is a fascinating subject but I have always avoided looking at pictures of the face of human terror decaying human flesh. Thanks for not posting any pictures.

  23. soagstar says:

    politics have strange bedfellows

  24. suro1813 says:

    Japanese had no choice but to surrender and go to bed with the enemy.

  25. Merilyn S. says:

    surely you must be kidding. your Japanese kids are surely learning to read. education is key and you are a prime example of a good education can do.

  26. Atkeson1761 says:

    Your article makes me think that this may a perfect time to further my college education in political science and international affairs.

  27. mack says:

    thank you for this amazing article.

  28. Lutrick1984 says:

    Every day we are warned about radiation from chemo, mammograms, etc., yet the America has downplayed the damaging radiation effects of the atomic bomb we dropped on Japan in 1945. Isn’t that something!

  29. prematurity says:

    Now this is a very nice website. Great topic well written. Keep up the good work.

  30. herbie says:

    great post .

  31. Hung B. says:

    Well what can I say? great post and I completely agree with you on all points I would like to add a link on my blog to your blog post because its that good.

  32. adrenaline says:

    you sound like a religious cynic, what you need is a good doze of Jesus.

  33. Theresia Shoopman says:

    Thanks for this, I found it really interesting and enjoyed reading it. I found your site on google, you should advertise it more

  34. Nadene says:

    Kaz, A really pleasant blog site and great write-up. there lots rubbish printed on the internet about tons of several subjects. I have to give kudos to whoever set up your internet site and 2nd of all to you for composing what i can only describe as an excellent post. I honestly believe there’s a skill to writing posts or web site articles or blog posts that only a few posses and frankly you might have it. The mixture of enlightening and excellent subject material is unquestionably remarkably scarce considering the massive volume of website throughout the web.

  35. East Meets West says:

    All’s fair in love and war but Hiroshima was barbaric.

  36. Schoenfeld16 says:

    Great blog! I really love the new approach by you gals!

  37. topcat says:

    Straight to your point, i love it. Keep up the work people. Dont let anyone stop you.

  38. weddington says:

    Is this a coincidence or what? Fantastic article,

  39. Spaulding221 says:

    Good account!

  40. Osuna67 says:

    Unfortunately, I doubt we will ever know the true story of Hiroshima from either side.

  41. Pokereyes says:

    I’ve heard stories that the Japanese exagerated the damage of the atomic bomb but any way you look at it nothing good could come of using such a device.

  42. Krunal says:

    Thank you for another great article. Being Japanese, where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of presentation. Congratulations on a job well done.

  43. Suzette Sattley says:

    I wish I’d found your site ages ago, I loved reading your post

  44. Gigler says:

    For one reason or another, I can’t see all of this article, stuff keeps hiding? Are you utilising javascript?

  45. beautiful nails says:

    Gosh, I’ve been looking about this specific topic for about an hour, glad i found your website! :)

  46. Jonathon says:

    Interesting account but I think America was justified to nuke you guys.

  47. Adam S. says:

    Funny, I was thinking along the same lines. Adam

  48. kidsport says:

    I always look forward to your blog updates because of their quality content and usefulness.

  49. Williamston says:

    Being a Newbie, I’m regularly doing research for article content that could actually help me . thanks for a different persepectif on the atomic bomb.

  50. electriclight says:

    I have to thank you for this post.I definitely loved reading every little bit of it.

  51. ergo112 says:

    Thanks a ton for discuss this topic. I am amazed by the information and facts you presented. It shows how very well you fully write this subject.

  52. Daniele says:

    no one can completely recover psychologically, emotionally or physically from injuries suffered from an atomic bomb. don’t let anyone fool you.

  53. Brenda says:

    This is the best blog I’ve ever seen in my life! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your thoughts and experiences with everyone.

  54. funseeker2010 says:

    I like the way you write, it takes us right into the situation and we see everything just as you paint. This is a rare gift. Congratulations on a beautiful blog.

  55. Kritzy says:

    very profound.

  56. Tammi says:

    I don’t know much about Hiroshima. After reading your blog I went on Google to get more information and I can not believe that this happened just 65 years ago. Thank you for enlightning me

  57. carol0 says:

    I love the way you write and also the positive messages in your blog.

  58. seo99 says:

    Love the blog here. Nice colors. GREAT posts like this one. Hope to see more.

  59. Pokerface says:

    I love the expression “Everyone needs to express there own opinion and feel free to hear others”. You do that well on your blog. :)

  60. Redd says:

    How old were you when you met that incredible man in the grey suit?

  61. Dave.Reneke says:

    I’m from Australia. I found your website in Google few moments ago, and thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. You handled a touchy subject with class and humour. Congratulations on a great blog.

  62. Elicia V. says:

    thumbs up

  63. MatthewTaylor says:

    You surely have talent which can be felt in your writing. It is remarkable how you come up with all these new and exciting subjects. I can’t wait for your next work.

  64. Spitz says:

    I wonder if America would use such a device on any anglo saxon country like England or any of the Scandinavian countries. I doubt it. For some reason ethnics seem easily disposable. I bet your $$ blonde blue eyed people would never be attacked.

  65. Sly99 says:

    Japan was blindsided by the US Government and that attack was totally unnecessary. If everyone could be as forgiving as you the world would be alright.

  66. Nbong says:

    I still remember Hiroshima after 65 years because people will not let us forget.

  67. sheeny shiny says:

    The Japanese have admitted that all harmful radioactivity disappeared from Hiroshima 11 days after the blast. These Japanese have been making us feel guilty all these years over false claims. Don’t fall for their propanda

  68. Sandra Lord: Co-Founder of this Blog says:

    There have been thousands of articles written on Hiroshima, but I must say that this is one of the most interesting. Your decision to write it from a child’s reaction to a survivor’s stirring eyewitness account is just beautiful.

  69. Muirhead82739 says:

    I love your sense of humor Kaz even in such a sordid subject. I wonder why we don’t openly discuss this subject of Hiroshima more.

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