Dad Was in the Newspaper Yesterday

The main Hiroshima newspaper yesterday ran a story on my Dad and his yearbook – and of international kindness.  Fittingly, it was the anniversary of the atomic bombing.

The main newspaper in Hiroshima (Chugoku Shimbun) ran an article on my father and his 1937 yearbook. (A) Mr. Tsukamoto 塚本, the man who kindly helped locate my father’s yearbook, (B) me 金本光司, (C) my father Koso 康三,
and (D) my father’s beloved Nichuu High School 広島二中.  (Since you all can read Japanese, in this case, it is read top/down, right to left.)

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Hiroshima conducts an annual, somber peace ceremony each year on August 6th.  A peace ceremony.  That’s the message.  Peace.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.  Just peace.

They are not calling attention to themselves seeking pity or repentance.  While there are still many who feel the Japanese brought this on to themselves, the citizens of Hiroshima have moved beyond forgiveness and are simply seeking to spread a strong global message for peace.

This year, the grandson of President Truman (below) was in attendance.  Ari Beser was there, too.  His grandfather was Jacob Beser – Enola Gay’s bombardier.  Wonderful.

Clifton Truman Daniel (center) lays a wreath during the peace ceremony in Hiroshima. His grandfather was President Truman.

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In my short story, “An Atomic Spark and a 1937 Yearbook“, it tells of how two complete strangers from Hiroshima – without hesitation – sought out my father’s yearbook from 1937.  They miraculously found one, made a digital copy and mailed it to me through my cousin, Masako, who still lives in my father’s childhood home in Hiroshima.  I printed it out and showed it to him a week before Father’s Day this year.

Dad – who is suffering from progressing dementia at 93 years of age – was overjoyed.  He recalled so many things from the most happiest years of his life…including being a track star.  Riding on the train to get to school with his friend Aoki…  The school song.  Dementia was put on the back seat for that morning.

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In a small expression of thanks, I had sent to Mr. Tsukamoto a flask etched with “Nichuu High School, August 6, 1945”.  I also asked he offer a prayer to the students of Dad’s high school on August 6th.  Dad’s beloved high school was but 1,500 yards from the bomb’s hypocenter.

Think about it.  1,500 yards from the hypocenter.  A Marine Corps sniper armed with a Barrett .50 caliber rifle can take out a target over 2,000 yards away.  The school ceased to exist.

As part of the peace ceremonies yesterday in Hiroshima, Mr. Tsukamoto visited the school’s memorial wall.  You can see the stainless steel flask on the black center stone in front of a praying Mr. Tsukamoto.

Mr. Tsukamoto offering a prayer for world-wide peace and in memory of my father’s high school’s students who died that morning in 1945. The flask can be seen directly in front of him.

In this photo, Mr. Tsukamoto is offering a symbolic toast with water from the flask.

Mr. Tsukamoto offers a symbolic toast at the school’s memorial wall during the annual Peace Ceremony.  It was unbelievably hot that day as well.  The newspaper’s white building can be seen in the background.

I will be showing the article to my father this next weekend.

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I wish to thank Mr. Tsukamoto, Ms. Kanetou and Ms. Michiko Tanaka, the reporter who authored this article on international kindness, forgiveness and peace.

To say it is incredible falls short.  1,500 yards short.

塚本様、金籐様、田中様、日本語で完璧に書くことは出来ませんがとても感謝、感動しました。お礼を申し上げる上、世界に平和あるように祈りました。本当に有難う御座いました。金本光司

24 thoughts on “Dad Was in the Newspaper Yesterday”

  1. I am sorry for all of the suffering. But I feel such hope in your story, in the Japanese people, in the forgiveness and moving on. What a beautiful world wide story. Thank you so much for your dedication to your father and these stories.

    1. Thanks, Chatter Master. I feel the entire world suffered. Everybody. Let us always remember how easy we have it today (outside of lame politics) because of the sacrifices made by all back then.

  2. ….I’ve written things and deleted them and written something else and deleted them too… I’m moved by the post – your dad’s reaction to the yearbook & the flask & the yearbook & everything else.

  3. You are a great Son Koji, you honor your Father and Family greatly with this personal story and other history posts. History like this needs to be shared, wonderful Job my Friend. Peace to all of those affected by HIroshima

    1. Hey, Veinguy… Hope things are well for you and the fam. A great son? I don’t know about that…but I do wish folks (especially my kids) to learn about the family’s past. And thanks for your wishes for peace… I appreciate that.

    1. Isn’t it? These two strangers from Hiroshima never once brought up being “victims” or anything of that sort. They did everything without a second thought – out of kindness.

      1. ” They did everything without a second thought – out of kindness.”

        Often it is the past which determines us. Just a thought: Perhaps it IS that past which fostered in them that compassion and human kindness.

        And we are all “victims” of some kind – whether we know it or not. “Nobody escapes unscathed when it comes to Life.” (one of my old sayings). It might be the burden you bear – or the lessons that can be learned from bearing that burden – taking a new look at things, and finding the lessons there. There’s always some curse in some blessing – and the opposite holds true.

    1. Wow… Thank you again, notsofancynancy. I have to admit: I am still very behind in acknowledging these undeserved accolades. Once I get the courage to properly (and understanding how to) respond, I shall! Thank you very much!

  4. What a wonderful article, and it finds one at a loss for words. The world was upside down during WW II, and the choices of the world leaders at the time, were certainly upside down. The world faced soo maney deaths and haterd on levels, I couldnt even begin to fathom. The peace in the thoughts from Japan are very great in this crazy world still filled with upside down haterd, if only more people were like this around the world in forgivness and love thy nieghbor. It brings to my mind the John Lennon song, IMAGINE.
    ONE LOVE
    Thanxs for the share!!!

  5. Apologies for coming to this so late Koji, I noticed the anniversary and thought of your Dad. Never imagined there’d be anything like this though. Good to read, thanks for sharing.

    1. Ian, apologies are never needed… And thanks for reading. I know you were busy with your own life and such… By the way, you Brits did a GREAT job hosting the games! Loved the James Bond opening!

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