Momma Kaz's
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How did I make it to this ripe old age, you ask?

The mushroom cloud from the pikadon (A-bomb) wasn't visible to those of us underneath it.

We couldn't tell what had happened.

We couldn't tell what was to come.

Those that survived and tended to the injured and disposed of the deceased would in turn fall ill.

I wished to live, and with that desire and the help of those that fell around me, I, somehow was allowed to live.

No one knew what an A-bomb was back then.

Those of us that survived lived in fear and doubt.

We had done no wrong, and yet our presence underneath the mushroom cloud branded us.

We the survivors desired to speak out, but most chose silence for fear of being shunned as victims of radiation poisoning.

And of course, no one would take an A-bomb victim for a wife.

That was when papa-san proposed, and I was blessed with a pregnancy that I thought was no longer possible.

I wanted to have the child of the papa-san that I loved so much.  But I worried about the uncertainties that my child would face.

I anguished over the fate of my child to be, but I realized that I had to live not just for myself but for those whose lives were cut short.

I wanted to pass along the gift of life.

As a mother, I was stern.  Maybe too much so for this place and age.

But I was compelled to give my only daughter, the lone seed of papa-san, the greatest chance for flourishing in this foreign land.

You see, as a radiation victim, no one expected me to live this long.  Not even myself.

I was fortunate to watch my daughter grow into a woman, and then a mother.

My willingness to speak publicly put us at odds sometimes.

I lost all my teeth by the time I was 30, and break bones every time I fall.

It hasn't been an easy trip.

But as a survivor, I have a duty to retell my story to anyone that asks.

Peace is deserving of every effort.


Oct.26-2011@U.N. "I want to forget. I want to forget. But I cannot forget!!"
This is the voice that I've struggled with since Hiroshima.

In the beginning I drowned it out by keeping busy....with regular visits to the hospital, and working at my sewing skills.

But it was my wonderful husband, who wedded me knowing that I was a victim of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, and the birth of my daughter that I had thought impossible, that changed my outlook.

Today, I am very grateful for the life I still posess.
And I have started to think about how I may contribute to my community.

【Some background information】
☆ Right around the time when your grandmothers and grandfathers were your age, Japan invaded many countries in Asia, and was at war with most of the world. Kaz was in Hiroshima at the time (she was actually born in Pasadena, near Los Angeles), as were many other relatives of Japanese American migrants.
The Atomic bomb affected young and old, men and women, Japanese and American alike.