University News

SUU to Host Hiroshima Exhibit – Bomb Survivor to Speak

Published: November 17, 2008 | Category: Academics

Southern Utah University is the sole institution in the state to be awarded the privilege of hosting Utah's stop on the 50-state Hiroshima Peace Memorial Traveling Museum Exhibit - and will highlight the event with a bonus Convocation lecture.

Shigeko Sasamori, a survivor of the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima, will speak about the experience at SUU as a part of the exhibit next Tuesday, November 18, at 11:30 a.m. in the University's Auditorium.

The exhibition also includes the display of some 30 posters now on display on the third floor of SUU’s Gerald R. Sherratt Library and available for viewing in the lobby of the Auditorium on Tuesday alongside some 1,000 folded paper origami cranes from various local schools and SUU student volunteers. Cranes are the Japanese symbol for peace, and after next Tuesday, will be sent to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum for display. Japanese legend has it that if you make 1,000 cranes your wish will come true.

Sasamori has also expressed interest in speaking at local schools and community groups while in the Cedar City area free of charge. Interested groups should contact Jennifer Hunter in SUU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences at 435-586-7898 to schedule speaking time with Sasamori.

Sasamori was born in Hiroshima, Japan on June 16, 1932. She was thirteen years old and in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped at 8:15 a.m on August 6, 1945. She miraculously survived, although she was seriously injured and sustained over 20 surgeries. In 1955, when she was 23 years old, she came to New York as one of the so-called “Hiroshima Maidens.” She had numerous plastic surgeries during her one-year stay, went back to Japan, and then came back to the U.S. to be trained as a nurse. She has spoken about her experience and nuclear weapons numerous times at various citizens group gatherings, schools and universities in the U.S. and Japan. She is one of the survivors featured in Steven Okazaki’s 2007 film, White Light/Black Rain.

It is extremely difficult to know the exact number of casualties of the atomic bombings in Japan. Approximately 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 70,000 people in Nagasaki died in 1945, but due to the long-term effects of A-bomb, especially so-called “a-bomb disease” (i.e. cancer and leukemia), there are many more casualties of the bombings than those who died in the first few months.

In addition to Japanese victims, there were many Koreans, Chinese, Taiwanese and others taken – sometimes forcibly – from former colonies of Japan during WWII. The victims also include American soldiers who were taken as hostages in Japan at the time of the bombing.

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