What students have said after witnessing the Hibakusha testimony:
With deepest thanks to all members of the Hibakusha Stories project, and particularly Setsuko Thurlow, Yasuaki Yamashita and Clifton Truman Daniel for their exceptionally moving and meaningful peace testimonies. You raised the consciousness of all the students, faculty and staff you encountered and motivated many to take a more active stance against the use of nuclear weapons. The first-person accounts of the world’s only example of atomic weapons use remains the most important voice that all must hear.
– Dr. Larry Weiss, Head of School, Brooklyn Friends School
Thank you so much for your presentation! It was one of the most moving experiences of my life.
– Vladimir Malukoff, U.S History Teacher, Brooklyn Friends School
What a moment for our students. We will seek peace that much more because of what you shared.
– Jesse Klausz, U.S. History/Health, Brooklyn Friends School
It made me realize how fast and instantly the world as we know it could turn literally to nothing but dust and ashes.
– Lucas Paustian, East Side Community High School, Manhattan
I thought dropping the bomb was the right decision. Now I see that it was wrong. These people were average working citizens and the bomb was dropped on them. I mostly feel bad for all the children that died tragically or saw their parents suffer.
– Elijah Rodriguez, East Side Community High School, Manhattan
As I heard Mr. Yamamoto speak I realized that even if he was a baby at the time of the bomb his children and he later on had the after affects. I could only imagine what he felt and lived through. Thanks to him I learned that hate is a terrible thing, which should not be mixed with ignorance. I also learned that a large percent of our tax money goes to support nuclear weapons. In my point of view this is wrong for we should invest in life not death and suffering . . . You guys have made a change in my life that is why I say no to nuclear weapons we as humans have strength in numbers lets not let history repeat its self.
– Peggi Jaspe Lopez, Flushing International High School, Queens
Now I realize what the Japanese people went through during the nuclear bombing. It made me realize that we don’t treat each other very kindly and we need to start doing so for the sake of the future.
– Eric Campbell, John Bowne High School, Queens
I never really thought about how badly people were hurt from this one atomic bomb. After their visit I now have a more sensitive feeling towards others emotions and stories. It really opened my eyes to what can happen if history repeats itself.
– Chasitie Kroon, John Bowne High School, Queens
Belmont Preperatory Academy, Hiroshima Panels at Pioneer Works
I started to think from the victims’ points of view. I never really looked at their side of the story because in school, we mostly focus on the U.S’s side of the story.
– Sarah Zhai, High School of Telecommunications, Arts and Technology, Brooklyn
I would like our world leaders to just stop. Really. I think it is stupid. I want to know what they are trying to achieve; blowing up things and killing people for what reason? Do they ever feel what all the victims feel? I want them to agree to world peace. Someone needs to man up and say forget it. No war, only peace, you would be surprised how things would change. The visit changed my perspective about things because now I really want things to stop. I use to believe if there isn’t war there isn’t peace but I’ve realized, if leaders want to bomb countries, then there wouldn’t be peace for those who lose loved ones.
– Jordan Thomas, High School of Telecommunication, Arts and Technology, Brooklyn
Before I heard Morita tell his story, the bombings were just a WWII statistic. They didn’t really mean anything to me. When you can put a face to the story, it really changes your perspective.
– Kristen Corwin, St. Francis Preparatory High School, Queens
It made the catastrophe more real. I was able to meet and speak with people who it actually touched and empathized with how it has affected their life.
– Patricia Salvio, St. Francis Preparatory High School, Queens
I want to spread the knowledge of nuclear weapons to other people. The more people who know about the dangers of the weapons, the more people will detest them.
– Roxanne Grodzki, St. Francis Preparatory High School, Queens
Now, I truly realize the capacity of destruction these nukes have. As bombs become stronger and stronger, so does the risk of this entire world being blown away.
– Leonard Coccaro, St. Francis Preparatory High School, Queens
We need to stop all this nuclear madness in our world and step in and protect our past, present, and future.
– Marcus, Academy of Urban Planning, Brooklyn
I didn’t know all of the details and hearing her story shocked me and it was very sad. Now, I know how terrifying it was. It affected people in ways no one would ever want to experience. I’m sorry they were victims, very sorry.
– Shari Roberts, Academy of Urban Planning, Brooklyn
They were able to tell their stories to us and inspire us to want to live in a nuclear free country. I loved how brave they were and how willing they were to teach us. Now we know how dangerous nuclear weapons are. I am honored to be trusted with their stories.
– Kimberly Chabert, High School for Arts, Imagination, and Inquiry, Manhattan
It helped me understand that even through war, there are just some boundaries that people shouldn’t cross.
– Randy Hernandez, High School for Arts, Imagination, and Inquiry, Manhattan
I met people who lost a war, who survived an atom bomb, and yet still said sorry.
– Jonathan Ramos, Bushwick School for Social Justice, Brooklyn
The Heart of a Survivor
In December, 2011, Setsuko Thurlow visited Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Complex. Artist Sandra Parker and educator Robert Croonquist visited the classroom of art teacher Nick Kozak for a week and the students created this Kamishibai, or traditional Japanese storyboard, based on the testimony of Ms. Thurlow.
Hibakusha Stories Kamishibai Video
On December 23, 2013, Toshiko Tanaka shared her hibakusha story with students at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, OK. Through an initiative of Youth Arts New York, her journey was underwritten by grants from the U.S. Japan Foundation and the Japan Foundation’s Center for Global Partnership. This kamishibai, created in the classroom of Jennifer Dix Brown, tells part of Toshiko’s story.