Bombing survivors share their stories

On Tuesday Broken Arrow had the honor of having an assembly about the bombings in Japan during World War II. Two bombing victims came to the high school to teach art classes and some history classes about the effects of nuclear warfare.

“Both survivors had very different stories,” Tiffany Jones said. “They both have seen and experienced the horrors of atomic weapons but choose to focus on encouraging the next generation to alleviate the world of nuclear weapons. It was expressed multiple time that this is not a partisan issue.  It is a worldwide issue.”

In the assembly, the survivors talked about their experiences and shared their life stories. Their names were Shigeko Sasamori, who survived Hiroshima, and Yasuaki Yamashita, who survived Nagasaki.

“Something that stuck with me is how Shigeko wasn’t mad that the U.S. for dropping a nuclear bomb, she realized that that was the way of war and she just asked for peace,” junior Hadley Giager said.

Art and history students got to listen to their experiences of while the bombs were going off and the aftermath.

“Shigeko explained how her perception of the US changed after the war,” Jones said. “She said how wonderful and nice the US soldiers were and how she loves living in the USA. She has a gracious and loving heart.  Yasuki experienced significant discrimination in Japan after the war and left for Mexico City several years later.  He was soft-spoken but had a powerful message.  How they interacted with students was amazing.”

The survivors are artists and who turned their experiences into art. The art students are doing a project about them. They are making a kamishibai, which is the Japanese way of storytelling. AP art students and East Asia History got to spend the day with them.

“What stuck with me the most was that they lived through something so catastrophic and wanted to advocate for something so close to them,” junior Jacob Temple said.

In early December Sasamori and Yamashita will fly to Oslo, Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.