Hiroshima Survivors Share Their Stories With Tulsa Students

Dec 3, 2013

Shigeko Sasamori (second from left) speaks to a Japanese class Tuesday at Booker T. Washington High School. Sasamori is one of two survivors of the Aug. 6, 1945, atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, visiting Tulsa this week.
Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

Two survivors of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, are sharing their stories with Tulsa students this week.

Shigeko Sasamori and Toshiko Tanaka visited Booker T. Washington High School today. They visited Rogers State University yesterday and are scheduled to speak at Tulsa Community College Thursday.

The women are fellows with the Hibakusha Stories project sponsored by Youth Arts New York. This is the first time the organization has sent fellows to Tulsa.

YANY Founder Robert Croonquist says what started as an arts project is teaching the next generation an important lesson.

"The enemies that we have in the world today, that we perceive to be as enemies — that there is always a potential for the transformation of that into a peaceful friendship," he said. 

Sasamori participated in a question-and-answer forum in the school auditorium with about 300 students Tuesday morning. Students had a variety of questions for the 81-year-old grandmother of two, ranging from whether she was still angry about the bombing to her advice for those who have never known a world without nuclear weapons.

Sasamori has been sharing her story for 30 years, and what she's seen makes her hopeful history won't repeat itself.

"No matter what school, what country's children — the same," she said. "They soak in whatever I said. Then they act as a different person. They want to do something."

After the forum, Sasamori visited a Japanese class, where students introduced themselves in Japanese.

Tanaka came to Booker T. Washington High School later in the day. Both women were scheduled to work with art students on a project about the bombing utilizing a traditional technique called kamishibai.