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Towards a Nuclear-Free World
Thoughts from a Country Hit by Nuclear Bombs - 2013(No.2-4)
Mr. Seitaro Kuroda Keeps Talking
By Seitaro Kuroda, Professional illustrator
(June 5, 2013, The Asahi Shimbun Newspaper)
Not long after August 15th in the year of the defeat, I saw a woman who had collapsed on the street in Shiga Prefecture, where I had been evacuated to. The skin of her face had peeled away and was swarming with maggots. I heard people say, "She was hit by the new bomb." Later I learned she was a hibakusha. That was my first encounter with nuclear weapons.
I soon forgot about nuclear weapons, however, when my career as an illustrator took off.
In 1969, I was doing illustrations for the works of Mr. Akiyoshi Nosaka, and had a chance to hear about his past experiences. Mr. Nosaka said he was in Fukuoka Prefecture when the Korean War started in 1950. He fled to Niigata Prefecture then, thinking that Fukuoka might be attacked with atomic bombs. It made a vivid impression on me.
Since then I have come to face war and nuclear weapons little by little - at my own pace. In 2004 I started an atom bomb project with Mr. Hitoshi Kondo, a musician, to call for the abolition of nuclear bombs.
We continue this project as we do daily conversation. Not as a special thing, but as a regular conversation about nuclear issues carried out in the same way that we eat daily meals, so that we can keep our activities going for the long term. There may be various ways of doing it, but I am afraid that just joining in demonstrations can be a dead end of self-satisfaction.
I do not think nuclear weapons will be gone in my lifetime. Nevertheless, I carry on with this work, so that in the future our children won't say behind our backs, " Our ancestors did nothing to further the cause of abolishing nuclear weapons."
Japan has experienced nuclear destruction 4 times - at Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Bikini and Fukushima. Each of us must think seriously about how we are going to deal with nuclear issues, mustn' t we?
People who can speak personally about the destruction that occured in the past are becoming fewer and fewer. Nevertheless I believe that we adults should talk to our children as much as possible in our everyday lives - as we do when we are seated around the dinner table.
Seitaro Kuroda, a professional illustrator, was born in 1939 in Osaka. Among his works are picture books dealing with nuclear bombs and wars and illustrations of such related things as mushroom clouds.
(This was compiled through an interview by Fumitaka Kikuchi.)