Witness: My Japanese grandparents' silence over the A-bomb

Fri Aug 6, 2010 3:25am EDT
 
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Yoko Kubota is a Reuters correspondent based in Tokyo, who covers political and general news in Japan.

Aged 28, she grew up in Japan and the United States and joined Reuters in 2007.

In the following story, she reflects on how difficult it was for her grandparents to speak about their experiences as Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors.

By Yoko Kubota

HIROSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) - I was 22 years old when my grandmother first told me about what she saw in Hiroshima as a survivor of the atomic bomb that leveled this city 65 years ago, and how it completely changed my grandparent's lives.

As a child growing up near Tokyo, I had visited them often around this time of the year, when the city hosts various events to commemorate the hundreds of thousands that died.

But they never talked about what happened on that day, 65 years ago, and it would be years before I would ask them.

Some survivors of the bomb chose to speak to their families about it, so that their painful legacy could live on.

But for my grandparents, like many other Japanese who lost families and homes to the bomb, the experience was just too cruel to recall. Another relative also raised concerns about discrimination against bomb survivors, their children and grandchildren, in getting jobs or getting married.   Continued...

 
<p>Tokyo based Reuters correspondent Yoko Kubota, 28, in this undated photo, writes on how difficult it was for her grandparents to speak about their experiences as Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors. REUTERS/Staff</p>