Tosh Kano’s mother was nursing his brother when the Americans bombed Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. A white flash enveloped their home, a half-mile from the explosion’s center, before the house was blown away. A beam fell on his mother’s head, knocking her onto the ground. Later, after surviving, she remembered a voice begging her to wake up, calling her name three times.
“I used to tell my mother, ‘That was me, mother,’ Kano told a crowd of about 30 gathered Wednesday night at the Wasatch Presbyterian Church. “I was inside of my mother 12 weeks ... I was 3 ½ inches long.”
“I don’t know how we survived. I don’t know how I stayed inside of my mother,” Kano said. “I should have been instantaneously aborted. But I stayed in there.”
Kano was one of a handful of speakers and singers who commemorated the upcoming 73rd anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. On Aug. 6, 1945, the U.S. detonated an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, instantly killing at least 70,000 people. Three days later, the U.S dropped another nuclear weapon on Nagasaki, killing up to 80,000 people. Japan surrendered shortly thereafter, ending World War II. Tens of thousands of Japanese died of radiation exposure in the years that followed.
“We are here to remember because it is at our peril that we forget,” Pastor Scott Dalgarno said at the service’s beginning. “We are more and more in need of the memories that will be shared today.”
Vaughn Lovejoy told a story about a tree that somehow survived an atomic blast, a symbol transmitted by the earth. “As we remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki, let us also remember that in the horrendous wreckage was a message of hope, and let us find a way back to the tree of life and find healing in our world,” he said.
Kano’s emotional story detailed his family’s survival of an unimaginable horror. The day of the bombing, his father had a funny feeling something was going to go wrong because his horse didn’t come when called and his bicycle’s tire went flat. “Because of all this happening, he was only one step outside of the railroad overpass when the bomb exploded,” Kano said. “His head was the only one that was exposed to the light. If his entire body was exposed to the light, he would have been Crispy Critters.”
“He was inside of the shadow, and survived,” Kano said.
The crowd was completely silent as Kano spoke of the weapon’s debilitating effects on his immune system and psyche and how stigmatized survivors and their kin are in Japan. “I think about the bomb every single day,” he said. “That’s what the bomb does to you.”
Kano concluded by warning against the use of nuclear weapons, a renewed concern in light of North Korea’s missile testing and President Trump’s public statements on enlarging and modernizing America’s nuclear weapons.
“It’s so easy to push the button. But physical, psychological scar remains forever,” Kano said. “We can’t afford to use it again.”