Japan, Russia, United States discussed on Asian America: The Ken Fong Podcast

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Yes end so I became very depressed because my career that I had had in healthcare doing contracts with hospitals and doctors all had to stop. I didn't know if I could still be a good mom my daughter at the time. I could walk by myself. So it, I knew it was going to eventually. Attack my hands in is progressive so I was so despondent I think my mom you know she tried to tell me this story and then she said to me I wanted to kill myself. But I'm so glad that I, didn't because I would never had you at I would never had my granddaughter and she said, I, never thought I could find love again. But I, did and she said I had the strength of you know or Samurai family she said the same lead flows for me. And I would find my own way of living again and so it. It really was an interesting play of events of how she finally told me in. So then when I called. In seventh grade and I can I talk tell your story and I really thought she was going to say now because she was always very private about that and then she said, yes, and the reason why is that the students in that class be close to the age that she was she was. And she figured maybe they can relate to where I was in my family life from I was doing because of the same age and then their future voters. So they'll know leaving that classroom that nuclear weapons should never be used again. and. So that's how I went to the class, and then the following year they invited me back with new seventh graders in schools in the Charlotte area heard about it and invited me to speak and the teachers would start to ask do you have a book that could go with the curriculum? And writing things down just as a member of my daughter to have. So she have the information and I remember calling my mom and saying, you know I think I'm going to do a block and she she just can't believe anyone wanna read about a girl in here's. What happened the now? She just she was really amazed. and and so that's when I also I realized at that point if I'm going to do a book. That, with historical fiction piece, I wanted to also. Talk the culture in Japan during that time, because my mom had this picture that always had a place of honor in our home and it was her in her pop up. and. It's so special to her because. She only has five six photos from her childhood and they were all between the ages of three and five, and they were like at a different house. So they weren't damaged but oliver other pictures were damaged. From the fire the bombing so. In her papa was her favourite. On and so that's when I also knew I need to write about that. So that way the reader can feel for the person realize okay. They had these people I think my big thing is to connect with the humanity that was under the clouds and by doing that starting at months before the bombing I could talk about the mindset of the people, the politics they were so different the way they viewed their leaders and what the allied countries did the propaganda to their own people that the Japanese government gave and just how families were trying to live during that time period. And then be able to talk about what happened. So they could understand what she really lost that day in how quickly it was gone. Yeah I think. You know. Growing up hearing about this story, I was born in fifty four. I remember in elementary school we would have atomic bomb drills. During the Cold War and all. Right. Yeah and and But but at the same time hearing this diatribe that was in our history books and and politicians would say it does like well, you know we had to drop the to bonds. Because otherwise, if we invaded Japan, there'd be such a slaughter right and and so it's kind of I. It's it's worse than ironic to me. You know because this is the mass killing of. Hundreds of thou-. Civilians not not combatants and they had already firebombed, Tokyo. was made out of rice paper and wood right and all this kind of suffering. But but to hear still the justification, I think even today I struggle with okay. You drop one bomb. Why did you have to drop the second bomb Nagasaki I? It's like wasn't an aunt? Anyway, I. I I. Think it's important for. Americans at least because we have international audience to to to at least recognize that even at even today as as we. Are Looking with suspicion of North Korea with their nuclear weapons program and Iran and what have you That we south down very. Very disingenuous. Because we're still. The only country is actually used a weapon like that. And and the fact that we used it, we justified it. Yes and I think you know in the history classes you get that two paragraphs in the mushroom cloud picture and it's supposed to wrap everything up in tidy bow. But it doesn't work that way in and you know more that information that is now released after so many years and they look at diaries of the General Stinson and they look at Truman's diaries. You know it wasn't the only answer to just say we had to do that to save all those lives. There's also a Russia was going to be invading Japan and they. Didn't want them to do that. So they were there are other reasons in play actually Japan was discussing possibly surrendering because they were firebombed I mean they hit Khuda they hit all the different areas there before the atomic bombs were dropped. So I think part of my thing was to also let the students know that you know by the time that sea in nineteen thirty, one, Japan invaded Manchuria my mother was born in Nineteen thirty two. So her whole life was involved with them being at war. So by the time nineteen, forty-five rolled around. hitter Oshima was once a military port. However, by that point, all men the young men were out fighting in the Pacific and there were only a few that were left and a lot of them were training. She said her inner school the boys were being trained to make bullets out of bamboo. I mean, they just didn't have those resources anymore So I I think the by being able to explain that as well so that they can understand on the the prewar population of hitter. Shema was three, hundred, fifty, thousand people. Eighty. Thousand people died immediately or within hours of the bomb being dropped. In over the next five years one, hundred, forty to one, hundred, forty, five, thousand people would be dead as a result of their burns other radiation poisoning that they were exposed to. So. I think it's just so important that when the students walk away, they understand that Oh. That didn't just end the war is that always bothers me when people say that we had to do that to end the war? No, you did not. There was not the only factor and men would have died. Yes. But not as many as what they said would die there were not as many people who could keep fighting on. Japan I mean, you had elderly people and children there really weren't as many. So I think it's important that they hear all these different factors to it and not just to say that it ended the war because then you're not putting human being with that. You know it's so much easier. It makes it like video game like they have today I mean. If, you don't make that connection. We're going to be at risk of repeating the same deadly mistakes and and I, think that's what really got me to want to get this book across to want to speak with our future voters. So that they understand that there's more to it than just ending a war. And I and I think one of the unspoken hugely problematic a pieces of well, it was just any more save American lives. It's it's equating. It's it's valuing American lives far greater than Japanese lives, right? Especially old people and children. So Yeah Yeah you know I and in kind of preparing for this episode, I was reviewing some things about that whole incident and and you mentioned it already Kathleen but I realized that. Russia was kind of chomping at the bit to extend its influence and they if they had kind of joined forces with the. US. To you know bring. Japan to it's knees. They're saying they probably would've wanted to divide Japan like Berlin was divided. Yeah and so there was reasons why the US knowing what the ambitions were Russia they said, okay. Well, you know we don't want to ask them for help you know and hey, look we we have this new weapon A. Very very very well, let's get into your as your has. Now finally, you know told you her story. Teller. Tell us what she went through. I mean she's twelve years old house it that she wasn't part of that eighty thousand that were immediately vaporized. Share..

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