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Hiroshima survivor spreads message of world peace on Purdue's campus

Meet Shigeko Sasamori. She was 14 years old when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Posted: Nov 1, 2018 6:51 PM
Updated: Nov 1, 2018 6:51 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Many who lived in Hiroshima, Japan on August 6th, 1945 never lived to see the end of that day. But one woman did, and now she is sharing her story.

Meet Shigeko Sasamori. She was 14 years old when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

She lived just two miles away from the hypocenter of the explosion. She suffered extensive burns along the front of her body as a result of the bombing.

In 1955, she came to the United States. According to Purdue’s website, she was brought to the U.S. by Kiyoshi Tanimoto, a Japanese reverend. Tanimoto raised funds to bring 25 women from Hiroshima to the United States for reconstructive surgery.

Sasamori said the purpose behind sharing her tragic past is about spreading a message of world peace.

"If everybody is together, all countries in the Earth to work hard to make peace,” she said. “Otherwise there will never be world peace."

She said one thing in particular is especially important to her.

“Life is so important,” she said. “And it doesn’t whose life it is to me.”

She believes it is important to share her past with younger generations who weren’t alive to experience the tragedy.

“My life is getting shorter and shorter and I’m getting older,” she said. “And young people have a good energy so I ask them and others to push our governments for peace. And not just in the United States, and not just in Japan. All countries should push for peace.”

She wants people to see past her words and do something much bigger.

"Learn, study what is happening on the Earth and the world, and think about how life is important," she said.

She said the first time she returned to Hiroshima after the bombing, she was amazed by the development and revitalization that she saw. She now goes back to Japan to visit her family who still lives there.

Purdue's School of Languages and Cultures and the Asian Studies Program and the Peace Studies Program invited her to speak on campus. The event started with a poster exhibit from the Hiroshima Peace Museum. Her speech took place at the Wilmeth Active Learning Center.

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