I was born and raised in Hiroshima.
A little over 70 years ago, the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped on my city.
My mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, and great-grandmother were all exposed to the bomb, so I am a second-generation hibakusha, or atomic bomb survivor.
I grew up seeing, firsthand, both the effects of the bomb and Hiroshima’s remarkable recovery from it.
When I was ten, I was in a traffic accident that fractured my skull and caused a brain hemorrhage.
I nearly died. The doctors said I had only a slight chance of surviving, and that even if I did, I would probably remain bedridden or half-paralyzed.
Yet miraculously, I made a full recovery, with no aftereffects. This experience transformed my view of life and death.
In gratitude and wonder at this second chance I had been given, I promised myself that I would try to help as many people as possible for the rest of my life.
In high school I volunteered as a guide showing visitors around the monuments in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park.
But all the materials on Hiroshima I read were about the tragedy and horror of the atomic bombing.
Students visiting the city on peace-study tours said things to me like, “Coming to Hiroshima just reminds me of the horrible history of the bomb. I don’t want to come here again.” Such remarks filled me with sadness.
Exhibits about the bomb continue to be held around the world today, but most consist of black-and-white photographs of the city in ruins or victims covered with hideous burns and scars.
I began to feel there was a gap between these images and the reality of the Hiroshima I know.
Hiroshima is not just a city of tragic memories. It is a place of hope, a “comeback city” that rose from the ashes and rubble and made itself whole again. Instead of dwelling on the horrors of the bomb, I wanted to tell the story of the women of Hiroshima who were in the forefront of that miraculous recovery. I wanted people to see Hiroshima as a city that has never stopped working toward a brighter future even as it appeals to the world for peace.
It was out of this desire, and to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the bombing and the end of World War II, that I wrote and self-published this manga, The Hiroshima Miracle.
It tells the true story of the women of my great-grandmother’s generation, who propelled Hiroshima’s recovery at a time when many of the city’s men had not returned from war.
The story has two themes: how the people of Hiroshima never gave up hope as they surmounted unbelievable hardships to rebuild their utterly destroyed city, and how crucial it is for peace that people love and support one another without hate or resentment.
I thank you for reading this book.
I pray that for all of us, a peaceful world, where people live together in a spirit of caring, respect, and forgiveness, will draw nearer with each day.