Tuesday, January 20, 2004

"I hated this guy. I wanted to hit him in the gut.
He was evil. I was a 10-year-old girl."

Victim of Hiroshima bombing, 1945.
The patterns on her clothing have been burned into her skin by the bomb.

In 1955, a decade after the bombing of Hiroshima, nine young women were brought to New York to undergo cosmetic surgery. Their faces had been terribly scarred by the heat and radiation produced from the bomb.

The "Hiroshima Maidens", as they were called, became cause celebres.

One of the children's father was Rev. Kiyoshi Tanimoto, the lead in John Hersey's Hiroshima. Both he and his keloid scarred child, Koko Tanimoto Kondo, were invited on This Is Your Life. They accepted.

Unbeknownst to them, the show's host, Ralph Edwards, also invited on Robert Lewis, pilot of Enola Gay.

The little girl met the man who destroyed everything she knew and loved that day. Try to imagine it.

In the end, she held his hand.

The story of the Hiroshima Maidens has been the subject of a historical work, a children's book by the spectacular Laurence Yep, at least one film and is now the topic of a new play at St. Ann's Warehouse, "Hiroshima Maidens".

Scroll down to the bottom of this page to hear an NPR interview with one of the real "Maidens" and audio from the actual "This Is Your Life" episode.

Also here's a few words from Miyoko Matsubara in the name of peace.

I got nothing funny to say tonight.