Kunizou & Yuriko
Kunisou Hatanaka(79)
Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture
The youngest, the last, and the most important witness
At that time, the atomic bomb showered the radiation even on a little life in amniotic fluid of a mother.
"Microcephaly by prenatal exposure"
In 1995,Yuriko was fifty years old, but the development of her intelligence had remained two years and three months old.
She can not even eat nor change her clothes without the help of others. In addition, she can neither go to the bathroom by herself nor speak. But only by living through she has continued to show the dreadness of the war.
This fifty-year struggle has been a long way for Kunisou who has nurtured, supported, and protected her respectable life.

Mr.Hatanaka and his wife at the time of marriage (February, 1942)
Birth after being atom-bombed Accumulated anxiety
His wife, Yoshie, was showered with radiation at Nishidaiku-cho,730meters from the epicenter where the atomic bomb was dropped. At that time she was in the third month of pregnancy. Just before the bombing, Mr.Hatanaka was drafted to dig moats in a mountain in Shikoku to defend Japan main land.
A month after the end of the war, he returned to Hiroshima, and found Yoshie bald and dying, still worse, the relies of his son who had died saying "I have a stomach ache."
But fortunately she recovered by desperate nursing. The following year,1946, February 14, Yuriko was born.
For Mr.and Mrs.Hatanaka, who had lost their first son, Yuriko should have become the light of hope.
The baby, however, was not normal. She was about 1500 gram weight and her body was as small as it fitted into the palm. She didn't even cry when she was given her first bath and her legs remained twisted.
As you guess, though two years passed after her birth, she could not even creep. It was later than her younger sister when she began to walk or talk.
At the time the economy of Hatanaka was a wreck. Their owned barber was destroyed by the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. They had to start from scratch. Moving to Iwakuni, they started their new barber, but the shop continued to be in the red.
Worring about Yuriko's health, they could not do anything for her because of their poverty.

Ms. Yuriko that time 1954.
For the photograph right, her mother and this left are Mr.Kunizou and one clue.
Nobody did not know Yuriko was born with microcephaly those days.

The cause of her disease was atomic bombs
It was in November 1957, when the movie, "The world is frightened." produced by Fumio Kamei was showed, that the problem of microcephalic was open to the public for the first time. Yuriko was introduced in this movie, too. Watching the movie, Mr.Hatanaka understood for the first time that the atomic bomb caused the abnormality of his daughter. It was impossible to recover. All the hope disappeared.

There is one thing that he can never forget even today.
It is that when Yuriko approached smiling to a customer visiting his shop, the customer, saying "Hiss!, Hiss! ", behaved as if he had driven away a dog. He felt desperately humiliated as if his heart had been torn to pieces and he spoke to himself in his mind indignantly, "Even Yuriko is the same human being. "
"When she was out there, people look at her and contemptuously said to her, " Atomic-bomb radiation disease or Idling away disease." He used to feel misery.
He said to himself, "Yuriko should not have been born."
But it was Yuriko herself that got rid of his inferiority complex.
One day, stopping working, he was looking out of the window. There were some children who were playing with their school satchels on their backs. He saw Yuriko looking at them envying with her finger in her mouth. She must have felt something.
When he put his hand on her shoulder, she looked back and said,"The pa!" brightening her inocent face. He said weeping," I was wrong. I'll protect you for ever."
In the spring,1959, Mr.Hatanaka and his wife became members of the Soka Gakkai on the recommendation of ex-emploee.
The words that "Any child has his or her own mission" became the starting point of the Hatanakas.

Hatanaka Mr. parent and child according to coverage of rice and a woman reporter
(August 1981)

Photography scenery of a TV program "the voice of my mother which can be heard" (June, 1978)
Form "Mushroom Club" and starts the movement
In January, 1963, in Hiroshima one person who had been showered radiation in the womb of the mother committed suicide just after the coming-of-age ceremony. It was a very miserable case. The following year, in June,1964, Mr.Hatanaka organized "Mushroom Club" for microcephalic children and their families. He became the first chairman.

Thanks to the movement of MushroomClub lead by Mr.Hatanaka, in 1966 , the government acknowleged microcephalic as illness caused by atomic-bomb radiation. At first it realized no less than twenty years after the end of the war.
In fact, in 1952,an American doctor of ABC disclosed the thesis on an academic society magazine, statistically proving the relation between the atomic bomb and microcephalic.
In spite that the Japanese government knew the fact earlier, the government ignored this.
These thirty years Mr.Hatanaka has intensely and frequently appealed about the fear of atomic bomb radiation as well as the tragedy by the atomic bomb by means of TV, radio, newspapers, or magazines. He continued to appeal to many journalists and scholars not only of America and France but also of other foreign countries. He also stood in the street with Yuriko to pass handbills.
He said, "It was miserable to show off Yuriko as her parent. But what if you use the atomic bomb? I want to appeal about the result to the people all over the world.

Yuriko hears the deceased mother's voice -- To a visit to a grave of her Mother.
(August, Showa 54)
"I struggle hard and hard for my wife and myself.
Since they were married in 1942, Yoshie continued to support him behind his back. The work of barber shop, care of Yuriko, and so on. However hard they might be, she never complained.
Whenever Mr. Hatanaka felt miserable, she encouraged him saying, "We have faith, darling, let's work hard."
There was such an anecdote. Mayumi, Yuriko's younger sister, was going to get married. Yoshie was usually gentle, but at that time she couldn't help telling of the strong faith of the Hatanakas to the daughter insisting,
"You must say openly that your sister suffers from an illness caused by atomic-bomb radiation. If your fiance feels disgusted at the fact, never get married to him."
Yoshie was a gentle wife as well as a strong mother.
It was after her death that he realized the greatness of Yoshie's existence, and he often feels loneliness all the more. He cannot forget the warmness of her voice even today. It becomes impossible for him to sleep when he remembers her.
He now becomes in the habit of drinking a little before going to bed.
Holding such a sadness in his mind, Mr.Hatanaka spoke to us, "I'll live strongly with Yuriko from now on."
He concluded : It is not there is Yuriko because I was born, but I was born to protect Yuriko: Why? It is because Yuriko has the particular mission as "the angel of peace" which no one has been endowed with.

Tsunehiro Tomoda Etsuko Kanemitsu Satoshi Umesako Jung Bok Soon Juichi Tagawa BACK