Hiroshima survivor visits Samurai show

On August 6, 1945, eight-year-old Takashi Tanemori was playing hide-and-seek with friends in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb fell less than one mile away.

The blast killed his parents, a brother, a sister, and other members of his family. Takashi, whose father was of samurai class, became an Oyanashigo—a street urchin, who survived by scrounging from garbage cans and refuse piles.

He vowed to avenge his family’s deaths, but over the course of many years he had a change of heart and chose instead to devote himself to a path of peaceful wisdom and helping others. Recently he visited the Asian with his guide dog, Yuki (in Japanese, “falling snow under moonlight”).

“In marveling over the exhibit of Miyamoto Musashi,” Takashi said, “I was reminded of my reading of The Book of Five Rings, and an important basis of Musashi’s philosophy: Nurture the heart, and the brain will follow.

“It’s important to remember the root of the word Samurai is saburi, which means ‘servant’ or ‘attendant,’  Takashi went on. “I learned from my father that I should live my life in service to others. This is a central Samurai teaching.”

Takashi Tanemori lives in Berkeley. He is an artist, a poet, and the author of Hiroshima: Bridge to Forgiveness (2007)

4 Responses to “Hiroshima survivor visits Samurai show”

  1. nico  on August 14th, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    At lunch today, while reading “Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms,” I almost started to cry. Forgiveness is hard, but it is essential. I sometimes wonder if I’d have such strength.

  2. bittermelon  on August 18th, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    This is a beautiful, touching story, and I’m glad we were able to capture the photo and his words.

    And Nico, that book is such a tearjerker. Highly recommended to anyone reading this right now.

    Good call. Tom, thanks for writing this up.

  3. Shalom  on August 18th, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful, heart-warming piece. What a vast heart Takashi Tanemori has, to have lost everything but his own life because of the atom bomb, and to have come to a place of forgiveness. I am deeply moved by this. It shows that there is no excuse to withhold forgiveness, ever, and that no cause can be too great to justify withholding forgiveness. Thank you for sharing this noble and profoundly inspiring story.

  4. otomeki5  on August 20th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    in the 7th grade i was part of a homestay program in japan. as part of the trip we visited hiroshima and the peace park for the anniversary of the bombing on august 6. our guide was one of the hiroshima maidens. it really was one of the most profound experiences of my life. if you ever have a chance to go to hiroshima, do so, it is indescribably important.

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