Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Survivor Calls for Nuclear Reform at Kennedy School via The Harvard Crimson

Keiko Ogura, 80, a survivor of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945, visited the Kennedy School to caution against the use of nuclear weapons worldwide Sunday.

Ogura was eight years old on August 6, 1945, when the United States dropped a nuclear weapon on Hiroshima during the final months of World War II. The bomb immediately killed over 80,000 people and caused widespread radiation exposure that would later kill tens of thousands more.


After staying silent for more than 30 years, Ogura said the death of her husband Kaoru Ogura in 1979 spurred her to tell her story. Her husband, who served as the director of Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Museum, spent much of his life setting up interviews between survivors, journalists, and psychologists to examine and raise awareness around the deadly physical and mental consequences of the bomb.

Ogura said residents of Hiroshima in part chose to stay silent because they feared that, if they told the truth about their experiences, they would be shut out by loved ones and by society at large. In the wake of the bomb drop, some cancelled engagements and weddings after discovering their partners had been exposed to radiation, fearful the exposure might lead to genetic defects in their offspring, according to Ogura.

“People tried not to talk about what happened, but we were horrified every day,” Ogura said.

Yusaku Kawashima, a master in public administration student originally from Japan helped organize the event. She said the event in part came as a response to the recent escalation in North Korea’s nuclear capability.


“We survivors work not to repeat the evil,” Ogura said. “Somebody who saw this evil needs to do something to prevent the evil.”

“Telling our story is, in a way, caring,” Ogura added.

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