Scarsdale station area

Kuniko Katz's essays and articles:

Hiroshima vigil's goal not to criticize U.S.:
Scarsdale Inquirer, August, 1996

To the Editor:

In response to Mr. Block's letter, vigil ignores the faces of history, I would like to first cite the explanation written on the beneath of one of the pictures in the Hiroshima Peace Museum:

"The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima created enormous suffering at the time of war and continues to cause suffering today among those who were exposed. This never‑ending pain and the anxiety they inflict are what makes such weapons inhumane. But we must never forget that nuclear weapons are the fruits of war. Japan, too, with colonization policies and wars of aggression, inflicted incalculable and irreversible harm to the peoples of many countries. We must reflect on war and the causes of war, not just nuclear weapons. We must learn the lessons of history, and avoid the paths that lead to war.”

1 have participated in the vigil for the last five years with this theme in mind. Born and raised in Japan, I know the terrible sufferings of the victims and survivors of the atomic bombs, and having lived in the United States for the last 26 years, I have also shared the pain of Americans caused by Japan during the Second World War on many occasions. Five years ago, I attended the special joint service for the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbour at the Hitchcock Presbyterian Church.

At that time, Dr. Robert MacLennan, the pastor, told us in his sermon, "We gather here to remember the so‑called day of infamy and to work toward the day of harmony." The Rev. Yuri Ando of the Japanese Union Church said that we were gathered there to mourn for those who were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbour and by our country's military power in Asia during the course of Japanese aggression.

After the service, a number of Japanese who attended told me that by' mourning with the Americans, the day became theirs to remember, too. I thought then that Hitchcock Church's invitation to the Japanese community was a step towards beginning a grassroots movement to let Japanese and Americans share their pain together. Ever since that time, 1 have stood vigil' every year not to criticize the U.S. but to remember what happened so that we can make sure no countries will ever repeat the same actions. In his letter, Mr. Block writes that those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it. I believe that the Scarsdale Campaign for Peace Through Common Security holds its vigil every year precisely for this reason.

Mr. Block also writes, "the U.S. may have won the battles but, due to the naiveté of our leaders in 1945, we lost the war." 1 don't agree. After the initial shock, I know how grateful the Japanese were to be liberated by the Americans, from their oppressive military government. Whenever I watched TV during the gulf war, 1 was reminded of wartime Japan when the Japanese government often lied to its people just as Iraq's leader did.

The United States not only helped Japan to rebuild itself and establish democracy, but it saved thousands of people, from starvation. Without supplies of powdered skim milk, many people you see today as your neighbours might not even be alive. 1 think all Americans should be very proud of their past generosity, which saved a war devastated nation from chaos and made it possible to become America's staunchest ally in Asia and leading trading partner.

Letters from Scarsdale