Hiroshima bombing survivor shares story with BGSU students, faculty

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Hiroshima bombing survivor Michiko Yamaoka spoke to students about her experience.

Brynna Schroeder and Brynna Schroeder

Hiroshima bombing survivor Michiko Yamaoka was invited by BGSU’s peace and conflict, Asian and Japanese studies to speak to students about her experience before, during and after the bombing.

Yamaoka presented information on how the bombs for Hiroshima and Nagasaki were created and tested, the flight plan of the Hiroshima bomb, the drop zone and the devastation that occurred with it.

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“The damage to the city of Hiroshima was much worse than Nagasaki, even though the Nagasaki bomb was more powerful,” she said.

Yamaoka shared how her mother lived by the hypocenter — the point where the bomb exploded — and other details about the tragic deaths victims faced when the bomb hit the city.

She also talked about why the United States decided to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki instead of bigger cities like Tokyo or Kyoto. 

“The U.S. thought it would be a mistake to attack a city (like Kyoto) so central to Japanese culture,” she said.

Yamaoka spoke about the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, which is filled with artifacts from the rubble and art from the survivors about their experiences. Despite the horrific event she survived 74 years ago, she smiled as she spoke of peace and the memorial.