Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Izumi Hirano Interview
Narrator: Izumi Hirano
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: March 1, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-hizumi-01-0020

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TI: Well, we're at the end of the interview right now. I mean, is there anything else you wanted to talk about? We went through the life history, I wanted to talk about your work for peace and helping the survivors, is there anything else that you wanted to talk about?

IH: Just... oh, another thing is so many people ask me, "How about the American government, why they don't help you folks?" And we did it, not with, (Kanji Kuramoto who was president of Committee of A-Bomb survivors in the U.S.A.) did it, to the California representative. And that time I asked him, Kanji, "If you do it, let me know. I will work on Hawaii." Because Dan Inouye is a strong one, and Matsunaga, we can work on it. But he doesn't want to ask. Maybe he wants to do it all by himself. And not only that, one year, they had a meeting on, they called it "radiation victims," at San Francisco. That's the atomic bomb survivor. And then the mine worker, and then veteran from the military, from the Kwajalein test site, and then also the Nevada. Then they called the "down under" wind blowing down (from the a-bomb test site), they have a victim. And then some locations (radiation waste), material they buried, and then on top of that, they built civilian house. And then they had so much trouble (with radiation). And that time they had a meeting and all, they talk about. And I found out not ten thousand, so many, almost ten thousand victims in the United States. And then now, only the veterans from the army at the test site, that's when they, you know, they take care because they're army. But (not) the civilians, if you do it, going to be big money. That's the reason they don't pass the rule. About a couple times they're out to the Congress.

TI: I mean, ten thousand's a big number but it's not that big. For the United States, it seems like they could take care --

IH: But that's we know, ten thousand. It may be more than that. Because the exact amount, I don't know. So that's the thing that kind of, we already give up on the American government. But Japan government, they started giving us help.

TI: Well, maybe you're going to have to go talk to President Obama about this. [Laughs] Because he did come out for a non-proliferation nuclear war, I mean, to try to get rid of nuclear bombs and things like that, at least he's come out publicly about that. And I think there's even been some talk about him, perhaps, visiting Hiroshima. I mean, what would it mean to you if President Obama went to the bomb site, Hiroshima, and what would you tell him if he went there?

IH: But now, even he goes. Just he sees from the pictures. So really, nothing to gain.

TI: Do you think so? I think there's this power of place, though. I visited the peace park, and there's something very powerful about being there. I mean, we've all read about it and we've seen pictures, but when you go to the site, I think there's something very powerful about that.

IH: Maybe. Because when go over there and then look, even the pictures, my granddaughter, oldest one, couldn't see. I was trying to explain everything, but some people, just cannot see. So when see Obama, maybe, might have something.

TI: Well, and how about you? How frequently have you been back to Hiroshima?

IH: Oh, I go quite a bit. Because one time they invited me to the memorial on August 6th, and then after that, not for the association business but other business, go from the company, went to Japan. From the company, two or three times I went, myself. And then after that, I found my classmate, too, so I started going back. Then latest one is 2003 I took my son's family with the granddaughter.

TI: And that's when she couldn't look at it.

IH: No, no, that's the one that we didn't go Hiroshima. But that time, just go to the Tokyo side. But I want to show Hiroshima, so three years later, I took 'em down again. I planned everything and then took 'em from Kyoto, Hiroshima, and then take 'em around Hiroshima. But that was a good experience for them.

TI: And how old were your grandchildren?

IH: Now they're sixteen, twelve, eleven.

TI: Okay, so they were about, they were younger when they went, so maybe... okay, they're still young children.

IH: Because I figure take a trip is educational. And especially something like Hiroshima. Their grandfather was there and a victim.

TI: And did you tell them the story?

IH: Yeah, yeah.

TI: And what was the reaction of your grandchildren?

IH: Sad, just sad. When I tell 'em, they didn't want to hear about that.

TI: Did your children know growing up about your story?

IH: No, not much, not much. I didn't talk to them much. But when occasion, something come up, then we talk about it. But my son and then my daughter, too, went that time. So both of them learned.

TI: Well, thank you so much for doing this interview. This was really, just really interesting for me just to talk with you. To hear the story and then now just to talk about it.

IH: So, now you can write down, too. Without my permission, you can write anything. I don't have any secret or anything. [Laughs]

TI: Well, Izumi, thank you so much.

IH: Yeah, you're welcome.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.