Three days later August 9, 1945 another atomic bomb is dropped, this time on Nagasaki, Japan. The people of Hiroshima don't know it, though. For days they are completely cut off from the world. By August 15, 1945, some power is restored. Mitsuo listens as a neighbor's radio broadcasts the voice of Emperor Hirohito announcing Japan's surrender. The war is over.
As a U.S. citizen, Mitsuo applies to return to Hawaii. It takes three years for his application to be approved. As he waits, Mitsuo goes back to school. Little learning takes place there. Most of the books were destroyed in the bombing and there's no way to get new ones.
Finally, in 1948, Mitsuo and his middle brother, Tamotsu, travel to Yokohama to board a U.S. military ship bound for Hawaii. The ship stops in Shanghai, China; Hong Kong; and Manila in the Philippines before reaching Honolulu. In Shanghai and Manila both cities that were attacked by the Japanese during the war Mitsuo and his brother are warned not to get off the boat. The people living there harbor much hatred of the Japanese.
In Hawaii, Mitsuo sees his father again for the first time in seven years. He goes to high school and thinks about college. In 1951, his eldest brother, Toshio, and mother also return from Japan. The family is together again.
But Mitsuo knows that the events of Hiroshima have changed him forever. He has seen firsthand the horror of war yet, miraculously, he was spared. Mitsuo vows that he must work for peace throughout his life. He must speak out against the death and destruction of nuclear war.
Now age 70, Francis Mitsuo Tomosawa lives in California. He is a retired eye doctor, a father, and a grandfather. He is also the president of the Committee of Atomic Bomb Survivors in the United States. In that role, he talks with hundreds of adults and schoolchildren every year about the nightmarish experiences of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He works for peace by spreading the word that what happened to his friends and family in Japan in August 1945 must never happen again.
Mitsuo's experiences in Hiroshima made him want to work for peace. What work would you do to ensure world peace?
Learn about the long-term effects radiation poisoning had on survivors of the atomic bomb.
Examine the how Hiroshima has changed up to the present day.
Please read the transcript of the student interview with Francis Mitsuo Tomosawa.