The first Atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima city on 8:15 AM, August 6th, 1945, and the second one was dropped on Nagasaki city three days later on 11:02 AM, August 9th, 1945. About one-third (1/3) of each city’s women, children, men and animals were instantly killed. One hundred and forty thousand (140,000) people in Hiroshima and seventy thousand (70,000) people in Nagasaki.
Seventy-five years have passed since then. My father, Rev. Tatsuya Kusunoki, is a survivor of the Nagasaki’s A-bomb; he was only 6 years old at that time. Since then and throughout his life, he had an unceasing desire to share his experience and to use his experience to promote his wish for promoting peace with others.
Nagasaki is my hometown. Three years ago, countless karmic conditions brought me here to the State of Washington after several years serving as resident minister of Lodi Buddhist Temple in California. Shortly after being transferred to Seattle Betsuin, I visited Hanford in Eastern Washington, the site where the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki was built.
I carry, deep inside me, my father’s fervent life-long desire to promote peace. Personally, I hope and wish there is no war in this world and people live in peace and tranquility. I deeply wish the A-bombs, even if invented were never used to harm all forms of life. As we approach another anniversary in August of the atomic bomb being dropped on Japan, I would like to introduce articles my father wrote which appeared in local periodicals in Nagasaki. The articles, which were written and published in 2013 describe my father’s first-hand remembrances of the devastating and painful effects of the A-bomb and his deep desire for “Peace”. The first installment appears below.
“Overcome the religious barrier and wish for peace”
Every year, the night before August 9th, in Nagasaki, religious leaders of various faiths, Buddhism, Christianity, Shinto (the traditional polytheistic religion of Japan), Islam and others, gather together at the Nagasaki’s Peace Park to hold a peace assembly and memorial service for victims of the A-bomb, hosted by the Nagasaki Inter-Faith organization. Rev. Tatsuya Kusunoki (75), who is the president of Nagasaki Buddhist Association, has managed and overseen the Inter-Faith Peace gathering since 2012. His family temple is located 3.5km (2.2 miles) southeast from the ground zero. The temple suffered severe and significant damages from the bomb blast. Despite the damage, Kougenji Temple served as a physical and emotional refuge for many people in the region.
Rev. Kusunoki mentions the relationship between religion and war. “Within human history, religion has been the primary source and cause of war. During World War II, our country, Japan, used Shinto as the reason to go to war with other countries; and the other religions in the country also supported the war.”
Nagasaki is a small town where many different peacefully faiths co-exist. Buddhist ministers attend Christian church for Christmas. Shinto priests and Christian pastor visit the “Hanamatsuri” (Shakyamuni Buddha’s Birthday) to celebrate. All religious have emphasized “Love for the humankind” yet at the same time, they have fought and killed each other. The Nagasaki Inter-Faith organization was formed to overcome such a history of religion so that history of fighting will not be repeated in the name of religion. The organization has kept working for peace.
“Overcome the religious barrier and wish for peace. It is the proper role of religion.”
To be continued…
Namo Amida Butsu
* – From the weekly email newsletter. To receive our newsletter, please use the sign up at the bottom of the page.