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> Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Commemorative Experience

Updated April 28, 2009
Paper cranes from MSU and Bozeman shipped to Hiroshima
Members of the MSU and Bozeman communities folded a thousand paper cranes as an expression of their wish for peace. They made the cranes as part of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Commemorative Experience, a series of events in Fall 2008 recalling the effects of nuclear weopons on humankind. Assistant Professor Tomomi Yamaguchi, Department of Sociology and Anthropology at MSU, sent the cranes on April 25 to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, Japan to be displayed in the Peace Park. Learn more.


Video Introduction to the Peace Series
A-Bomb Dome, Peace Memorial Park, Hiroshima, Japan
At 8:15 am on August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an A-bomb onto Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, on August 9, another A-bomb was dropped onto Nagasaki.

It is extremely difficult to know the exact number of casualties of the bombings. Approximately 140,000 people in Hiroshima and 70,000 people in Nagasaki died in 1945, but due to the long-term effects of A-bomb, especially so-called “a-bomb disease” (ie cancer and leukemia), there are many more casualties of the bomb than those who died in the first few months. Moreover, the victims are not just Japanese. There are many Koreans, Chinese, Taiwanese, and other people taken--sometimes forcibly--from former colonies of Japan during WWII. The victims also include American soldiers who were taken as hostages in Japan at the time of the bombing.

This fall, members of the Montana State University community and the general public can learn and discuss more about the bombing of Japan and the effects of nuclear weapons at the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Commemorative Experience. MSU Professor Tomomi Yamaguchi from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology is bringing the series from the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in Japan to Bozeman. The series includes films, a photo exhibition, a paper-crane making peace activity, and talks by the Chairperson of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation and an A-bomb survivor.

The Commemorative Experience is brought to MSU in cooperation with the Cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.

See the contributors to this project.

Watch Prof. Yamaguchi introduce the Commemorative Experience.
eightfifteen eleventwo: a musical composition
Listen to music by oto composed for the MSU Commemorative Experience.
(Photo: Tobey Thorn)
Peace Series Poster
Download the Commemorative Experience poster (PDF, 864 KB)

Talks by an A-bomb Survivor and the Chairperson of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation

Shigeko Sasamori
See the video | Hear the podcast

Shigeko Sasamori, an A-bomb survivor, and Steven Leeper, Chairperson of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, spoke to a standing-room-only audience in the Community Room of the Bozeman Public Library on Saturday, September 13. Sasamori was severely burned when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. She told her story of disfigurement, survival, and healing. Leeper urged the audience to take political action towards nuclear disarmament, such as signing the Cities Are Not Targets (CANT) petition.

See the video | Hear the podcast

Learn more about the Cities Are Not Targets (CANT) petition drive.
Shigeko Sasamori was born in Hiroshima, Japan on June 16, 1932. She was thirteen years old and in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped. She miraculously survived, although she was seriously injured and sustained over twenty surgeries. In 1955, when she was 23 years old, she came to New York as one of the so-called “Hiroshima Maidens.” She had numerous plastic surgeries during her one-year stay, went back to Japan, and then came back to the U.S. to be trained as a nurse. She has spoken about her experience and nuclear weapons numerous times at various citizens group gatherings, schools and universities in the U.S. and Japan. She is one of the survivors featured in Steven Okazaki’s 2007 film, White Light/Black Rain. Sasamori currently lives in Los Angeles.

Steven Leeper is the first foreign Chairperson of the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, who oversees and directs the management of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, Japan. A longtime businessman, he is an advocate for nuclear disarmament who brings hibakusha, or survivors of atomic explosions, to talk to civic, religious, and educational groups outside of Japan. Together with his wife, Elizabeth Baldwin, he has translated Masamoto Nasu’s Children of the Paper Crane: The Story of Sadako Sasaki and Her Struggle with the A-Bomb Disease from Japanese into English. Leeper has an MA in clinical psychology from West Georgia University. He has lived in both the United States and Japan.

Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-bomb Photo Exhibition

Free and open to the public
  • Bozeman Public Library, Community Room: Fri September 12-Mon September 15
  • MSU's Renne Library: Wed September 17-Tue September 30

See the collection of thirty posters developed by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum concerning the damage wreaked by the nuclear bombs in Japan, including the mushroom clouds, the decimated cities, and medical effects. The collection intends to pass on the reality of the A-bombings and to heighten the awareness of the need for peace. See thumbnails.

Film Series “Scars and Legacies: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Apocalypse”

Thursdays at 7 pm
Roberts Hall 101


Includes screenings of White Light/Black Rain (September 11); Barefoot Gen (September 18); Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms (September 25); Pica-Don (October 2); Drawing A-Bomb Memories (October 2); Kuroi Ame (Black Rain) (October 9); Godzilla (October 16); Atomic Café (October 23); and Radiation—A Slow Death: A New Generation of Hibakusha (October 30) Learn more

Organized by Peter Tillack (Assistant Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures) and Tomomi Yamaguchi (Assistant Professor, Sociology and Anthropology)
Film Series Poster
Download the Film Series poster (PDF, 259 KB)

Paper Crane Folding

In the mid-1950s, eleven-year-old Sadako Sasaki contracted leukemia from exposure to radiation. She was eating breakfast with her family on August 6, 1945 when the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Following a Japanese tradition, she attempted to save her life by folding a thousand paper cranes. Although Sadako died, the act of folding a paper crane has come to symbolize a wish for peace. If the Bozeman community makes a thousand paper cranes, Yamaguchi will send them to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in Japan. Learn more
View Text-only Version Text-only Updated: 4/28/09
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