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TEDxSeeds-Saitoh_Takashi-12/12/09

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Hello everyone, I am Saito. My father loved Noh (Japanese masked dance-dream), so when I was a boy, he often took me to Noh theatres, like this one. When I think about that experience, it is a really weird experience that, today, I am presenting my talk, wearing Tabi (Japanese socks) on Noh stage. I believe that beautiful music and arts should be passed down from generation to generation. I would now like to talk about my atomic bombed experience. Please stay with me for ten minutes. Some slides I am going to show you may have disturbing images,but please don't turn away. Japan is the only nation to have been the victim of atomic bombs. U.S. President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on the12th of Dec. 2009. Because I wanted Mr. Obama to understand the affects of atomic bombs, I have sent a copy of my experience note to him. I hope he reads it. The experience note is "Green Tomato", which I wrote more than 20 years ago. Now, a singer is writing a song inspired by my note. The song will be released in 2010. This slide shows Yokohama Bay bridge. I was born in Yokohama. I doubt you know, but a church, called Christ Church, used to reside in front of a foreigners' graveyard. My aunt lived there. Myokoji temple was near the church and my aunt was a Buddhist monk there. This place was the birthplace of Kimigayo (nation Japan and its national anthem) and also the birthplace of Western music in Japan. It is a bit of a long story. Namamugi Incident triggered Anglo-Satsuma War and British ships fired at Kinko bay. At that time, Mr. Shibata listened to Western music for the first time on a British ship and he found it really impressive. He asked them to teach the music to his corps. He also experienced many things like sliced beef boiled with vegetables but the music made the biggest impression on him. His troop was stationed in my grandfather's temple for more than a hundred years. Then Britain allowed their music team to teach Western music to Japanese. Mr. Felton made a request to London for music scores and taught the music to Japanese. This was the first event of Western music in Japanese history. Mr. Felton was the composer of Kimigayo. I was going to be a monk. However, because my father was a hard drunkard, he quitted a monk and found a position at Kirin Beer company. He brewed Kirin Beer at Osaka, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Korea and Manchuria. My life overlaps Kirin Beer history and it is like froth of beer. When I was in Hiroshima, my father went to Manchuria to brew beer. Then I was bombed by an atomic bomb. I believe it was the worst tragedy for mankind. Please stay with me for ten minutes. I appreciate your understanding. Recently, even children in Hiroshima don't know the meaning of the 6th of August. I really believe we have to pass down stories of the atomic bombs to future generations. Now I am in 80s but I want to talk about my experience as a last a-bomb survivor. At the atomic bombing, I was fifteen years old. It was 8:15 a.m. and I was operating a lathe turning machine in the factory. We did not attend school because of war. Everything happened in a second after atomic bombing. The factory used to reside 2-3km away from the centre of explosion, but I saw tremendous flares. I didn't get burned as I hid myself under the lathe machine. But, my body was covered with scars and bruises. Only four people survived in the factory. This slide shows the Second Hiroshima Junior High School, which I attended. It was completely destroyed by the bomb. There is a monument in memory of the day at the school. When I think about the monument, it brings tears to my eyes. This red circle shows the centre of explosion. My house was located at Genpeijo, what was close to Hiroshima station. That is Genpeijo. Everyday, I commuted to the factory through the centre of explosion. I didn't think the bomb was such a peculiar one. I just thought the factory got direct bomb hit and I felt ashamed because my body was covered with oil. What I saw at the time was literally a hell. People from Hiroshima may have had a chance to see. Those people wore clothes but really look like ghosts. The bomb changed people like this. You may not agree with this. But they were there. Most of their skins were peeled off. They had clothes on but their skins were falling off. Can you image it? It was not 100 or 1,000 people. More than 10,000 people had same injuries and walked like ghosts. I found myself in a hell. I literally shuddered with fear. Since people got burned, they wanted water. Lots of people mumbled "Water, Water, Water, Water, Water, Water, Water." As their body was burning, they jumped into water pool or river for drinking or bathing. I saw lots of those people on the way to the centre of explosion. As you can see on this picture, I happened to see a badly burned small baby. I can never forget about the baby for my lifetime. His mother called me for help like this. As just a fifteen years boy, I couldn't do anything. This slide shows a stunned mother and a girl. Hundreds of thousands of people escaped to Genpeijo. Even now, these images make tears into my eyes. Most friends of mine passed away by the bomb. If they were still alive today, they would want to enjoy modern and cultural lives like the ones you do. I chant Buddhist sutras for them everyday. Look, the heat in the centre of explosion was 6,000 Celsius. One house melted in a second, leaving just its shadow. I turned the scene into verse. In this slide, the whole skin of this person was falling off. This was rather a better condition. The body was expanding because of burn. As my grandmother told me to give water to such suffers, I watered them through kettles like this. Because his body expanded so much that I couldn't find his mouth. I watered more than a hundred people. One day, I found a group whose hair was burned. I didn't understand at first, and they were holding sabers like this. A lieutenant told me, "Hey, you. I am dying. Please send my word to my family". I felt very sorry so I cannot forget about him. Hundreds of - thousands of - people were suffering from burn and they mumbled "water, water, water" for more than 3 days or so. Because their consciousness was clear, it made the scene more misery. I was exposed to radioactivity and black rain (radioactive rain) all the day. When I came home at 9 p.m., everyone survived but my mother passed away soon. Genpeijo was exactly a hell like this. All of this makes tears into my eyes. My mother passed away with grasping my hands. "I cannot die like this." That were her last words. Her body got worms within a few days. That was the awful situation. Even now, I don't know why I was able to survive in such a cruel situation. Because I was born in Yokohama and my house had many spaces. there were three military desks in my house. Lots of people queued in front of my house to check about their relatives. Everyone who came to my house died off. After they went out of my house, they died off. At first, I didn't know what kind of bomb I got. Anyway, we thought it was a peculiar bomb, so I asked Kirin beer to leave our family from Hiroshima to Yokohama. Then I was diagnosed as an A-bomb sickness. Even though my symptom was little severe because our family left Hiroshima shortly after the bomb, I went into hospital. Doctors willingly used myself as a guinea pig. I experienced in and out of hospital since then. Someone opposed my marriage because I had an a-bomb sickness. I got married but divorced with her because of my sickness. I caused troubles to her. However, now I am 80s and I owe much of my life to ocean. I love going for sailing with yacht. When I go out at sea, breathing became a bit hard but I can make deep breathes. I believe ocean is filled with the energy of life. The bigger wave is, the more energy I can feel. Because I am a yachtsman, I will be energetic when I encounter a typhoon. When I stayed at hospital, my goal is to join a yacht racing like Okinawa race or Ogasawara race. This slide shows CARIAD, the oldest wooden yacht in the world. Recently, we have gone to around-the-world voyage with the yacht. It is ashamed to say that the ship was stranded on a shelf of coral near Taiwan. Because I work for Japan Coast Guard, I know that we can request rescue by calling 118. However, I strongly refused to request the rescue, so somehow we were able to manage the situation. The ship sailed to Ishigaki Island for repairing and it is moored at Vietnam now. It is CARIAD, 111 years old and the oldest sailing yacht in the world. I would like to challenge an around-the-world voyage again after we finish the repairs next year. As a project of "Leave the blue sea for future generations", we will sail out to the world from Taiwan. I am going to enjoy my third round of the joys of youth from now. For one more thing, I work for Japan Coast Guard. Because I love marine stuff, I got engaged some marine projects at Yokohama. For example, I am a producer of "Minatomiraiā€, "150th anniversary of Yokohama port" and gathering signatures for sailing boat "Nippon Maru". Now I belong to the 3rd science-environment division at Japan Coast Guard. Today, a few of my colleagues came here. I owe my life to sea but it is in danger now. I really want to pass down blue sea for future generations. So my first task is here. This is enzyme. As you disperse it, it revitalizes sludge in Tokyo Bay. Now Yokohama City have a new mayor Ms. Hayashi. One project which starts from Yokohama to clean up Tokyo Bay has begun. There is a harbour, called Cotton Harbour, in Higashi-Kanagawa. You can find a beautiful big ship there. In March 2010, we even hope you will be able to swim in the bay. Furthermore, as I told in the beginning, I have send my experience note to U.S. President Obama. Mr. Obama has a close adviser called Jett who is a singer. He worked for Mr. Obama's election campaign for two years and also won the Grammy Award. He is now making a song inspired by my poem "Green Tomato" and it is almost done. In the end of January 2010, you can download the song. We also release CD. It is a beautiful song so please listen to it. In 2010, an a-bomb sufferers organization will have a panel exhibition at the United Nation. The U.N. also invites us to present a speech from its podium. It was the first time in the history. Then we are planning to have a Jett's concert in Central Park, NY. I have never been there but we expect around a million of people may come for his performance. We, atomic bomb sufferers, want to play a leading role of the event. We also have a plan to appeal Nuclear Free World with Michael Jackson, unfortunately he has passed away recently, Stevie Wonder and so on. I hope this plan will become a reality. Everyone, it will take place at May 2010, so please join the event. I also write a story of "Anger of God". God gave us the beautiful planet. But, what did we do for the past decades? War and destruction of environment. Take a good look at yourself! What can we do to save our earth? We should make a world which is free from nuclear weapon. This was also turned to Jett's song and it is in the CD. Work together as a team to save the earth. This is my wish. Thank you all very much today.

Video Details

Duration: 14 minutes and 32 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 269
Posted by: translators on Mar 30, 2010

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