Blog (08 Aug 2008)

Being it’s 8-8-2008 and that it has been half a year since I wrote a true blue “blog,” I feel compelled to do so, just to mark the occasion.

The Beijing Olympics have nothing to do with it, really. Eight happens to be a favorite number since childhood and there are a couple of important things I wanted to share my thoughts on.

Sixty-three years since the bombing of Hiroshima

Wednesday was the 63rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. I usually try to take the time to watch the televised ceremony when I find myself in Japan, but it was easier when I was a tourist and not working for the Tenrikyo Overseas Department. I forgot to do so the past couple of years, out of my habit these days to leave the TV untouched most of the time, which really is a shame. I liked to watch the ceremony on TV to commemorate my grandfather’s passing. Yes, he was in the city of Hiroshima on that fateful day. One of these days I hope to attend the ceremony in person.

While I wasn’t able to catch the ceremony on TV and thus commemorate the minute when the bomb was dropped this year (the Peace Bell is sounded for a minute of silence at 8:15 a.m.), I did happen on an English translation of this year’s Peace Declaration by the Hiroshima mayor Tadatoshi Akiba in the newspaper. It is remarkable how the city of Hiroshima is dedicated to world peace and eradicating nuclear weapons from the planet.

The Hiroshima bombing is such a touchy subject. I remember how a Japanese politician was chastised by suggesting it was a positive development in hindsight since more people would have died fighting the war if the atomic bombs were not dropped (which, arguably, may have been very possible). I could not believe the negative feedback! A politician wasn’t even allowed to make a simple speculative comment such as that!

The fact that my grandfather was killed by the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima and that my uncle died from what are assumed as the aftereffects of nuclear radiation (he tried to look for my grandfather, who was reduced to ashes) is also kind of a touchy subject for me, but in an entirely different way.

This sets itself up as a potential source for a serious identity crisis. How do I come to terms with having an American father and a grandfather who was killed by an American atomic bombing? Of course, my father had nothing to do with it, being nine years old at the time. Yet I find it amazing that my grandmother allowed my mother to marry an American. (My parents’ marriage was arranged by ministers of my grand church.) I can only attribute that she overlooked this issue to her Tenrikyo faith.

Yaeko Morishita passes away for rebirth

I mentioned on this site earlier this year that Yaeko Morishita, wife of Keigo Morishita, former head minister of Brotherhood Church and current head of Tenrikyo Mission New York Center, was critically ill. She passed away for rebirth on July 22 and, if I am not mistaken, the funeral was held in Los Angeles on August 5.

It’s sad to say final farewells to such a wonderful and kind-hearted person. Although I wish I had more opportunities to learn from her, I shall always treasure the short time I was a live-in at New York Center and the few chances I had to administer the Sazuke to her. While her soul is now at rest, I hope she does not remain in God’s warm embrace for too long. May she return reborn to join us soon, for I think her help is still greatly needed for the world to become a better place.