Friday, March 6, 2015

Aioi Bridge, Kimonos and My Shadow (#SOL15, Day 6)


from Unforgettable Fire.
At the Aioi Bridge: On August 9, 1945, I walked around the city looking for my husband. There were many burned persons at each evacuation center. Their injuries were quite extraordinary.  I was walking among many dead people. I was too shocked to feel loneliness for my husband.  It was like hell. The sight of a living horse burning was very striking. This picture shows only a part of Hiroshima. The whole city was just like this at that time.  - Sawami Katagiri, Age 76.

The morning we dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the sky was cloudless. The temperature at the center of the bomb was 300,000º C.  Aioi Bridge was the target for the A-bomb.  It was easily recognizable from the air.

Ground zero. 

Some on or near the bridge that August morning were evaporated leaving only shadows behind. 

Beneath Blooms (M.A. Reilly, 2014)

20 years after the bombing of Hiroshima,  I stood on a stage and recited Robert Louis Stevenson's poem,  My Shadow.  I practiced that poem for days.  I was ever so pleased to have been selected from the class to recite it at the school recital. Dressed like all of the girls from my first grade class,  I wore a kimono--petal pink, petal soft. To this day I can still see the color, still remember the softness. After the poetry reading, the full class sang the Japanese folk song, Sakura, Sakura.


Arms Raised at Night (M.A. Reilly, 2014)

In Ulysses, James Joyce wrote:

“History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”  

I think of Stephen's insight and know there is no awakening. For it is not only an event that marks us, but also how those recalled events are juxtaposed. 

The United States has still not apologized to Japan. 


  1. As I read and contemplate the message of your post, I am thinking about Selma and the juxtaposition of that bloody anniversary with the recently released DOJ report out of Ferguson. Joyce was right - history, it seems, is a continuing nightmare.

    1. Yes, I can see how Selma and the DOJ report represents a similar juxtaposition. I watched the press conference Holder held and listened to the litany of police abuse he described. I hold hope that we might respond to one another in better, more just ways.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.