He was less than a mile from the epicenter of the bomb. After watching his classmates die in an inferno that swept over his elementary school, 8 year old Takashi Tanemori was rescued by an Imperial Soldier and brought to one of the nearby rivers, where the horrors of Hiroshima and the fortune of fate were were side by side.
Miraculously, the young Takashi was reunited with his father at the rivers edge, where people were flocking to ease the incinerating effects of the explosion. In the mayhem he watched a mother pass by him with a headless child strapped to her back, a bridge of bodies culminating in the water, used by the living to leave the city, unrecognizable faces barely attached to their lifeless beings crawling the darkened streets, and fires everywhere.
Takashi buried 6 members of his family almost immediately. His father would die a month later from radiation poisoning he received from re-entering Hiroshima frequently to look for his wife. When his father died, Takashi was cast out from the family and became a street urchin. The death of a father in their community was believed to cause the child to lose their sense of guidance, and therefore, could not be trusted.
When he came to the US ten years later, it was through a special program that promised him a new loving life in the US. Takashi however, sought no love from the nation that had destroyed his own, but instead he wished to avenge his father's death. He wanted to show the US families what it had been like for him after Hiroshima, and the pain he endured, by fighting back.
His heart changed however, many years after coming here when his young daughter asked him what would happen if he hurt American families, would they not seek revenge on her? Takashi pulled off the Bay Bridge onto Treasure Island one afternoon and began to cry over his conflict, when through his open window, entered a white butterfly. The serenity brought his father's words to him. "The greatest way to avenge your enemy, is by learning to forgive."
FORGIVENESS & RETURNING TO HIROSHIMA
Takashi has since been on a 40 year quest to spread the message of forgiveness and love wherever he goes. Now his journey is back to Hiroshima, back to where his voice needs to be heard again, in the light of something good, where his message can be seen by all who need it.