The story of conscientious objectors in World War II.
The Vow from Hiroshima
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THE VOW FROM HIROSHIMA is an intimate portrait of Setsuko Thurlow, a passionate, 85-year-old survivor of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. Her moving story is told through the lens of her growing friendship with a second generation survivor, Mitchie Takeuchi.
Setsuko was miraculously pulled out of a fiery building after the bomb was dropped and unable to save her other 27 classmates who were burned to death alive. That experience shaped her life forever and she endeavored to keep a pledge she made to her friends - that no one should ever again experience the same horrible fate.
The film is a timely exploration of the global dangers of nuclear weapons and provides an insider's perspective as we see Setsuko campaign with ICAN (the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons). The culmination of Setsuko's decades of activism is her acceptance speech at the 2017 Nobel Peace Awards.
The film was updated in 2021 to include an epilogue about the ratification and enactment of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which entered into force on January 22, 2021.
'Highly engaging...At the heart of the film is the electrifying presence of Setsuko Thurlow, who for over 60 years has spoken out about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. Second-generation nuclear survivors and the young activists of Nobel Peace Prize awardee ICAN find inspiration in Thurlow's courageous activism. The Vow from Hiroshima is an outstanding resource for courses in history, politics, Asian Studies, environmental studies, ethics, and gender studies.' Ann Sherif, Professor of Japanese, Oberlin College
'Narrated through the experiences of two resilient hibakusha women, The Vow from Hiroshima is a well-researched, poignant and thoughtful work on the humanitarian approach to nuclear weapons. It is a fascinating story of how geopolitics and civil society intersects to influence policy, and how change is possible despite all odds.' Jayita Sarkar, Assistant Professor of International Relations, Boston University
'A beautiful narrative. The Vow from Hiroshima poignantly shows the suffering faced by survivors of nuclear weapons. In telling the stories of Setsuko Thurlow and Mitchie Takeuchi, it demonstrates the agency of hibakusha, to resist the pervasive silencing and stigma associated with the atomic bombs. It offers a clarion call for a world free of nuclear weapons and should be required viewing for students and activists interested in peace and security issues.' Matthew Bolton, Associate Professor, Political Science, Director, International Disarmament Institute, Pace University
'The Vow from Hiroshima is a powerful, deeply moving film, centered on Setsuko Thurlow's quest to rid the world of the nuclear terror that cruelly destroyed her classmates and members of her family in 1945. Determined that the crime should never be repeated, she played a vital role in informing the world about the horrors of nuclear war and in securing the adoption of the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Teachers and community organizations will find it a valuable and inspiring educational resource.' Lawrence Wittner, Professor of History Emeritus, SUNY - Albany, Author, Confronting the Bomb
'The Vow From Hiroshima reveals the deep humanity, empathy, and courage of Setsuko Thurlow, one of the most effective campaigners ever in the struggle for nuclear weapons abolition. This film gives us a first-person experience of her passion, emotion, and righteous anger; but perhaps more importantly, it highlights her courage, resilience, determination, and humility. The voice that called out to Setsuko in the rubble in 1945 is the same one that calls out today to everyone working for a nuclear-free world: 'Keep moving. Don't give up!'' Rick Wayman, President and CEO, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
'Vow from Hiroshima an incredibly important film that all Americans should see. Setsuko Thurlow's relentless efforts to ensure that no one on earth ever suffers the unspeakable horrors that decimated Hiroshima and Nagasaki and killed hundreds of thousands of people offers inspiration for the new generation of activists. The movements seeking to eliminate nuclear weapons, avoid catastrophic environmental disaster, and reckon with racial injustice are intimately intertwined and this film will offer hope to those working for peace and justice.' Nancy Parrish, Executive Director, Women's Action for New Directions (WAND)
'Setsuko Thurlow is a true hero, an extraordinary figure in the decades-long effort to ban nuclear weapons. The Vow from Hiroshima tells her story with great compassion. At a time when the nuclear threat is greater than in any other year since the destruction of Hiroshima, the issues this film addresses could not be more timely and important.' Eric Schlosser, Journalist, Author, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety
'Well done! Ms. Thurlow is passionate, engaging, and compelling. The Vow from Hiroshima reveals the human side of things - her life and quest to effect change through telling her and her country's story. The documentary is a great vehicle for enlightening a distracted American society, as well as contributing to the discourse on the nuclear threat. This is so inspiring, especially for advocates like myself who teach and research on these issues and are involved with NGOs. This film is a useful vehicle for engaging students and the larger community.' Gregory Hall, Executive Director, Daisy Alliance, Associate Professor of Diplomacy and International Commerce, University of Kentucky
'Setsuko not only found a public voice speaking about the victims of war, but helped build an activist campaign to abolish nuclear weapons that has created a treaty ratified by 39 countries and rising - a campaign focused on educating people about the past victims and potential future victims of war...What if we were to take Setsuko's work and accomplishments not as a freak occurrence to be marveled at, but as an example to be replicated?' David Swanson, World BEYOND War
'A moving, intelligent and perceptive documentary that reveals both the horror of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the gallant efforts of two survivors who have worked to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again.' Martin J. Sherwin, Professor of History, George Mason University, Author, Gambling with Armageddon: Nuclear Roulette from Hiroshima to the Cuban Missile Crisis (forthcoming)
Strickler, Susan C. (film director)
Strickler, Susan C. (film producer)
Strickler, Susan C. (screenwriter)
Takeuchi, Mitchie (screenwriter)
Takeuchi, Mitchie (film producer)
Silverman, Renée (screenwriter)
Editor, Judd Blaise; director of photography, Jennifer Hahn; original music by Dallas Crane.
Distributor subjectsActivism; Anthropology; Asian Studies; Biography; Conflict Resolution; Environment; Ethics; Foreign Policy, US; Global Issues; Health; History; Human Rights; International Studies; Japan; Nuclear Energy; Political Science; Sociology; War and Peace; Women's Studies
[00:00:08.09] - [Setsuko] Hiroshima, that's where I was born.
[00:00:12.39] (intense orchestral music) - [Reporter] Setsuko Thurlow was only 13 years old when the bomb was dropped on her hometown.
[00:00:23.02] - Setsuko has lived her entire life for nuclear disarmament.
[00:00:30.49] - Setsuko is one of the most compelling people I've met.
[00:00:34.70] She's had a profound impact.
[00:00:37.50] - It's a crime against humanity.
[00:00:40.29] - She is not just making a emotional appeal.
[00:00:45.59] Setsuko is very intellectual and she has a strategy.
[00:00:50.09] - This treaty can and will change the world.
[00:00:57.31] - She would without hesitation work herself to exhaustion to get her message across.
[00:01:02.60] - People who make history in a positive way all have a sacred stubbornness.
[00:01:10.11] - I don't regret how I have lived, but my work demanded certain sacrifice.
[00:01:18.49] - You think about her journey from the ashes and the devastation of her hometown to Oslo and a Nobel Peace Prize.
[00:01:30.01] It's an extraordinary life story.
[00:01:34.22] - The dreams of the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been witnessing the abolition of nuclear weapons.
[00:01:42.81] I have a feeling I may be able to see it in my lifetime.
[00:01:48.02] (intense orchestral music) - [Crowd] No more Hiroshima!
[00:02:04.92] - [Man] No more Nagasaki!
[00:02:06.88] - No more Nagasaki!
[00:02:09.29] - [Michi] My name is Michi Takeuchi My mother and my grandparents survived the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
[00:02:19.22] But they kept their experiences secret.
[00:02:23.39] I didn't learn about what really happened to them until I met Setsuko.
[00:02:30.27] (gentle piano music) (dishes clattering) - [Setsuko] We're gonna make a salad, if that's alright.
[00:02:39.33] - [Mitchie] When we met I felt instantly close to Setsuko.
[00:02:43.29] (conversing in Japanese) We were both ex-pats living outside of Japan for many years.
[00:02:51.30] We even went to the same girl's school in Hiroshima, though 20 years apart.
[00:02:58.39] - This looks like high school.
[00:03:01.31] My goodness.
[00:03:03.18] Yeah, I see myself!
[00:03:06.10] Here I am standing next to the teacher.
[00:03:11.61] This was English class.
[00:03:14.69] - Kawaii demo, she's-- you're so cute.
[00:03:17.32] - Yeah.
[00:03:20.83] - [Mitchie] For all that we had in common, Setsuko had one quality that was missing from my life.
[00:03:27.21] A willingness to talk about the tragedy that happened in our beautiful city.
[00:03:34.21] - This was my best friend.
[00:03:39.51] She was in the center part of the city together with several thousand other students, and most of them simply melted, vaporize and all carbonized.
[00:03:55.40] Those girls, they just crawled around and they couldn't see each other.
[00:04:01.20] Their eyes were almost closed.
[00:04:04.41] But by the voice they could identify each other.
[00:04:10.00] This math teacher suggested, "Let's sing some hymns." And they sang, "Nearer To Thee My God".
[00:04:22.01] Oh, that really breaks my heart when I think of that.
[00:04:27.39] And as they sang, one by one, they just collapsed and died.
[00:04:35.90] The teacher said, "Those of you who can stand up, "let's walk over to the Red Cross Hospital nearby." My best friend stood up and the teacher said, "Hang on to my shoulder, "I can support you." So she put her hand over the shoulder of Miss Yonehara, and then the flesh and skin just came off and she could see white bone of the teacher's shoulder.
[00:05:12.90] - [Mitchie] Listening to Setsuko awakened the dormant feelings I had about my family's history of Hiroshima survivals.
[00:05:22.99] I met Setsuko by pure accident.
[00:05:25.41] (speaking in Japanese) One day I got a call from my friend urgently looking for a Japanese interpreter.
[00:05:34.79] Without knowing what the meeting was about I agreed to go, and that's where I met Setsuko and became a part of Hibakusha Stories.
[00:05:45.59] (gentle ambient music) (audience applauding) - Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
[00:05:58.07] My name is Kathleen and I'm part of Hibakusha Stories.
[00:06:02.61] Hibakusha is the Japanese word for "atomic bomb survivor," and it is my deep privilege to bring to you today Setsuko Thurlow from Hiroshima.
[00:06:13.91] (audience applauding) Hibakusha Story's mission is to bring the first-hand witness of those survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki into classrooms so that young people can understand why nuclear weapons are still a risk to this day.
[00:06:31.72] - My most important role is to share survivors' experiences, what actually happened.
[00:06:41.61] Over 30,000 young people have heard us.
[00:06:46.28] (conversing in Japanese) - [Mitchie] Shortly after we met, Setsuko developed knee problems and needed a little extra help getting around.
[00:06:57.12] So I invited her to stay with me whenever she came to New York City to work with Hibakusha Stories.
[00:07:07.72] - What I will speak would be what I personally experienced, and it could happen again on a larger scale.
[00:07:17.02] So, we gotta do something about it.
[00:07:19.40] - Setsuko and the other hibakusha, they are the first witnesses of what happened, and they are the victims of these weapons.
[00:07:31.12] Their voice is extremely important to remind the world why this weapon must be eliminated.
[00:07:38.42] - I was 13 years of age at that time, I was in grade eight.
[00:07:44.00] And we students were mobilized to decode top secret messages.
[00:07:52.81] That morning, we had the assembly.
[00:07:58.81] The man in charge, he was giving us a pep talk.
[00:08:03.32] "Girls, this is the day you dedicate for the emperor.
[00:08:08.40] "Do your best." We said, "Yes, sir. We will do our best." And at that moment in the window, I saw bluish-white flash, just a blinding flash.
[00:08:22.42] (rumbling explosion) Then the next sensation I felt was just flying up in the air, and when I regained consciousness I started hearing faint voices of my classmates around me.
[00:08:41.02] "Mother help me, I am here." "God help me." All of a sudden, somebody's strong hand from behind shaking my left shoulder, and the man's voice said, "Don't give up, keep moving, keep pushing.
[00:09:03.13] "I'm trying to free you.
[00:09:05.71] "And you see the sun ray coming through that opening?
[00:09:09.30] "Crawl towards it as quickly as possible." So, I managed to come to the opening of the rubble.
[00:09:19.60] I looked back and I could still hear my classmates' voices.
[00:09:25.81] But it was already engulfed in flame.
[00:09:32.20] Most of the 30 girls who were with me in the same room were burned to death alive.
[00:09:42.62] By the time I came out, it was very dark.
[00:09:46.29] And as my eyes adjusted, I started seeing a procession of ghosts.
[00:09:57.30] They simply did not look like human beings.
[00:10:01.81] People covered with blood and burnt skin blackened, and the skins and flesh were hanging from their bones.
[00:10:19.70] And some people are simply walking with their eyeballs in their hands.
[00:10:32.30] - At the end of August, the Red Cross arrived at Hiroshima.
[00:10:37.72] And our doctors witnessed something that was just beyond comprehension and beyond imagination.
[00:10:45.69] The city had been wiped out.
[00:10:50.40] The city center had been completely incinerated and destroyed.
[00:10:56.61] Beyond that there was severe damage from the firestorms.
[00:11:03.70] And they noticed a mysteriously serious illness.
[00:11:08.21] Persons who appear to be recovering from their injuries, all of a sudden were becoming sick again.
[00:11:15.47] We know now this was the effect of radiation sickness and radiation exposure.
[00:11:21.18] (gentle ambient music) - We escaped to the foot of the hillside.
[00:11:42.12] There was a huge military training ground, about two football fields combined.
[00:11:51.42] By the time we got there, the place was packed with the dead bodies, dying people and injured people.
[00:12:02.39] They simply said in whisper, "Give me water. Water, please." But there were no buckets or no containers to carry water.
[00:12:16.40] So we found a stream nearby and we went there to wash our bodies, covered with blood and so on.
[00:12:26.29] And then we tore off our blouses and soak them in the water, and with as much water in it, we rushed back to the dying people.
[00:12:41.59] We put them over the mouth of those injured people.
[00:12:46.10] They desperately suck the moisture, like that.
[00:12:52.02] And then they looked at you and said, "Thank you." I looked around and see if there were any doctors or nurses.
[00:13:00.99] There was none.
[00:13:02.70] I didn't see one single healthcare professional.
[00:13:07.29] - 270 doctors that were in Hiroshima were killed, and many of the others were wounded.
[00:13:14.13] How could you possibly cope with only a handful of doctors and nurses?
[00:13:20.51] - My mother lived in the suburbs of Hiroshima.
[00:13:24.80] When atomic bomb was dropped, her father was the head of the Red Cross Hospital.
[00:13:32.31] And he never returned home.
[00:13:36.02] Three days later she decided to walk over three miles across the city of Hiroshima to look for him.
[00:13:47.78] Was he alive, or wounded, or even dead?
[00:13:52.00] Without knowing, she set off by herself into the devastated city center.
[00:14:00.80] What horrors she must have witnessed.
[00:14:06.30] And how much radiation was she exposed to so soon after the bombing?
[00:14:14.39] When she got there, she found her father alive but seriously injured, his body pierced with shattered glass, and he had multiple fractured bones.
[00:14:26.99] Confined to his bed, my grandfather continued to give directions to the medical staff seeking his advice.
[00:14:35.42] My mother stayed at the hospital for a few weeks taking care of him.
[00:14:42.09] My mother told me this story very casually when I was about 10 years old.
[00:14:48.22] We were sitting side by side, staring into a campfire after a long hike.
[00:14:54.68] I could tell she was very proud of him.
[00:14:58.69] It was only years later that I found out I was the only one who knew this story.
[00:15:05.61] She hadn't even told my three brothers.
[00:15:10.41] When I told Setsuko that I didn't know much about my grandfather's experience, she was astonished.
[00:15:17.00] - Your grandfather lived through a very, very significant time.
[00:15:24.30] The hospital played a key role in looking after atomic bomb victims.
[00:15:31.30] - I wish I had asked my mother more when she was alive, but...
[00:15:37.89] - That happened to many of us.
[00:15:39.90] We were too busy with our own growing up.
[00:15:43.82] - [Mitchie] She urged me to find out more about him.
[00:15:49.11] What I do know about my grandfather is that he was a military surgeon and a scientist.
[00:15:56.71] He was also a poet and an artist.
[00:16:04.00] He was kind and devoted to his family.
[00:16:08.59] My grandfather was transferred from Tokyo to Hiroshima in 1938 to establish the new Red Cross Hospital there.
[00:16:18.89] Growing up after the war was long over, I wondered why we continued to live in Hiroshima when the rest of our extended family lived in Tokyo.
[00:16:29.91] Why did my family stay?
[00:16:32.49] I felt like an outsider, but somehow I knew I wasn't supposed to ask about this.
[00:16:48.51] For the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing, Setsuko and I traveled to Japan to attend the memorial service for the alumni at our girl's school, Hiroshima Jogakuin.
[00:17:01.90] - Boy, things have changed.
[00:17:06.02] This was the first school building rebuilt in Hiroshima.
[00:17:11.61] That was beginning of the normal life for us.
[00:17:17.12] When I think about Hiroshima, certain people's images stand out clearly.
[00:17:23.29] (gentle piano and birds chirping) (speaking in Japanese) I feel that weight of the memory.
[00:17:52.40] After the bombing when we lost everything, you begin to wonder, what is this all about?
[00:17:59.79] What is life, what is death?
[00:18:04.00] I questioned many things.
[00:18:10.09] I hardly knew anything about Christianity when I first arrived here, because I came from the Buddhist background.
[00:18:19.60] But at this school we had Christian teachers.
[00:18:23.39] They weren't imposing, but they were guiding us.
[00:18:28.02] Finally I decided I wanted to be part of that church, and that was really the motivating foundation for my future activism.
[00:18:42.50] My church minister, Reverend Tanimoto, he said, "Christian faith without action is not the Christian faith to me." Choosing the profession of social work, choosing to do the work for anti-nuclear peace movement, all this comes from this school.
[00:19:16.32] - [Mitchie] While I was in Hiroshima, I decided to research my family's history.
[00:19:22.20] My first stop was the Red Cross Hospital.
[00:19:27.62] In 1947, the Showa Emperor came to Hiroshima for the first time after the bombing.
[00:19:34.71] And my grandfather had a meeting with the emperor to report on the condition of the survivors.
[00:19:41.51] A local artist was present to paint the meeting.
[00:19:46.81] Before the war, the emperor was considered to be like a god.
[00:19:52.32] After the war, everything changed.
[00:19:55.90] There was a sense of shame about anyone involved with the military and the government.
[00:20:01.99] So although my brothers and I knew that our grandfather had met with the emperor, it was something we never mentioned outside of the family.
[00:20:12.71] The only reminder of the event was a small black and white photocopy of the painting that I found in my father's study after he passed away.
[00:20:25.22] It was time for me to see the real painting.
[00:20:29.39] Over the next few years, I met with various staff members at the hospital who tried to help me locate the missing painting.
[00:20:39.70] Eventually, it was found buried in the storage room.
[00:20:46.29] The painting was larger than I thought it would be.
[00:20:50.71] It was surprisingly bright, with chartreuse green as the background.
[00:20:57.51] We have a specific word for that color in Japanese, "wakakusairo," which is used to illustrate the color of young grass in the spring.
[00:21:09.81] But interestingly, this meeting with the emperor took place in December.
[00:21:16.69] Then I remembered people feared that nothing would grow in Hiroshima for 75 years because of the radiation.
[00:21:26.20] Maybe the color was meant to symbolize hope.
[00:21:32.62] I had taken the first step towards recovering my family's lost history.
[00:21:46.89] - 1945 to 1954, that was the period of rebuilding our lives, healing our lives.
[00:22:01.40] Life was still very difficult, poverty, near starvation, and children who lost their parents.
[00:22:12.54] But step-by-step the community started coming back.
[00:22:21.01] Three days after the bombing, streetcars were running.
[00:22:26.39] That's amazing, that exemplified how determined people were to rebuild the city.
[00:22:34.39] Occupation forces arrived.
[00:22:38.61] One of the first things General MacArthur did was he started censorship of Japanese press because they wrote about hibakusha, the survivors' suffering.
[00:22:54.79] Diaries, correspondences, anything personal like that that creates a negative impression of Americans have to be confiscated.
[00:23:09.01] Japan was occupied for seven years, until 1952.
[00:23:14.81] Until then, we lived blindfolded.
[00:23:21.32] - [Mitchie] When I learned about the US occupation's censorship, I wondered if it played a part in my family's self-imposed code of silence.
[00:23:34.41] My grandfather had diligently kept daily journals, with his own sketches, for his entire life.
[00:23:43.21] As I went through them I could find nothing that related to his work a couple of years after the bombing.
[00:23:52.72] That seemed strange to me.
[00:23:57.19] I went to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum to see what I could find.
[00:24:04.69] None of his missing journals were there, but I did discover a magazine article written by my grandfather in 1946, exactly a year after the A-bomb was dropped.
[00:24:18.21] Despite the censorship, my grandfather had managed to describe in detail the devastation of the bomb, and the strong connection he felt with other survivors.
[00:24:31.80] My grandfather ended the article with a poignant haiku.
[00:24:37.23] (reciting haiku poem in Japanese) "Summer grasses growing "standing in the ruins, impossible to leave." I finally realized why my grandfather had stayed in Hiroshima.
[00:24:58.04] He felt a deep connection to the people and to the city.
[00:25:08.51] - I was in Hiroshima until I graduated from University.
[00:25:14.72] My third year at the university, I decided to devote my summer vacation for something useful.
[00:25:24.61] So I traveled to an International Christian Work Camp in small coal mining town.
[00:25:32.91] They invited university students and teachers from around the world to build a community center.
[00:25:42.29] Every day with our own hands, we cut the trees, carried the lumber, and mixed the cement.
[00:25:51.80] At that camp, I did meet Jim.
[00:25:58.39] He told me that when he saw me coming in, he thought, "Hey, life is looking up." He said that to me later.
[00:26:09.19] I found him attractive as a human being, very gentle, quiet, caring, yet a very steely conviction.
[00:26:19.20] We got to know each other very well, and we had fun together.
[00:26:27.00] By the end of the summer, he wrote to his parents in Canada about me.
[00:26:33.09] They sent a very happy response.
[00:26:36.22] Well, if their son chose the woman, she must be a fine person.
[00:26:45.19] But things didn't work that way with my family.
[00:26:49.90] My parents were traditional.
[00:26:52.40] They just couldn't think of allowing their daughter to be married to non-Japanese man.
[00:27:01.70] - [Mitchie] Unlike Setsuko, when the time came, my mother was destined for an arranged marriage.
[00:27:08.58] My grandfather would look for a good match for her, which was still commonly practiced in Japan at that time.
[00:27:16.30] But my grandfather was worried.
[00:27:19.10] There was a stigma associated with surviving the atomic bomb.
[00:27:23.89] People believed that exposure to radiation would lead to cancer and birth defects.
[00:27:30.69] So my grandfather suggested that my mother not talk about being in the city right after the bomb was dropped.
[00:27:38.70] He didn't want her to have limited options.
[00:27:42.79] My mother studiously observed my grandfather's advice, and in 1953 she married my father, who was chosen for her because he was a promising surgeon and a compassionate man.
[00:28:01.85] (loud explosion) - March, 1954.
[00:28:07.89] United States started testing the most powerful hydrogen bomb at that date.
[00:28:16.11] And Japanese fishing boat happened to be around.
[00:28:21.20] All the tuna fish have to be thrown away, and one crew member died.
[00:28:27.50] That was big news in Japan.
[00:28:30.21] And overnight, it was the birth in Japan of unprecedented protest movement.
[00:28:39.93] Imagine, 20 million signatures were collected to abolish nuclear weapon.
[00:28:47.52] That's a huge number.
[00:28:51.40] At the University, I volunteered as a interpreter and I met professor from Lynchburg College in the United States.
[00:29:02.20] So I had the opportunity to receive the scholarship.
[00:29:07.41] I wanted to be social worker.
[00:29:09.29] Japan didn't have appropriate training program.
[00:29:13.50] So after careful consideration, I decided to leave Japan.
[00:29:19.92] It was difficult to be away from Jim.
[00:29:24.51] Jim was still teaching in Japan.
[00:29:29.89] A couple of days after my arrival there was a press conference because they never had Japanese student in that college town.
[00:29:41.32] The first question was about what happened at the Bikini Atoll.
[00:29:46.91] They wanted my thought, and my opinion was they simply have to stop that kind of testing.
[00:29:55.13] And next day I started receiving the hate letters, unsigned letters.
[00:30:01.01] They're telling me, "Go home." Well, I can't go home, I just came here.
[00:30:06.72] It was a temptation to shut my mouth.
[00:30:10.81] No, that's not the way I want to live.
[00:30:13.19] I want to be honest with my experience, integrity.
[00:30:19.32] It was a very lonely time.
[00:30:23.82] A year later, Jim's teaching contract was up.
[00:30:28.12] By that time, my parents gave us consent.
[00:30:33.12] I was studying in Virginia, but we learned that a person with a darker color of skin was not eligible for marriage to a white man in Virginia.
[00:30:52.73] So we went to Washington, DC.
[00:30:57.19] Jim's parents and brother traveled down from Canada.
[00:31:04.40] That was a tremendous experience.
[00:31:09.99] To my surprise my old church minister, Mr. Tanimoto, showed up.
[00:31:15.92] He was in Washington because he was bringing 25 Hiroshima Maiden, the girls who were badly disfigured by the burn, to Mount Sinai Hospital.
[00:31:30.22] Scars all over the face, that's a disaster for young girls in marriageable age.
[00:31:37.60] They couldn't appear in public, they hid themselves, and discrimination was a real issue.
[00:31:45.11] So he was in Washington to assist those girls, so he decided to attend.
[00:31:51.70] Imagine, my old minister from Hiroshima jointly officiated the wedding.
[00:31:58.42] It was very nice.
[00:32:01.42] After the wedding, Jim and I moved to Canada and our student life started again.
[00:32:09.39] We were poor students in a basement apartment.
[00:32:14.52] It was painfully difficult, but I hid my tears.
[00:32:19.69] I didn't want to hurt him.
[00:32:22.11] Such poverty was not part of my notion of marriage.
[00:32:27.70] And I could never tell him how this situation upset me.
[00:32:33.41] I completed my graduate work in social work at the University of Toronto.
[00:32:39.42] Jim was teaching, and the way we lived was getting better.
[00:32:46.71] And then one day I learned that I was pregnant.
[00:32:52.80] That was a frightening time for me.
[00:32:56.10] Would I have deformed babies?
[00:33:01.69] That was a real concern I had.
[00:33:04.82] Some woman who were pregnant at that time did.
[00:33:10.40] I called Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Hospital and consulted with a doctor.
[00:33:15.78] She said we just had to take a chance.
[00:33:19.50] I was fortunate.
[00:33:21.71] I had two sons, healthy babies.
[00:33:27.09] I just count a blessing each day.
[00:33:33.30] We settled in Toronto, and my main job was to raise the children, very domesticated life.
[00:33:43.19] - My father was a high school history teacher.
[00:33:46.90] We often went on long trips, especially in Europe.
[00:33:50.32] He was always able to make it interesting.
[00:33:54.49] - Traveling with Jim is wonderful.
[00:33:58.49] We enjoyed discussing current issues and I learned a lot.
[00:34:07.29] I have to organize this.
[00:34:12.09] - [Mitchie] This is gorgeous!
[00:34:13.80] - Oh that's in Paris.
[00:34:16.39] This is my father.
[00:34:18.72] He went to Northern California, made money and went back.
[00:34:25.60] My family was an old samurai family and they had the highest status.
[00:34:33.99] I'm the youngest of the seven children.
[00:34:37.12] Privileged life, I should say.
[00:34:40.62] So when I started taking social work classes, I really didn't realize until then I was so class prejudiced.
[00:34:50.71] I was looking down on the people who didn't have as much.
[00:34:55.72] That was a real struggle for me, to learn to accept human being regardless of background.
[00:35:05.52] This is me right here.
[00:35:09.48] This is Aiko.
[00:35:10.82] She was my favorite sister.
[00:35:13.61] She was funny woman.
[00:35:15.20] She was in the States.
[00:35:16.91] After she came back to Hiroshima, she dressed like American woman.
[00:35:21.79] And I just watch everything my sister did.
[00:35:26.79] She died in atomic bombing.
[00:35:31.30] My sister and her four-year-old child were in the center part of the city, so they were burned beyond recognition.
[00:35:39.72] Their bodies were twice larger than normal.
[00:35:46.31] We could identify them by their voice, by the special hairpin she had in her hair.
[00:35:54.90] They just kept on asking for water, and we had no medication, no food or anything.
[00:36:05.62] After several days of agonizing suffering, they finally died.
[00:36:13.00] When they died, the soldiers came, dug up the hole in the ground, threw the dead bodies in there, poured the gasoline, threw the lighted match.
[00:36:28.52] There was a 13-year-old girl just standing, and my parents were standing there.
[00:36:35.11] We just in a stunned way, just kept watching while they were cremated.
[00:36:42.41] There was no human dignity or anything.
[00:36:46.41] They were just being treated like insect or animal.
[00:36:53.71] That memory was one of the most painful for me.
[00:37:04.22] (reverberating bell tone) - When I was growing up, all of us had a very normal life as if nothing ever happened in Hiroshima.
[00:37:31.71] When I was a teenager, I really wanted to leave to go to the United States to study psychology.
[00:37:39.59] And my mother, even though she felt really sad about letting me go, she supported me.
[00:37:55.19] Then right before I left, we discovered that my mother had a serious heart condition.
[00:38:01.99] My father changed his mind.
[00:38:04.87] For my mother's sake, he did not want me to leave, but she insisted that I go.
[00:38:12.62] She felt that she had spent her life fulfilling the expectations of her family.
[00:38:18.50] She wanted me to follow my own desires and make my own life for myself.
[00:38:25.59] She wanted to live her life through me in some ways.
[00:38:34.02] I really wanted to try my young adult life in New York City, which represented to me the freedom to pursue anything that I set my mind to.
[00:38:51.12] - 1975 was the 30th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
[00:38:58.09] There were commemorative events in Japan.
[00:39:01.42] But in United States and Canada those special days was ignored.
[00:39:08.60] I thought, we have to break the silence.
[00:39:11.81] We have to make this issue visible.
[00:39:15.89] I thought photographic exhibition.
[00:39:19.90] I asked the mayors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
[00:39:24.61] They started sending me all these materials.
[00:39:31.41] So we had this presentation at the University of Toronto, and that was the birth of the organization.
[00:39:39.33] - The organization was called Hiroshima Nagasaki Relived.
[00:39:43.30] The intent was to provide general education on the threat of nuclear weapons and nuclear war.
[00:39:51.01] - I remember Jim and Setsuko speaking at Quaker House here in the city of Toronto, and they were so gentle with each other and yet so clear and so unambiguous about their commitment to peace and justice issues confronting our world.
[00:40:10.32] - We started going to schools as speakers.
[00:40:14.70] We organized marches, lectures.
[00:40:20.00] I didn't realize how hard it's going to be to go public.
[00:40:26.51] It was really painful to talk about my survivor experience.
[00:40:33.31] Press are not always very sensitive.
[00:40:36.81] They can be rude, hurtful.
[00:40:39.81] "Where were you, how old were you?" Very superficial, so-called human interest story.
[00:40:48.70] I felt very strongly I did not wish just to talk about suffering.
[00:40:56.12] What I really wanted them to write about was this nuclear arms race and what change needs to take place in policymaking.
[00:41:07.01] I'm not interested in sympathy.
[00:41:10.01] I want your commitment.
[00:41:11.80] I want your action.
[00:41:13.10] That's why I'm still speaking about this.
[00:41:17.52] - I've called for whatever it takes to be strong enough that no other nation on earth will dare violate the peace.
[00:41:26.61] - Ronald Reagan got to power in 1980.
[00:41:30.49] Reagan's policy was the United States could actually fight and win a nuclear war.
[00:41:35.49] And so the arms race was given a fresh start at that time.
[00:41:40.41] - We're already in an arms race.
[00:41:43.21] - A global peace movement just erupted.
[00:41:47.59] There were tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands and in some places millions of people rallying.
[00:41:53.80] Setsuko and Jim were very active here in Toronto.
[00:41:57.39] We would demonstrate along Young Street or University Avenue or walk to one of the factories that was producing parts to cruise missile.
[00:42:08.53] - I remember 1982, one million people came to New York.
[00:42:14.91] We walked together through the streets of Manhattan.
[00:42:19.41] We ended up at Central Park.
[00:42:23.21] We couldn't even get in, it was so packed.
[00:42:26.21] That was amazing experience.
[00:42:29.80] - We had busloads of Canadians going down there.
[00:42:32.92] Rome had a million, London had a million, Berlin had half a million.
[00:42:37.51] It was just unbelievable global effort.
[00:42:40.72] - I think in 1982 in Central Park at that time was the largest political demonstration in American history.
[00:42:47.61] And Ronald Reagan took notice of it.
[00:42:50.19] And the worldwide revulsion towards nuclear weapons is what empowered Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev to seriously discuss at Reykjavik abolishing nuclear weapons.
[00:43:04.71] - In 1984, we got involved with the opening of the Peace Garden.
[00:43:11.80] - This Peace Garden to this day, it really is an important symbol of what Toronto tries to be in its best moments.
[00:43:18.72] - This is Prime Minister Trudeau, groundbreaking ceremony.
[00:43:23.81] The idea was, in order to memorialize the spirit of Hiroshima, Flame of Peace will be brought from Hiroshima Peace Garden and water from the river in Nagasaki.
[00:43:39.20] It became a very big thing.
[00:43:41.91] We asked the Pope to come give us the official blessing.
[00:43:46.08] (crowd cheering and applauding) The pope put my hands into his palm and said the prayer for those who perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and for those who survived.
[00:44:04.22] Queen Elizabeth came a couple of months later.
[00:44:08.60] - We all long for lasting international peace.
[00:44:12.69] - It was a great event for our goal, that is abolition of nuclear weapon.
[00:44:19.41] - Being a survivor certainly gave my mother a lot of instant credibility.
[00:44:24.49] That made her somebody who was in demand.
[00:44:27.29] She had a message to deliver, and the eloquence and the background and the knowledge to deliver it.
[00:44:34.30] - Every speech I gave, Jim checked.
[00:44:38.30] Jim and I shared ideals and he gave all the energy and time and help I needed.
[00:44:47.60] But there were many moments when I couldn't take it emotionally.
[00:44:54.19] Sometimes writing speeches late at night, I just start uncontrollable sobbing.
[00:45:02.32] The only person who has seen me do that is Jim.
[00:45:08.41] I just couldn't have coped by myself.
[00:45:12.29] He was always there for me.
[00:45:18.92] - [Mitchie] As I traveled with Setsuko to various events and met many other activists, I was struck by what a significant role doctors have played in the movement to stop the nuclear arms race.
[00:45:33.10] I can only imagine how frustrating and infuriating it must have been for my grandfather.
[00:45:39.49] He was on the front line of this first atomic devastation and was unable to treat the streaming masses of victims after the bomb was dropped.
[00:45:51.29] - Physicians have been involved in nuclear disarmament for many years.
[00:45:55.79] In the '80s, they realized that, as a physician, they had no power to do anything if a nuclear war would happen.
[00:46:05.30] So the only option for them was to prevent nuclear war.
[00:46:10.89] They started to organize.
[00:46:12.89] The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War was founded.
[00:46:17.90] - The anti-nuclear movement was extraordinarily effective 30, 35 years ago, but people assume that the threat went away when the Cold War ended.
[00:46:27.41] (crowd cheering and metallic hammering) - In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell and everyone thought the nuclear weapons would just disappear and solve itself, so engagement in nuclear disarmament lost its force.
[00:46:44.22] - After the Cold War, enormous progress was made between the United States and Russia, reducing the sizes of their arsenals by 80, 85% since their peak.
[00:46:55.40] The nuclear issue was essentially forgotten.
[00:46:59.19] - [Voiceover] As the United States meets treaty obligations by making significant reductions in its nuclear weapon stockpile, disassembly and disposal operations are taking place.
[00:47:10.41] - The general public, when the Cold War ended they went back to sleep thinking the problem disappeared.
[00:47:18.79] I did continue my activism.
[00:47:21.92] But in those days I spend most of my energy as a social worker.
[00:47:27.22] And also, Jim's physical condition began to deteriorate.
[00:47:38.40] - Mid '90s, he had his bypass surgery.
[00:47:41.02] Gradually at that point, he was becoming weaker.
[00:47:44.40] He was still able to help with her speeches, but he wasn't able to travel with her.
[00:47:50.20] But he certainly encouraged her not to slow down.
[00:47:53.79] He said to her that she's going to have to work for both of them.
[00:47:58.50] - I became involved more on an international level.
[00:48:02.59] I was invited to participate in the Peace Boat, to go around the world and help spread the message of peace with 100 survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
[00:48:17.39] I hesitated to accept it.
[00:48:20.11] They were some health concern about Jim.
[00:48:24.69] - When Setsuko was on the global voyage, Jim was not well.
[00:48:27.82] She was looking after him at home.
[00:48:30.12] And he went into a nursing facility for those three months.
[00:48:36.91] He understood the importance of her work as a disarmament activist from the moment he met her, and supported her 100% of the way.
[00:48:44.80] So, they had a real deep partnership.
[00:48:49.59] The ship arrived in Tahiti, and Jim's health had hit a bump in the road, and she said, "I'm out of here.
[00:49:00.69] "I gotta go back to Canada and be with my husband." - I flew home just in time for his birthday.
[00:49:09.70] I must admit I had some sense of regret that I took a lot of time away from my husband.
[00:49:20.50] When he retired, we wanted to write together, and he waited for me too long, and I feel guilty that I made him wait.
[00:49:31.51] You know, even after I retired I had so much to do.
[00:49:36.01] So we could have started a new chapter with him.
[00:49:40.10] But that chapter never came, and I feel guilty about that.
[00:49:49.32] Jim and I shared 56 years.
[00:49:54.82] What do you call it, soul mate?
[00:49:58.29] So you can imagine the void I felt when he passed.
[00:50:03.50] (gentle instrumental music) - [Mitchie] As long as I lived in the United States, I carried a sense of guilt about leaving my mother.
[00:50:28.32] In 2007, when I learned that she had pancreatic cancer and only a few months to live, I decided to go home to be with her till the end.
[00:50:40.62] - We know today that those who were exposed to radiation after the atomic bombs were used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and in fact their children as well, suffer from cancer rates that are far higher than the general population.
[00:50:57.72] And so this is the continued impact of those bombs 70-plus years on.
[00:51:04.89] - [Mitchie] My mother was so relieved that I had no deadline to return to New York City.
[00:51:10.90] One day, I apologized to her for moving so far away.
[00:51:15.70] She said, "Oh Mitchie, don't cry.
[00:51:19.41] "That happened many years ago.
[00:51:22.16] "I was happy that you got to pursue the life you wanted." Those last days together were very special for us.
[00:51:31.30] I had so many questions that I wanted to ask her, but she was getting weaker and weaker.
[00:51:39.01] I had missed my chance.
[00:51:41.72] My questions would never be answered.
[00:51:48.69] - I have witnessed hell on earth.
[00:51:51.90] But the horrible catastrophic destruction was caused by a very primitive bomb.
[00:52:03.12] Over the past 70 years, the world kept on piling up nuclear weapons.
[00:52:11.09] 16,000 of them, and a lot more powerful.
[00:52:15.76] (rocket engines roaring) - Nuclear weapons are viewed as a status symbol.
[00:52:22.22] They should be seen as badges of shame, as the markers of rogue nations who are putting the entire world at risk.
[00:52:30.90] - And some people think it's a good thing to have that dangerous, powerful nuclear weapon because we can use them as a deterrence.
[00:52:40.41] And that idea's totally illusion and delusion.
[00:52:46.50] - And when you look very closely at what deterrence is, it's the threat to annihilate millions and millions of innocent civilians.
[00:52:57.01] Deterrence could fail an hour from now simply because a leader decides to use nuclear weapons.
[00:53:04.01] The threat in many ways is the greatest it's been in decades.
[00:53:08.68] - If we start using those weapons, it certainly is going to be the end of the world, end of the civilization, the destruction of the planet.
[00:53:22.70] I can't stand that very thought, can you?
[00:53:29.00] - We either get rid of these weapons or they will be used.
[00:53:33.29] So about 10 years ago, we formed an umbrella group called the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
[00:53:40.30] - ICAN was founded to broaden our movement to include new actors, bring in younger people.
[00:53:48.60] The staff, we're just a few people.
[00:53:50.69] We're not the campaign.
[00:53:52.31] It's the partner organizations.
[00:53:55.11] - We have 468 organizations associated with ICAN right now.
[00:54:00.70] It's in about a hundred countries.
[00:54:02.82] It's really a bottom-up campaign.
[00:54:05.70] Most of the groups are from the grassroots.
[00:54:09.70] - I was so delighted.
[00:54:12.12] The young people provided the major leadership in that organization.
[00:54:18.21] That was something I never experienced.
[00:54:23.09] - This campaign began to attract the attention of a number of governments around the world, and began a series of international conferences on the humanitarian impact of nuclear war.
[00:54:34.10] - The conferences really put the focus on what these weapons do to people, and this was strangely absent from so many discussions on nuclear disarmament previously.
[00:54:48.12] - [Mitchie] Setsuko was thrust onto the world stage at the Vienna conference.
[00:54:52.71] I had heard her testimony many times, but it was here that I saw her tremendous impact on the global debate about nuclear weapons.
[00:55:06.39] - So have a good look.
[00:55:08.51] Here are 351 schoolmates of mine.
[00:55:13.89] Each one had a life, had a name and was loved.
[00:55:20.02] Until recently, we have been talking about military deterrence, imbalance of power.
[00:55:26.20] And I am relieved finally we are talking about human beings, what the nuclear weapons do to human beings.
[00:55:35.62] All these friends of mine are gone.
[00:55:39.46] They are wiped out from the face of the planet.
[00:55:43.51] This is something we want to prevent.
[00:55:46.88] We have to stop it.
[00:55:48.80] - One of the things that I admire about Setsuko is her fearlessness, the fact that she's willing to really speak truth to power.
[00:55:59.81] - In Vienna the Japanese ambassador said something along the lines of, let's not be so pessimistic about how we might respond to a nuclear attack.
[00:56:11.70] And Setsuko was like, "I can't believe he said that." She went over and said, as a survivor of Hiroshima, that opinion was very offensive to her.
[00:56:21.29] Really putting it to him in no uncertain terms.
[00:56:25.51] She essentially said you cannot talk about survivability or, quote, "pessimism" around what these nuclear weapons can do.
[00:56:38.69] And boy, was her picture on the front page in Japan that next morning.
[00:56:43.61] (speaking in Japanese) - How much longer can we allow the nuclear weapon states to continue threatening all life on Earth?
[00:57:06.71] - Setsuko always said anger is very important to keep her work going.
[00:57:14.39] She never forgot her feeling of anger after the Hiroshima bombing.
[00:57:19.39] - ...that the time has come for action.
[00:57:23.90] Let us start this process, beginning with the negotiation on the ban treaty here and now in Vienna.
[00:57:38.50] - Because Setsuko was so strong and powerful, many government thought that they have to do something new, and that led the Austrian government to present the Humanitarian Pledge.
[00:57:52.72] - This pledge says we should have some kind of legal instrument to make it very clear to everyone that we consider nuclear weapons illegal.
[00:58:02.10] - That the risk of nuclear weapons use with the unacceptable consequences can only be avoided when all nuclear weapons have been eliminated.
[00:58:11.90] - This was a hugely significant moment.
[00:58:15.41] Country after country adopted this Humanitarian Pledge and expressed their readiness to start negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
[00:58:25.00] - The only way to guarantee the security that we all seek is through the total elimination of nuclear weapons and their prohibition.
[00:58:32.30] - The humanitarian pledge has received the signature from 121 nations.
[00:58:41.31] That is tremendous momentum.
[00:58:44.69] I feel so empowered, so gratified.
[00:58:50.99] - [Mitchie] It was during this trip to Vienna that I finally made my first public speech about my grandfather.
[00:58:58.20] It was in front of 50 delegates from the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
[00:59:04.71] Setsuko even helped me to practice my speech.
[00:59:08.29] I received a warm response for providing them with some of their missing history.
[00:59:18.51] After the success of the Humanitarian Pledge, Setsuko and the other hibakusha were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
[00:59:28.61] The day of the announcement, we were all at Setsuko's home very early in the morning.
[00:59:34.20] We were standing by for the news, which would come in at 5 a.m.
[00:59:40.70] 5 a.m. came and went.
[00:59:44.21] Someone else won the Nobel Peace Prize that year.
[00:59:49.08] - There are many moments when I feel discouraged, but I don't remain in that mood too long because I know intellectually we can't afford to do that.
[01:00:04.89] (upbeat percussive music) - Right now the anti-nuclear movement has an opening like never before.
[01:00:19.20] ICAN has been working very closely with those governments that want to see a ban, and I believe that the tide is turning.
[01:00:27.92] - When I first heard the idea about a treaty that would be done without nuclear-armed states, I was like, nah, that doesn't sound like the right thing to do.
[01:00:36.51] If the nuclear-armed states aren't there, then what does it mean?
[01:00:39.80] - When we started pursuing a nuclear weapon ban treaty, we were really looking to the lessons that we had learned from prohibiting landmines and cluster bombs.
[01:00:50.81] We learned that you don't need all of the so-called big powers to transform international law and to stigmatize these weapons by outlawing them.
[01:01:01.49] So we knew going in we didn't have any of the nuclear-armed states supporting this.
[01:01:06.41] But it wasn't necessary.
[01:01:08.62] These countries couldn't control the discourse anymore.
[01:01:14.42] - The world's attention is focused at the United Nations.
[01:01:18.92] This is the first time in 70 years of the United Nations' life we had the negotiation for the ban treaty.
[01:01:30.39] - It's tough having over a hundred countries trying to hammer out a text.
[01:01:35.90] It was a very intensive lobbying effort going on.
[01:01:38.99] We were surprised with the extremely aggressive pressure from the nuclear armed states.
[01:01:45.12] On the opening of the negotiations, quite dramatically the US ambassador Nikki Haley and some of her allies staged a protest press conference.
[01:01:54.79] - You are going to see almost 40 countries that are not in the General Assembly today.
[01:01:59.51] And that's 40 countries that are saying, "We would love to have a ban on nuclear treaty-- on nuclear weapons.
[01:02:06.01] "But we have to be realistic." - It was really quite a big sign that we were onto something very important.
[01:02:11.81] if the US government that would have to protest outside the negotiating room.
[01:02:16.19] - In this day and time we can't honestly say that we can protect our people by allowing the bad actors to have them, and those of us that are good trying to keep peace and safety not to have them.
[01:02:28.41] - This is intended as a distraction.
[01:02:31.00] I think it's quite unusual that the US ambassador and her colleagues are standing outside protesting while the rest of the world's inside negotiating.
[01:02:40.21] Setsuko and the hibakusha, they are the real experts on nuclear weapons.
[01:02:44.01] The survivors know more about nuclear weapons than anyone else.
[01:02:48.01] And they have been so instrumental in the treaty negotiations.
[01:02:52.31] - Madam President and delegates.
[01:02:56.02] Whenever I remember Hiroshima, the first image that comes to my mind is my four-year-old nephew, who was transformed into an unrecognizable, blackened, swollen, melted chunk of flesh, who kept begging for water in a faint voice until his death released him from agony.
[01:03:33.81] This little boy's image has come to represent in my mind all the innocent children of the world threatened as they are at this very moment by nuclear weapons.
[01:03:51.49] I want you to feel the spirit of the dead witnesses from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
[01:04:00.92] Please do your job well, and know that we hibakusha survivors have no doubt that this treaty can and will change the world. Thank you.
[01:04:22.19] (upbeat percussive music) - We're on the last leg of the negotiations.
[01:04:41.42] The text that we have is a good text.
[01:04:43.92] It's a categorical prohibition on nuclear weapons.
[01:04:48.30] This is a big deal.
[01:04:56.60] - [Man] Oh my god, they're all doing it.
[01:05:00.02] (delegates cheering) - I never thought I would see this moment.
[01:05:14.99] I've been waiting for this day for seven decades, and I am overjoyed that it has finally arrived.
[01:05:27.01] This is the beginning of the end of nuclear weapons.
[01:05:32.51] To the leaders across the world, I beseech you.
[01:05:38.60] If you love this planet, you will sign this treaty.
[01:05:45.90] Nuclear weapon has always been immoral.
[01:05:50.90] Now they are also illegal.
[01:05:54.49] (applauding and cheering) July the 7th, I was almost numb actually.
[01:06:07.00] It's such a profoundly historic occasion.
[01:06:12.72] When I think of it I almost tremble, why I am so more than grateful and somber.
[01:06:25.02] I can shout and scream with joy and happiness, but it's a lot more serious than that really.
[01:06:37.12] Because I cannot have this time without including all the people who shared that fate with me in that city on that day.
[01:06:55.39] - Today, we finally banned nuclear weapons.
[01:06:58.51] This is an issue that we're not always used to winning, and it feels really good to win today.
[01:07:03.39] - It's just the beginning.
[01:07:05.40] So my plea to all of you is, you media people, do your part.
[01:07:11.99] Is New York Times here?
[01:07:14.20] Washington Post here?
[01:07:15.91] I don't think so.
[01:07:18.33] We have to pressure them.
[01:07:20.49] And I want more people to become motivated to act with us.
[01:07:26.42] That is a shared responsibility, yours and ours.
[01:07:34.72] - At that time there was an event at the United Nations where several hibakusha gave testimony.
[01:07:43.73] Until I heard this woman from Nagasaki speak, I used to think that my mother was kind of chicken not to be able to talk about what had happened to her, because she was probably too emotionally fragile.
[01:08:03.79] While Setsuko was courageous to speak about what had happened to her and give the testimony many, many times.
[01:08:15.59] Then Mrs. Kimura said something that caught me completely off-guard.
[01:08:20.51] (speaking in Japanese) - So now we have some moment for questions and comments from the whole.
[01:09:00.72] As a second-generation hibakusha myself, listening to you talking about how you wanted to protect your children by not talking about it, now I really appreciate what my mother must have felt.
[01:09:17.69] - [Setsuko] I have lot more, please eat.
[01:09:22.41] - Finally when I heard Mrs. Kimura's speech, something clicked in my mind.
[01:09:28.71] And I said, ah, my mother didn't maybe talk about it so that we won't be discriminated.
[01:09:36.30] - Do you think she wanted to protect her children?
[01:09:39.51] - I think so.
[01:09:41.09] So when I heard Mrs. Kimura talking about her experience of discrimination, that really made me want to cry because I could really understand.
[01:09:57.32] All those years I grew up surrounded by unspoken anxiety thinking that my mother was weak, I finally got it.
[01:10:07.12] I had always thought that my grandfather was the heroic figure in our family's story, but now I grasped what strength it took for my mother to maintain a lifetime of silence.
[01:10:21.01] (gentle string music) In 2017, ICAN and the nuclear bomb movement was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
[01:10:36.19] As one of their major campaigners, Setsuko was excited to see if their work would be recognized.
[01:10:43.70] But we were trying not to raise our hopes too high after our last early morning vigil.
[01:10:55.63] - Good morning, everybody.
[01:10:58.09] The Norwegian Nobel committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, ICAN.
[01:11:16.31] The organization is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons, and for its groundbreaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition on such weapons.
[01:11:39.59] - Oh, what luck!
[01:11:41.59] Let's scream.
[01:11:46.89] - Thank you very much everyone for joining us today at what I think is ICAN's first Toronto press conference ever.
[01:11:54.52] And so today we're honored to announce formally that Setsuko Thurlow, who is an atomic bomb survivor from the age of 13 in Hiroshima, will be jointly accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on ICAN's behalf in Oslo in December.
[01:12:09.91] (audience applauding) - Often the peace movement is considered to be anti-government.
[01:12:18.79] But now with this recognition, hey, this is perfectly all right, legitimate.
[01:12:25.92] University presidents are writing to me.
[01:12:28.51] - Right, right.
[01:12:29.72] - I'm looking forward to this trip, but with a certain degree of anxiety because I'm going to be so busy.
[01:12:40.73] It's possible I'm going to want to buy new clothes.
[01:12:45.90] I really have to wear something special.
[01:12:48.91] Not this.
[01:12:52.33] So this is beautiful.
[01:13:00.42] (gentle piano music) - Time to go.
[01:13:12.22] - She's speaking at the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.
[01:13:18.18] Which means she has to make it to the plane.
[01:13:21.52] And where are we meeting Andy?
[01:13:27.11] Good, this is nice, this is wonderful.
[01:13:30.70] (gentle piano music) - [Mitchie] We arrived in Oslo just before Christmas.
[01:13:40.29] (stirring piano music) I really enjoyed seeing Setsuko treated like a rockstar.
[01:13:56.31] - I never expected this kind of passionate support.
[01:14:04.69] The world has come to understand what we have been saying for years and years.
[01:14:09.90] (stirring instrumental florish) (horns blaring) (audience applauding) Every second of every day, nuclear weapon endanger everything we hold dear.
[01:15:02.21] When I was a 13-year-old girl trapped in the smoldering rubble, I kept pushing, I kept moving toward the light.
[01:15:15.89] And I survived.
[01:15:20.31] Our light now is a ban t reaty.
[01:15:25.60] I repeat those words that I heard in the ruins of Hiroshima.
[01:15:31.40] Don't give up!
[01:15:32.69] Keep pushing, keep moving, see the light!
[01:15:37.62] Crawl towards it.
[01:15:41.12] Tonight we march through the streets of Oslo with torches aflame.
[01:15:50.09] Let us follow each other out of the dark night of nuclear terror.
[01:15:58.80] No matter what obstacles we face, we will keep moving and keep pushing, and keep sharing this light for others.
[01:16:15.20] This is our commitment for our one precious world to survive.
[01:16:25.37] (audience cheering and applauding) I was so gratified.
[01:16:45.39] I kept having tears, tears of joy.
[01:16:49.31] (audience cheering) This is going to change the world.
[01:16:56.99] I believe that.
[01:16:59.61] - [All chanting] Yes, I can! Yes, I can! Yes I can! Yes, I can!
[01:17:14.42] - My mom wants to keep going as long as she can.
[01:17:17.59] Being an activist is extremely important to her, and I think she realizes that she has limited number of years left and she wants to do as much as she can in that time.
[01:17:27.39] - This is a campaign where there's a role for everyone to play and the most important is to just admit and declare to yourself, "I don't believe in these weapons.
[01:17:37.11] "I think there are illegitimate and unacceptable." And just saying that contributes to removing some of the legitimacy of these weapons.
[01:17:47.50] - This is only the beginning of a real hard struggle.
[01:17:56.30] When 50 nations sign the treaty and ratify it, then this treaty become effective, come into force.
[01:18:09.31] And that would be the day I wish I could be alive to witness.
[01:18:19.32] So that means you and I, all of us have a job to do.
[01:18:25.33] We have to work with our own government, especially our governments are reluctant to sign, ratify, we have to work harder.
[01:18:36.50] The inscription at the Peace Park in Hiroshima says, "Rest in peace. This evil will not be repeated." This became the vow and prayer of survivors.
[01:18:54.40] Certainly it is mine.
[01:18:59.53] I do believe that we can fulfill our vow.
[01:19:05.49] (stirring orchestral flourish) - Setsuko, it's so exciting to be with you today.
[01:19:45.15] - Isn’t it wonderful?
[01:19:46.70] We have waited for this for a long, long time. 75 years.
[01:19:54.08] I am certainly so grateful to all those people who worked with us around the world.
[01:20:13.98] - My name is Mitchie Takeuchi. I’m from Hiroshima.
[01:20:17.35] - We’re representing New York based peace organizations.
[01:20:21.02] We are here to go around and thank all of the 51 states that have ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
[01:20:31.66] - The smallest group can rapidly grow and develop around the world.
[01:20:39.79] I intend to continue this until we reach the final goal.
[01:20:44.42] That is the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
[01:20:58.27] (intense cello music) (rhythmic drumming and percussion) (intense drumming and cello music)
Distributor: Bullfrog Films
Length: 82 minutes
Language: English; Japanese
Grade: 10 - 12, College, Adults
Closed Captioning: Available
Interactive Transcript: Available
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