‘I Cannot Forgive Myself for What I Did’: One Man’s Recollections of His Work on the Manhattan Project

6 Aug


My blog article, “I Cannot Forgive Myself for What I Did” was published on The Huffington Post USA, UK, Italy, Spain, German, Korea, and Japan:

English →http://huff.to/1IO3BZb


Spanish →http://huff.to/1IuAuqn





“I cannot believe that war is the best solution. No one won the last war, and no one will win the next war.”

— Eleanor Roosevelt

【Announcing New Album 】Last Song Compilation CD

13 Jul


Last Song


I’m happy to announce that a compilation CD based on my book, “Last Song,” will be released from Universal Music. It is a collection of songs mentioned in the book, such as “What a Wonderful Word” and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

The CD contains songs by various artists, including Japanese and American traditional tunes and classical pieces. I’m singing one song for the CD.

It will be available on iTunes and Amazon Japan on July 29!

【Song List】

01. What a Wonderful World
02. A Thousand Wind (Japanese)
03. Yashi no mi (Japanese)
04. Clair de lune
05. Home Sweet Home
06. Furusato (Japanese)
07. Country Road
08. Unforgettable
09. Pachelbel’s Canon
10. Oborozukiyo (Japanese)
11. Silent Night
12. Miagetegoran yoru no hoshi o (Japanese)
13. Somewhere Over the Rainbow
14. Danny Boy
15. Aka Tonbo (Japanese)
16. Amazing Grace
17. Hamabe no uta (Japanese)

The Last Wish of a Woman Who Survived The Battle of Okinawa

21 Jun

ハイビスカス“I have one regret,” said Tokiko one day.

“I wish I had written down my story. ”

I was surprised to hear that, because Tokiko, a survivor of The Battle of Okinawa, had lived her life without telling her past even to her son.

I met Tokiko in the summer of 2009. At 79 she suffered from heart disease and was recently diagnosed with depression. When she suddenly stopped eating and talking to everyone including her family, she was admitted to hospice care. It seemed that Tokiko had lost interest in everything, and no one knew why.

A hospice nurse referred her to music therapy, hoping that it would help ease her depression. The nurse also knew that I, too, was Japanese. Over the course of therapy that lasted for 3 months Tokiko revealed her past to me in a way I had never imagined.

While I sang Japanese folk songs such as “Hamabe no uta,” she listened with a calm expression on her face, but she was hiding a painful past.

“My life was complicated. I was…I was the only one who survived the war.”

She looked at me with her piercing eyes.

Through musical therapy I learned that her father and younger brother were killed in Okinawa, and that her sister was killed in the Nagoya raid. At 15 Tokiko became an orphan.

After the war she fell in love with an American soldier, even though she initially had anger toward Americans. She got married and moved to the US. The marriage brought her the happiness she had longed for, but her husband was sent to Vietnam twice, and by the time he came back he was a “different man.” He became alcoholic.

Tokiko’s life was affected by wars, yet she never complained or expressed anger toward anyone. The only thing that haunted her was a question: Why did I survive?

By the time she had finished her story, her condition began to improve. She started eating again and talking to people. In the beginning of fall she was removed from hospice care.

On our last session we sang “Hamabe no uta” together. She liked the song very much, since it reminded her of Okinawa. Even though it was the place where unimaginable horror had taken place, it remained a special place in her heart. The song brought back to her memories of the blue sky and the wide, beautiful ocean.

“I wish I had written down my story. ”

She said when the song ended.

“I haven’t told my story to people, because I didn’t think anyone would want to know it. But I’ve realized that it is important to share it.”

I promised her that I’d write her story one day. More than 5 years later I’ve written her story in my book, “Last Song.”

June 23 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of The Battle of Okinawa. I wonder what comes to your mind on this day. As for me, I’ll be remembering Tokiko and all those who perished in Okinawa.

“Not to trasmit an experience is to betray it.” ~Elie Wiesel


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