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President Truman's Grandson Meets with Japan's Atomic Bombing Survivors and New York-area High School Students + Live Webcast

Atomic Bomb Survivors Meet Harry Truman’s Grandson: Sharing Personal Stories

Wednesday, October 17, 2012, Noon at Japan Society

New York, NY -- Clifton Truman Daniel, the oldest grandson of President Harry S. Truman, made headlines in August when he visited the 67th anniversary memorials of the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Kyodo News reported he was the first Truman relative to attend the ceremonies remembering the 200,000 people who died in from the attacks and resulting radiation poisoning.

In Atomic Bomb Survivors Meet Harry Truman’s Grandson: Sharing Personal Stories, Daniel appears in conversation with survivors of the atomic bombings, including Setsuko Thurlow and Yasuaki Yamashita, as well as Akira Kawasaki, executive committee member of Peace Boat. With over 200 New York-area high school students scheduled to attend, the discussion takes place Wednesday, October 17, Noon, at Japan Society, and will be streamed live for the public courtesy of the Cinema Forum Fukushima.

Live Webcast URL: http://www.japansociety.org/event/special-program-for-high-school-students.

More than 67 years have passed since President Harry S. Truman authorized the use of the atomic bomb against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Two survivors, Thurlow and Yamashita, share their reflections, remembrances and personal testimonies with Daniel and Peace Boat’s Kawasaki. Daniel recounts his own journey toward understanding the bombings, including encounters with survivors during his recent trip to Japan, while Kawasaki introduces the work that Peace Boat has been doing to help survivors share their stories worldwide.

Clifton Truman Daniel is the oldest grandson of 33rd US President Harry S. Truman and the honorary chairman of the Truman Library Institute in Independence, MO. A former journalist and public relations executive, Mr. Daniel is the author of two books on his grandparents, Growing Up With My Grandfather: Memories of Harry S. Truman (Birch Lane Press, 1995) and Dear Harry, Love Bess: Bess Truman's Letters to Harry Truman, 1919-1943 (Truman State University Press, 2011). He is currently at work on a book on the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. According to a lengthy interview by the Japan Times, Daniel was inspired to attend this year’s memorial after after his son read the story Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes at age nine. Addressing controversy surrounding the bombings, Associated Press quoted Daniel with saying, "There are other opinions, there are other points of view, and I don't think we ever finish talking about that… The important thing is to keep talking, to talk about all of it."

As a 13-year old schoolgirl, Setsuko Thurlow found herself in close proximity to the hypocentre of the atomic blast that rocked Hiroshima. A survivor of one of the most pivotal events in modern history, she displayed great courage and leadership, sharing her experiences in order to sensitize us to the consequences of armed conflict on civilian populations and to promote lasting peace. After relocating to Toronto, she joined forces with the mayors of Toronto, Hiroshima and Nagasaki to establish the Peace Garden in Nathan Phillips Square. Over the years, she has served with a number of organizations, including Voices of Women, Canadian Pugwash Group and Toronto Hiroshima Day Coalition, continuing her journey from victim to activist.   On October 26, 2007, she received the Order of Canada Citation in Toronto, Ontario.

When the atom bomb fell on Nagasaki, August 9, 1945, Yasuaki Yamashita was 6 years old. An artist and ceramicist, he moved to Mexico in 1968, where he has accepted many invitations to speak about his experience. These have included schools, universities, cultural centers, a committee of the Mexican Senate, and the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts. In 2010 he gave his testimony at a memorial ceremony organized by the Mexico City Government on the occasion of the 65th Anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. He feels that it is important to keep alive the memory of the suffering, devastation, and death that nuclear weapons can cause in the hope that no one will ever use them again, but is concerned because each year there are fewer and fewer people still alive who can speak about this memory from personal experience.

Akira Kawasaki is an Executive Committee member of the Tokyo-based NGO Peace Boat. As a Vice Chair of International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and a Coordinating Committee member of Abolition 2000, he advocates for and frequently writes in Japanese newspapers and journals on nuclear disarmament. Since 2008, Kawasaki coordinates “Global Voyage for a Nuclear-Free World: Peace Boat Hibakusha Project” that the atomic-bomb survivors travel around the world to raise public awareness on nuclear danger. In 2009-2010, he served as an NGO Advisor to Co-Chairs of the International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND). After the March 11, 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster, he initiated Peace Boat's activities to help children of Fukushima and organized Global Conference for a Nuclear Power Free World in January 2012 as the Conference Director.

Hibakusha Stories, an initiative of Youth Arts New York, has organized the week of programming for Mr. Daniel, Ms. Thurlow and Mr. Yamashita. Dedicated to bringing living history into the classroom, in the last three years Hibakusha Stories has brought atomic bomb survivors to over 10,000 high school students throughout the metro area. Hibakusha Stories previously collaborated with Japan Society for the May 21, 2010 program for young people, A-Bomb Survivor Panel Discussion & Live Webcast. For more information about Hibakusha Stories, visit http://hibakushastories.org.

Founded in 1907, Japan Society is a world-class, multidisciplinary hub for global leaders, artists, scholars, educators, and English and Japanese-speaking audiences. At the Society, more than 100 events each year feature sophisticated, topically relevant presentations of Japanese art and culture and open, critical dialogue on issues of vital importance to the U.S., Japan and East Asia. An American nonprofit, nonpolitical organization, the Society cultivates a constructive, resonant and dynamic relationship between the people of the U.S. and Japan.

Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street between First and Second avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 at 42nd Street-Grand Central Station or the E and V at Lexington Avenue and 53rd St.) For further information call 212-832-1155 or visit www.japansociety.org.

The program is co-sponsored by Hibaskua Stories, an initiative of Youth Arts New York, and is offered in cooperation with Peace BoatEducation Programs at Japan Society are made possible by generous funding from The Freeman Foundation. Additional support is provided by The Norinchukin Foundation, Inc., Chris A. Wachenheim, Joshua N. Solomon, Jon T. Hutcheson, and Joshua S. Levine and Nozomi Terao. Student and Family Programs are supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

Media Contacts:

Shannon Jowett, 212-715-1205, sjowett@japansociety.org

Kuniko Shiobara, 212-715-1249, kshiobara@japansociety.org


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