Discover Nikkei Logo

https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1719/

Overcoming trauma and speaking about his A-Bomb experience

After I came back from Japan, this is back in 1948, my mother would tell me that I used to wake up in the middle of the night screaming—nightmares. And I had difficulty with some of the food items. Anything that had a tinge of red like spaghetti with marinara sauce, a pink orange or pink grapefruit, I had trouble with that, rare meat. Anything that reminded me of the carnage that I witnessed as a child. So I had trouble eating and swallowing those items.

But as time went by, by 1955, 10 years after the A Bomb, things seemed to have dissipated. Since then, I've been able to talk about it. Although some subjects I get into sometime gets me a little bit choked up. But I could discuss this things, perhaps with less emotion than some of the people in the audience because I've done it so often and maybe I’ve become hardened to it. So yes there’s some difficulty, but it’s not unbearable.


atomic bomb atomic bomb survivors hibakusha Hiroshima (city) Hiroshima Prefecture Japan trauma World War II

Date: September 3, 2019

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Masako Miki

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Howard Kakita was born in 1938 in East Los Angeles, California. His family took him to Japan in 1940. His parents and younger brother came back to the United States in 1940, to take care of the family business, but Howard and an older brother, Kenny, stayed in Japan.

When the war broke out, his family in the U.S. were incarcerated in Poston, AZ. On August 6, 1945, the Atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima. Howard was 0.8 miles from the hypocenter and survived. He and Kenny came back to the U.S. and reunited with their family in 1948.

Howard pursued a career in computer engineering. After his retirement, he joined American Society Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors (ASA) and has been actively sharing his A-bomb experience. (September 2019)

George Ariyoshi
en
ja
es
pt
George Ariyoshi

Prom during the war

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

en
ja
es
pt
George Ariyoshi
en
ja
es
pt
George Ariyoshi

Influence of veterans

(b.1926) Democratic politician and three-term Governor of Hawai'i

en
ja
es
pt
Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi
en
ja
es
pt
Jean Hayashi Ariyoshi

Day Pearl Harbor was bombed

Former First Lady of Hawai'i

en
ja
es
pt
Kazuo Funai
en
ja
es
pt
Kazuo Funai

Japan vs. the United States (Japanese)

(1900-2005) Issei businessman

en
ja
es
pt
Kazuo Funai
en
ja
es
pt
Kazuo Funai

Company in Tokyo burned down (Japanese)

(1900-2005) Issei businessman

en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi
en
ja
es
pt
James Hirabayashi

Life in camp as teenager

(1926 - 2012) Scholar and professor of anthropology. Leader in the establishment of ethnic studies as an academic discipline

en
ja
es
pt
Robert Katayama
en
ja
es
pt
Robert Katayama

Being ordered to keep a diary that was later confiscated, ostensibly by the FBI

Hawaiian Nisei who served in World War II with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami
en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami

Bombing of Pearl Harbor

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami
en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami

Helping soldiers

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami
en
ja
es
pt
Barbara Kawakami

Brother leaves for war, survival

An expert researcher and scholar on Japanese immigrant clothing.

en
ja
es
pt
Yuri Kochiyama
en
ja
es
pt
Yuri Kochiyama

Didn't have rights that whites had

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

en
ja
es
pt
Yuri Kochiyama
en
ja
es
pt
Yuri Kochiyama

Californians didn't know about evacuation

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

en
ja
es
pt
Yuri Kochiyama
en
ja
es
pt
Yuri Kochiyama

The day Pearl Harbor was bombed

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

en
ja
es
pt
Yuri Kochiyama
en
ja
es
pt
Yuri Kochiyama

Father as prisoner of war in hospital

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

en
ja
es
pt
Yuri Kochiyama
en
ja
es
pt
Yuri Kochiyama

Patriotism versus loyalty

(1922–2014) Political and civil rights activist.

en
ja
es
pt

Discover Nikkei Updates

NIKKEI CHRONICLES #13
Nikkei Names 2: Grace, Graça, Graciela, Megumi?
What’s in a name? Share the story of your name with our community. Submissions now open!
VIRTUAL PROGRAM
Nikkei Uncovered IV: a poetry reading
Join us virtually and enjoy poetry by Matthew Mejia, Christine Kitano, and Mia Ayumi Malholtra.
NEW SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT
We're on Instagram!
Follow us @discovernikkei for new site content, program announcements, and more!