Toshiharu Kano, 71, was born seven months after the United States dropped the bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Pregnant with Kano and living less than 1 kilometer or about half a mile from the center of the blast, his mother Shizzue Neomoto miraculously survived. She took her two children to a nearby military base. His brother, just 18 months old, died within 60 days of the bombing.
As a survivor, Kano endured a variety of physical challenges. His immune system was impaired and got mumps seven times. Labeled by society as defective, Kano and his family were spurned. By age ten, he felt so rejected that he seriously contemplated suicide. He was repeatedly told he was damaged goods.
Ultimately, Kano and his family immigrated to the United States. Here in the U.S., Kano thrived. He says he’s missed only 10 days of work or school in the past 47 years. He attended the University of Utah and earned a BS in mechanical engineering.
Kano married and had one son. His son was born healthy and at 6′ 1″, towers over his father. He recalls seeing an x-ray of his son just hours before he was delivered by cesarian section. He counted all of the fingers and toes and relaxed when he realized that they were all there.
Kano’s sister, never fully recovering from the jeers of her youth, chose never to marry or have children.
Kano notes that the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was a mere “toy” compared with modern nuclear weapons. Still, the “Little Boy” bomb dropped on Hiroshima killed about 100,000 people. The bomb packed the punch of 15 kilotons of TNT.
By comparison, the largest bomb ever detonated was built by the USSR and had the equivalent of 50,000 kilotons or 50 megatons of TNT, about 3,000 times more powerful than Little Boy.
In his book, Passport to Hiroshima, Kano says, “I have a message from God to tell all of the world leaders that we cannot use the nuclear weapons to settle their differences ever again.”
He told me, the message is simple. “No more Hiroshima. No more Nagasaki.”
Toshiharu Kano was not yet born when the blast occurred high above Hiroshima. His sister, brother and mother (who was pregnant, still to give birth to him) were in town and within one half mile from the Hypocenter of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. As stated in his book, Passport to Hiroshima, “(they) miraculously survived the concussion force of the nuclear winds and the ensuing firestorm.” Toshiharu was born seven months later in March, 1946 at just over 3 lbs. Having survived the early immune deficiencies in childhood, he came to America, graduated from the University of Utah and made a successful career as a Civil Engineer. Tosh retired in 1999, but continues to work as a Civil Engineering Consultant to Holladay City, Taylorsville City and Cottonwood Heights City.
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Devin is a journalist, author and corporate social responsibility speaker who calls himself a champion of social good. With a goal to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems by 2045, he focuses on telling the stories of those who are leading the way! Learn more at DevinThorpe.com!