Michiko Yamaoka:  "Never Believe We Are Powerless"

Michiko Yamaoka was 15 years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.  Half a mile from the center of the explosion, she was buried under wreckage, rendered unrecognizable by her extensive burns, and continues to cope with the life-long effects of radiation, including cancer.  In 1955, Yamaoka-san (Ms. Yamaoka) was one of 25 young women who were invited to New York by an American organization, Friends, in order to undergo plastic surgery.  In New York, she stayed with different volunteer host families for one and a half years, during which time she underwent 27 operations.  After remaining silent about her experiences for two decades, she has made it her personal mission to speak to visitors, and especially students, at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and wherever else the opportunity arises.





Never believe that we are powerless.  Peace will come through the accumulation of individual efforts. My heart’s deepest desire is the abolition of nuclear weapons and genuine peace on Earth.

                         – Michiko Yamaoka