Hiroshima Bombing Survivor Speaks at Penn State

Story posted November 18, 2019 in CommRadio, News by Gillian Silbiger

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Hiroshima bombing survivor Shigeko Sasamori spoke last Friday in the Forum Building. The Japanese Program and the Department of Asian Studies at Penn State sponsored the speech.

Sasamori spoke about her experience in Japan when the bomb was dropped in Hiroshima.

Sasamori was 13 years old when the atomic bomb hit Hiroshima. She explained that she was in class the day of the bombing when the government ordered students to come to the city to help clear the roads for people to escape.

Sasamori recalls seeing a plane overhead and watching something white fall from the sky. That was the last thing she recalled before the bomb knocked her unconscious onto the ground.

Sasamori woke up but couldn’t hear or feel anything. She began to follow others who were walking towards a nearby river.

She described what those around her looked like.

“The blood and burning skin,” Sasamori said. “Skin coming off, tissues of just pink.”

Once Sasamori made it to the water, she saw heads and bodies floating downstream. Sasamori eventually went into an elementary school where she stayed for five days until her parents found her.

Her face, chest, neck and hands had been severely burned. Later in life, Sasamori was chosen to come to America to have reconstructive surgery.

Sasamori returned to Japan after her surgeries but would later come back to America to work as a nurse.

Emily Rosen, a freshman at Penn State, came to hear Sasamori speak. Rosen was very moved by her story.

“I just couldn’t even imagine how severe the conditions must have been,” Rosen said. “Just to live that way, it’s insane.”

Sasamori has dedicated her life to sharing her story and promoting worldwide peace.


Gillian Silbiger is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email gbs5194@psu.edu.