Stories of Hope-Hiroshima Maidens
The Hiroshima Maidens tells the story of how the atomic bomb, which the United States dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, affected 25 women who traveled to the United States for reconstructive surgery and job training.
On August 6th, 1945 at 8:15 a.m. twenty-five women’s lives changed forever. This was the moment the United States dropped the atomic bomb, destroying Hiroshima City, killing thousands and leaving these young women with burned bodies and damaged self-worth. The Hiroshima Maidens were a few of the many hibakusha, meaning “explosion-affected people”, in Japan after the atomic bomb hit. The ladies became plagued with unsightly keloid (burn) scars. Some of them were unable to move their arms and fingers due to their burns. The young ladies, like other atomic burn victims, were called "monsters," and men were afraid to marry them for fear of genetic birth defects.
Hope was reborn for these women in May, 1955. The Reverend Tanimoto in Japan and American Journalist Norman Cousins organized a trip to America for the twenty-five Maidens. While in America, the Maidens received reconstructive surgery and were hosted by Quaker and Jewish families. The ladies underwent a total of 138 surgeries in New York.
The Maidens also acquired job skills by attending classes and received employment opportunities, which helped them to regain a sense of self-worth. However, there were several Maidens that refused any classes or aid. They were independent and did not want to feel like they were receiving charity from anyone. The Maidens' experiences helped them resolve their anger toward Americans. Also, many of the ladies regained hope that they too would have happy marriages and children like their American host families.
American Journalist Norman Cousins and Reverend Tanimoto organized a trip to American for the Hiroshima Maidens.
Individual Hiroshima Maidens:
Yoshie Harada (Yanagibashi)