George Takei lost family members in the August 6, 1945 atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima.
In a new episode of Takei’s online series Takei’s Take, the actor returns to the city to “explore the effects” of the attack on the city.
Takei’s maternal grandparents came from Hiroshima, according to the actor. “My maternal grandparents emigrated from Hiroshima to the Sacramento Delta in California,” he said. “My grandfather sensed the winds of war coming and moved back to Japan and Hiroshima with some of their children, so that’s the irony of my aunts and uncles being American-born, but having gone back there before the war began.”
Takei’s aunt and a young cousin died in that 1945 event, which took place while the eight-year old Takei were living in a Japanese-American internment camp in California. Takei found out more about the loss of his cousin While filming in Hiroshima during a recent trip to the city. “I’ve gone to Hiroshima many times,” he said, “but this time was very special. [A ] cousin [of mine] had moved and I didn’t have his address, but the film crew managed to locate him and we were able to have a nice meeting. He joined in with us in the filming. While filming there, I learned that another cousin who died in the bombing was five years old. Until that point, I had believed that the cousin had been a baby.”
Using the atomic bomb for a destructive purpose was “self-defeating,” said Takei. “Now we’ve gotten to the point where it’s mutually suicidal. Our adversary nations have the same kind of capacity. We have advanced with the power of our mind, our inventive genius, but that killer instinct is still with us. Unless we can develop our capacity for true diplomacy and solve problems diplomatically, we are ultimately going to exterminate ourselves.”