Production pre-history
-How I started supporting promotion of the film-

Pottery Artist

Takako Koike

In 1980, the people’s movement known as “The 10 Feet Movement” got started.
A little before that a Japanese photographer who was visiting the USA happened to
find out about the existence of archive film footage taken right after the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that was kept at the National Archives in Washington, DC. He was terribly shocked and felt the need to let the Japanese people see this footage. He decided to call for donations to get the fragments of film back to Japan.
This campaign was called “The 10 Feet Movement” because it called for everyone to buy back 10 feet of footage by donating 3,000 yen (approx. USD 20 at the exchange rate of that time).

The entire world was very scared of the risk of Nuclear War between the USA and the Soviet Union. Therefore, the grass roots movement achieved remarkable success. It finally not only bought back all the footage, but also made three documentary films out of it; “Lost Generation”, “Prophecy” and “History”.

It was then in 1983 that I saw the film, “Lost Generation” at my son’s elementary school, by chance. I was deeply shocked.

Speaking for myself I had lived in Nagasaki for 7 years since 1949 because of my
father‘s work. As a young girl, I remember my heart ached from seeing the ruins caused by the atomic bombing and hearing the stories of the victims. But the film “Lost Generation” showed a reality which turned out to be far more terrible than my imagination. I had also lived in Rome, Italy from 1964 to 1966 because of my father’s job and lived in the USA from 1968 to 1971, after marriage, for my husband’s work.

Naturally during those days there were some occasions to talk about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Through conversations, I learned that most westerners shared the idea that the atomic bombs had ended the war and saved a lot of lives. I realized that they did not know about the real destructive power of the atomic bombs and had not been taught about the real destructive power of the A-bombs. Since then I always felt I must try to find a way to make known the reality of the destruction caused by the ruthless and merciless A-bombs.

One early morning in 1983 my eyes were glued to an article in the Asahi Newspaper. The article was about a call to send the film “Lost Generation” abroad! I immediately called the initiator, Keiko Tsuji. It was such a marvelous call, I forgot about breakfast.

Here I would like to write about an important woman who was actually the catalyst in promoting the film. Her name is Yoko Kitaura, and at present she is a high school teacher in Osaka prefecture in Japan. Right after completion of the film “Lost Generation”, she went to the USA. She wrote letters to schools and churches, offering to show the film to introduce Japanese culture and talk about peace among equal human beings. She was persistent, and fortunately many schools and churches etc. invited her. At that time (1984) the cost of one film was about $400. Since she used it many times, the film became worn out. She then asked Keiko to raise funds in Japan to buy a new film. She particularly wanted a copy made for Spanish speaking audiences as she was about to go to Latin America.

It was very natural that I called Keiko. 12 women joined in this group. Four of them had already worked as volunteers for the “10 Feet Movement”. Their knowledge helped us to proceed with our work. We named our group “CAN”- Cry Against Nuclear Weapons.

Keiko was a Hiroshima Hibakusha (atomic –bomb survivor) herself. She had been the only survivor in her class as she didn’t go to school on that day because of a cold. She would often say, “I was given life, so I must do whatever I can do for peace.” She had been also volunteering for the “10 Feet Movement”. Thanks to her efforts of sending articles to newspapers, we started to receive donations from all over Japan, from Hokkaido to Okinawa. To our big surprise we received about $80,000 from about 7000 people.

While we continued sending films, Keiko was struck down by cancer. When her
condition became serious, we decided to stop collecting donations in order to concentrate on making a record to tell Keiko how we used the donations. There are many volunteer groups in the world but few of them reported how they used donations. We wanted to finish our work properly.

The result of our work was as follows: We received more than $ 80,000. With these funds, 200 films were sent to 38 countries. I still have all the accounting reports in Japanese and in English. At the time we finished the report, Yoko had finally come back from the USA after two years and 8months of touring US and three Latin American countries.
Here again I explain a very important matter connected with the film making. There was an American couple who helped Yoko very much in the USA: Professor and Mrs. Lathrop at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Having been impressed and moved by Yoko’s work, they hosted Yoko at their house for a year and a half. Together with Yoko, they came back to Japan for the first time in 1985. Having corresponded with Mr. Lathrop many times, I was very happy to meet them in Tokyo. They were very friendly and nice people. While in the hospital, Keiko was very pleased to see the report of our work, and also to meet Yoko. Mr. & Mrs. Lathrop could not meet her and went to her grave site later. I still remember Keiko’s gentle and graceful personality.

Yoko had come back to Japan, thinking her work in the USA was done. But Mr. & Mrs. Lathrop insisted on finding a way to continue the efforts Yoko had begun. Yoko is a woman of extraordinary character and vitality; we thought it would be almost impossible to find people like her. But the Lathrops were optimistic, and finally they persuaded us to open up recruitment of volunteers in Japan. Yoko was in charge of the project and prepared the applications procedures.

We named it NAC (Never Again Campaign), and recruitment began. The application document requirement was high, including 3 pages on applicant’s motivation and a minimum 5-page report on the result of radiation exposure. Still 97 people applied, and interviews were arranged for at 10 locations throughout Japan. The Lathrops visited Japan for the second time for the interviews and 8 young people were chosen from them.

Among the eight was Satomi Nakamura, producer of the film “ Aogiri”. Yoko sent all her energy to pass on her know-hows for giving presentations in the USA. They also received intensive training by reading books on the bombings and also listening firsthand to atomic bomb survivors (especially those who were in the film “Lost Generation”.

It was through this training that Satomi met Suzuko Numata, a survivor who became
the main character of the film “ Aogiri”. Later Satomi traveled to Alaska and showed “Lost Generation” at various places. She spent a year cultivating mutual understanding between the USA and Japan.

A Hiroshima local TV station made a documentary film about Satomi’s journey in Alaska, and it was broadcasted in Japan. It depicted not only the ordeal of loneliness but some difficulties of communicating the hibakusha’s message. I remember being very much impressed by her efforts.

After coming back from the USA, Satomi continued to stick to her belief. After working for some time as an editor for a magazine, Hiragana Times, to promote understanding about Japan among Japanese- speaking expats in Japan, she started to write and sing songs and give concerts titled “ Peace Live”. A guitarist who thought he would only play the guitar for Satomi, ended up becoming music producer of this film.

Satomi often visited Hiroshima and deepened her friendship with Suzuko Numata even after she returned from the US. To our deep regret Suzuko passed away right after the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, asking Satomi to pass on her experience of Hiroshima to the next generation and to the world. At the death of Suzuko, a woman so dear to her, Satomi made up her mind to create a film about Suzuko’s life, which came as a huge surprise to her friends, including us, as we knew she had no experience whatever with producing a film.

I am awed at the entangled chain of fate that one seed Yoko Kitaura sowed 35 years ago has grown to have blossomed like this. I do hope that the film “ Aogiri” will go overseas just like Ms. Tsuji’s desire to send “ Lost Generation” abroad came true. This is why I have been supporting promotion of the film.

By the way, Never Again Campaign continued its activity until 2012, having sent 57 people as grass-root peace ambassadors to 38 states+ Washington, DC and 11 other countries including Japan, Canada and USSR, having given almost 12,000 presentations about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to over 370,000 people. During those years Mr. & Mrs. Lathrop continued to visit Japan for interviews of new volunteers.
Now that Yoko’s work as a high school teacher has become busier and other various problems occurred, NAC has ended its activities after having provided the 10th and last ambassadors in 2012.

Mr. & Mrs. Lathrop were delighted to see the production of the film “Aogiri” completed and believe it is a significant vehicle for conveying deeper understanding about the horror of the use of nuclear weapons.


Takako Koike
September 19th 2015
*Thanks to Mr. & Mrs.’ support, the movie“Aogiri” is going to be shown in the upper New York State and Boston in June 2016.




















その話を聞いた私は、それこそ私がしたかった事でしたので、辻さんにすぐ電話したのは当然の成り行きでした。そして、12人の主婦が集まりました。辻さんをはじめその中の4人の主婦は、10フィート運動でボランティアをなさっていた方たちで、何も知らない私たちとは違い、これから募金を募る方法など、てきぱきと相談が進み、後にCAN(Cry Against Nuclear weapons)と名付けたささやかなグループが発足しました。









私は英語担当でしたので、レイスロップさんとは何度も文通していましたが、初めて東京でお会いした時の事は鮮明に覚えています。とても陽気で気さくな方なのでびっくりしました。病床の辻圭子さんは、北浦さんに会い、私たちの報告書を見て大変喜んでいらっしゃいました。ただレイスロップご夫妻には会えず、後にレイスロップご夫妻は 辻さんのお墓参りをなさったのでした。今でも辻さんの品の良いお声とお人柄を思い出します。


北浦葉子さんは アメリカでの仕事はやり終えたと思って帰国しました。でも、レイスロップご夫妻は、北浦さんが始めたその活動をぜひ続けて行きたいと力説なさるのです。北浦葉子さんは本当に日本人離れ(?)した積極的な方で、すごい行動力のある方でしたが、私たちにはそんな人が日本にたくさんいるとは思えなかったのです。でも、レイスロップご夫妻はとても楽観的で、ついに私達も説得され、日本でボランティアを募集してみようと言う事になり、北浦葉子さんが事務局となり、準備に取り掛かることになりました。


私たちは、その運動をNAC(Never Again Campaign)と名付け、第一期生の募集が始まりました。応募規定が難しかったにも関わらず(応募の動機3枚、被爆の実情5枚以上のレポート) 97名の勇士たちが応募し、面接は全国10ヵ所で行われました。レイスロップさん達は面接のため、二度目の来日となり、8人の若者が第一期生としてその時選ばれたのです。












ちなみにNACの運動は、2012年まで続けており、今までに57名のナNAC平和大使を38州+ ワシントDC と日本、カナダ、ソ連を含む11ヶ国に送り、約12000回の上映会や講演を行い、370,000人の人にフィルムを見せています。その間、レイスロップさん達は面接のため、何回も来日されているわけです。ただ、北浦さんのお仕事が多忙を極めるようになった事と世界情勢がだいぶ変わってきたことで、NACの活動も10期生で終わる事になりました。



2015年9月 小池崇子


北浦葉子さんの著書 「チャンスの前髪をつかめ」

p.s. レイスロップご夫妻の御尽力で 今年(2016年)6月に ニューヨーク北部の町やボストンで「アオギリにたくして」の映画を上映出来ることになりました。