Guest Speakers: “Saved from Cancer” and “Surviving the Atomic Blast in Hiroshima”

Two guest speakers have spoke for this month’s sermon:

  1. “Saved from Cancer” by Carl Nakao
  2. “Surviving the Atomic Blast in Hiroshima” by Yasue Uegawachi

Saved from Cancer

By Carl Nakao

Thank you Pastor Owen for the opportunity to speak today and Taeko for translating.

I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you my thoughts on expressing gratitude. It’s easy to remember during the holidays especially starting with Thanksgiving to be thankful for our many blessings. I am embarrassed to admit though how I sometimes take for granted the most important things in my life.

At the Tenrikyo Hawaii Convention this past year, there was one exercise where we had broken down into smaller groups for discussion. We were asked among other things to list people that have taken care of us and how we thanked them. The exercise reminded me not to take people in my life for granted and to express appreciation for them in not only words but also by my actions by doing things for them.

We are taught that our minds alone are our own, however our bodies are a thing lent and borrowed from God. It will be five years this coming March since being diagnosed with cancer. This is a big milestone, as they say that the chances of a recurrence after five years are almost as if I had never been diagnosed with it in the first place. The milestone is also a BIG reminder for me to be thankful for my health, by expressing gratitude to God the Parent in my thoughts and words through the service and in my actions by doing Hinokishin diligently. Taking the 60th Hawaii Dendocho Anniversary slogan to heart, “Now is the time for mutual help. Hinokishin with a smile. One world one family.”

Today I am truly blessed with good health, a great family and friends.

I’d like to thank everyone – here and not here – especially Karen – for your kindness, thoughts and prayers over these past years.

Surviving the Atomic Blast in Hiroshima

By Yasue Uegawachi

This month on December 7th we commemorated the 70th Anniversary since the attack on Pearl Harbor which ignited the war with Japan. Four years later the war ended when atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima & Nagasaki. As part of our legacy to the younger generation, we have asked Mrs. Yasue Uegawachi to share her experience as an atomic bomb survivor.

Good morning! My name is Yasue Uegawachi. Mrs. Taeko asked me to give a short speech for today’s monthly service. It was a little difficult for me to remember what happen 65 years ago, especially for me, now 81 years old. I was born in El Centro, California. However, when I was 3 years old, my family was repatriated to the country side of Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. We lived on an island called Nishinomi-jima. In April 1942 my parents sent me to Yasuda Girls High School in Hiroshima City and stayed in a dorm. In my third (senior) year, all students were mobilized by the military to work at a factory everyday at a place called Misasa. That is the place I was when the atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945 at 8:15 in the morning. I later learned that it was dropped from a B-29 plane. I was told that grass and plants wouldn’t grow for decades in the area where the bomb was dropped. When the bomb exploded at 8:15, the first thing I saw was a bright yellow light and then I saw a seven colored rainbow light and instantaneously I lost consciousness. When I came to, I was face down on the ground. It was total darkness so I stayed there for a while. Then I heard people talking so I woke up and I realized that the factory had collapsed.

Fortunately, the roof fell slightly away from me avoiding injury. I was going this way and that way in a crowd of people in this burning building. I started to run away from the building, deeper into the mountains. On the way, I rested in the bamboo forest and it started to rain. I then realized that the rain was black. It was black rain. Finally I came to a farm house where I met six other students. I was so horrified and shocked and totally confused. I stayed overnight. All I remembered was that the farm family gave each of us a rice ball with salted plum (musubi and ume) and that it was so delicious.

The next morning we thanked the family and headed toward Yokokawa Train station. However, it was such a long distance that we got very tired. I don’t remember where it was but we found a building which had a handwritten sign saying, “Yasuda Girls High School Office.” So I waited there, lost in thought. I don’t remember how many hours passed, but I saw someone approaching and when I looked carefully and I saw that it was a man. Because he was still far away I couldn’t see well, but he looked like my father. So I ran to him and asked if he was Mr. Goro Kobayashi. He responded, “Oh Yasue, you’re still alive!” and we were so happy to see each other. We left the office and started to walk over a long distance. Hiroshima City was burnt to the ground. I was so horrified and thought what a cruel bomb was dropped. I was so shocked to see this sight. Again my brain went empty and I couldn’t even think. I couldn’t even feel horrified and be fearful even though we were in such a hellish place. My mind wasn’t working. I was in a daze. My father gave me a handkerchief and told me to cover my nose and mouth as we walked. We went back to Nishinomi-jima where my family was waiting for our return.

Encounter with Mrs. Tomiko Nakao

In 1950, I got married to a Maui man, lived in Maui for awhile and moved to Honolulu.

In 1953, I went to Farrington adult night school and met Mrs. Tomiko Nakao. We were both young and we both came from Japan and we talked a lot. Years and decades have passed since then. I am humbled by Mrs. Nakao’s patience and spirit. No matter what hardship she went through, she overcame with her mind, spirit and patience. I was so fortunate to have a good friend and I really appreciate that. Also, all these 57 years, her husband, Rev. Yoshinobu Nakao, I really appreciate his care and compassion.

In 1995, I finally retired from my job, and I decided not to go out at night and when it’s raining to take care of my health. To prevent aging, I took calligraphy class at Moiliili Community School. Also, from 7 years ago, I started to take an abacus class to keep my mind active, through counting and calculating. In regards to my health, I am not doing anything special, but I try to get enough sleep, eat healthy and get some exercise.

I also took a shiatsu and got a massage license about 27 years ago. I do shiatsu on myself to keep in good health.

Three years ago I met Mrs. Taeko by chance, at Kalakaua housing Hale Makua. Through Mrs. Taeko and her husband Rev. Owen’s care and kindness, I am always looking forward to coming to this monthly service. I feel privileged to be able to give this speech. Thank you for listening to my story.


  1. Thank you for bringing your deposit cans and bottles for our fundraising drive. Please continue bringing your deposit cans and bottles and any yard work referrals. Recently funds have been used to purchase parts for a rain barrel harvesting system to utilize and for a recent gas leak repair. Thank you very much.
  2. As announced last month we will be purchasing electricity at a discount from a company who will install their solar panels at no cost to us. After the 12 year contract expires, we will have the option to purchase the panels or have them removed. Installation is scheduled for sometime in January next year.
  3. The mission headquarters 60th Anniversary will be celebrated on May 17, 2014. In preparation, the Hawaii Women’s Association is continuing their piggy bank fund drive to purchase new pew cushions in time for the 60th Anniversary. Please express your gratitude for your daily blessings by making a small daily contribution to the piggy bank.
  4. Please recognize Elmer Nakao, who just completed the Honolulu Marathon.

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