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Reviewed by Lois Henderson for Readers' Favorite
Passport to Hiroshima: The Unthinkable, Inspiring Journey of a Japanese-American Family (Based on a True Story), co-authored by Toshiharu and Rita Kano, memorializes the story of a family of Japanese descent who, seemingly miraculously, survived the dropping of the atomic bomb, ironically enough nicknamed “Little Boy,” on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. This was despite them living less than 800 yards from the hypocenter, right within the area of total destruction. A great deal of the memoir describes the different characters in the Nekomoto family prior to the nightmarish situation devised to force the Japanese to surrender, following on an introductory chapter describing how Rita and Toshihuru first meet via their dating profiles on FlexMatch. Although Toshihuru had been working on his family’s memoirs for decades before then, Rita played a pivotal role in getting the manuscript off the ground, and we can only be grateful that she did.
Toshiharu and Rita Kano’s Passport to Hiroshima, which is part narrative, part (retrospective, third-person) diary, part black-and-white photo album, uses both the first- and third-person voice to convey the uplifting tale of a Japanese-American family that could so easily have been wiped out in the devastation caused by the US dropping of the first A-bomb on Hiroshima. What I found fascinating was the meeting between Toshiharu Kano and General Paul Tibbets (then Colonel), pilot of the Enola Gay, the U.S. military Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber that released its deadly load on the city. The Kanos’ use of extensive dialogue and vivid descriptions of the surroundings in which members of the family lived for generations prior to the war, both in the States and in Japan, are particularly interesting. The contrast between the conformist traditionalists in the family (such as the grandmother) and the rebellious younger males should prove intriguing to many.