Sadako and the Atomic Bombing

3 Sadako enters elementary school.

Though an atomic bombing survivor, Sadako was a healthy, energetic child who never missed a day of elementary school due to illness. She was a gentle caretaker of her younger sister and brother. She loved singing and sports—in fact, Sadako could outrun anyone in her class.

The Return of Peace

The war ended. Gradually, buildings were erected and people returned to the city where the rumor had spread that "nothing will grow for 75 years." The Sasaki family reopened their barbershop in the heart of Hiroshima.

Sadako when she entered Nobori-cho Elementary School April 1949  Courtesy of Shigeo and Masahiro Sasaki

Soon, her younger sister Mitsue was born. The year after Sadako started in Nobori-cho Elementary School, her younger brother Eiji was born. The Sasaki family now had six members. With the parents busy running the barbershop, keeping the house clean and taking care of the little ones fell to Sadako and Masahiro. It was common for children to help with housework in those days. Everyone in the family pitched in to do what needed to be done.

Children's Hairstyles of Sadako's Time
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Working together, Sadako's class wins the relay!

Sadako was an exceptional athlete in any class.

The Bamboo class relay team
Sadako is in the middle of the front line.
October 1954
Courtesy of Shigeo and Masahiro Sasaki
Photo by Tsuyoshi Nomura

During the class relay on the spring Field Day, because Sadako's Bamboo class fumbled the baton pass, the Bamboos came in last place for the entire 6th grade. The Bamboos decided to practice relay racing every day after school. The fleet-footed Sadako shone at these practices. Even the fastest boys could not keep up with her.

Thanks to those practices, when the fall Field Day came, the Bamboos easily outran every other class and claimed the victory.