Koichiro Kuraoka, 14, admits he spends more time thinking about sports than the atomic bomb. Most afternoons, he trains for two to three hours in track. (The 400- and 800-meter events are his specialties.) When he finishes school, he wants to become a "company man." Any firm will do, he says, "as long as it has a sports program."
Kuraoka's parents were among a wave of migrants in the 1950s who helped raise Hiroshima's population from the postbomb level of around 200,000 to just over 1 million today. He was born here in 1970 and has no plans to leave.
His family lost no one to the bomb. But still, he says, it has colored his life. "From the first grade," he says, "we start learning about peace." He has attended memorial services on Aug. 6 and once looked for atomic roof tiles in the city's riverbeds, a common class project here. At home, he is reminded again, by bomb survivors who are his mother's clients in her sewing business.
There are people in his school, he says, who act blase about the whole thing. But Kuraoka says he knows they are hiding their true feelings. "At the bottom of their hearts, they know that if you live in Hiroshima, you must care about the bomb."