Kathy Sloane
Director, Photographer, Co-producer

How do survivors of unimaginable suffering become whole again? Listening to the soul searing testimonies of returning Iraqi war veterans and Congolese women who have been raped during war; reading of the shameless number of Vietnam veterans who are homeless and mentally ill and Hurricane victims who are rightfully angry but homeless nonetheless; seeing newscasts of Darfurian refugees or the grieving families of inner city murdered children, always raises that question for me.

Witness to Hiroshima begins with the frequently overlooked story of war’s ravages and the civilian consequences. The film uses a combination of still photographs, paintings, and narration to capture the significant story of Keiji Tsuchiya, a Japanese soldier, and his response to overwhelming misery immediately after the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Mr.Tsuchiya’s testimony and paintings reveal awful realities: burying the dead in the devastated city, trying to locate the shards of one’s family, and witnessing unfathomable human pain.

Remembering such tragedies and keeping alive the lessons they teach us is vital. Working to prevent them from reoccurring is essential. But the true mark of honoring the victims of genocides and holocausts is to live a life of present day activism. The focus for me in Witness to Hiroshima is on how Mr.Tsuchiya chooses to reclaim life after such tragedy and commit himself to bettering the world. Restoring the habitat of the Japanese horseshoe crab becomes his passion and through this he heals even as he

remembers. His trajectory evokes what countless survivors have endured and continue to bear as they attempt to form meaningful lives in the days and years following war and other horrors.

My meeting with Mr. Tsuchiya was serendipitous; making this film was inspired by the story of this compassionate man who makes himself whole by restoring health to another species and thus reveals ways for others of us to become whole and recover our interconnections as well.