Message to Hiroshima Summit: KOM_I, artist, says meeting deliberations must focus on protecting future lives

by Michiko Tanaka, Senior Staff Writer

KOM_I, 30, an artist who is both a musician and actor, is a third-generation A-bomb survivor. Her grandfather experienced the atomic bombing in Hiroshima. She said that two topics should be prioritized for the deliberations at the upcoming summit meeting of the G7 (Group of Seven industrialized nations) in Hiroshima—first, how to bring closer the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons, and how to overcome climate change. She believes both are “serious issues that will affect the lives of people in the future.”


Since little, I have known that my grandfather experienced the atomic bombing when entering the city area of Hiroshima after the bombing. I did not understand exactly how significant that fact was, however. As he is now over 90, it has become difficult for him to communicate that story in detail. When I was a third-year student in junior high school, I started to think seriously about such nuclear issues as nuclear weapons and nuclear power after becoming interested in the landmine issue and regularly visiting the offices of the non-governmental organization Peace Boat, located in Tokyo.

In the summer of her second-year of high school, she traveled by boat with A-bomb survivors and visited other nations in Asia and Africa over a period of one month.

Aboard the ship, I spent time with A-bomb survivors, and they sometimes would give me advice about romance and that sort of thing. Tears would fill my eyes when I thought about how those elderly men and women, who became friends of mine, had experienced the devastation of the atomic bombing. With the shared desire that no one else should ever again experience the same trauma and that they should be the last A-bomb survivors, they have continued to convey their difficult stories. I want to avoid their hopes going to waste.

Nuclear weapons are evil. Some justify them as necessary for self-defense, but possession of the weapons means they are in place for attacks on certain people in certain countries. The weapons have become a threat to other nations, a situation that leads to their further proliferation.

I hope the leaders attending the Hiroshima Summit have dialogue with A-bomb survivors for even 15 minutes, and take time to look at the exhibits in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. My first visit to the museum was so horrifying, I felt nauseated. I realized that humans were cruel enough to do such a horrific thing. I do not want the G7 leaders to visit Hiroshima without coming into contact with the reality of the atomic bombing.

When she was a university student, her mother died of cancer at the age of 50.

I don’t know how much the atomic bombing affected her illness and death, but that situation made me more aware of the fact that I am a third-generation A-bomb survivor. Radiation is invisible. Radiation damage that someone has suffered could affect offspring across generations beyond that person’s life. I think nuclear power is a technology that humans should abandon, as its costs and risks are both high.

She has consistently communicated her message about environmental issues.

Humans are prone to have an optimistic view of things. The alarm has been sounded on environmental issues for quite some time. Nevertheless, I frankly was not aware of the problem to a great degree until several years ago. I now feel as if our homes are burning from all around. We might be committing the murder of future generations by involving them in this situation. Before a war breaks out as a result of food crises driven by an increase in climate refugees, I desperately hope this topic is also discussed at the summit.

In addition, I do not want to forget the fact that we stand on the shoulders of activists who quickly became aware of such issues as the climate crisis and raised the alarm. We want to be flexibly imaginative in going on to create the future.

Born in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, in 1992, KOM_I originally debuted as a vocalist for the music group Wednesday Campanella in 2012. After leaving the group in 2021, she embarked on a career as a solo artist.

(Originally published on February 7, 2023)