Memorial gathering for founder of Mushroom Club held in Hiroshima

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

A memorial gathering for Kunizo Hatanaka, who was the first president of the Mushroom Club and passed away last November at the age of 92, was held at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum on March 22, 2009. The Mushroom Club is an organization composed of microcephalic patients and their families.

Mr. Hatanaka had provided steady support for his second daughter, Yuriko, 63, who suffers from microcephaly, while devoting himself to the effort of persuading the government to acknowledge the relationship between microcephaly and the atomic bombing. Forty people present at the gathering offered a silent prayer to Mr. Hatanaka, whose image was shown on a TV screen.

Parents of microcephalic patients are aging and many have already passed away. Toshihiko Akinobu, 74, secretary general of the Mushroom Club, spoke to those in attendance, urging them to “step in for the parents by keeping a close eye on the patients, our adopted brothers and sisters.”

At the gathering, Yoshio Nagaoka, 59, was selected to assume the role of president of the Mushroom Club. The post had been unfilled since 2003. Mr. Nagaoka is the second son of Chizuno Nagaoka, who served as the second president of the organization.

(Originally published on March 23, 2009)

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