WWII memory: Lives lost, saved under Tokyo bridge in bombing

AP News
Posted: Mar 09, 2015 3:16 AM
WWII memory: Lives lost, saved under Tokyo bridge in bombing

TOKYO (AP) — A snapshot of World War II, from a woman who survived the March 10, 1945, firebombing of Tokyo:


HOMETOWN: Tokyo's downtown Asakusa area.

WWII EXPERIENCE: The city government worker and daughter of traditional entertainers ran with her parents and sister toward the Sumida River, crowding with many others under the Kototoi Bridge. Kiyo-oka managed to avoid being pushed into the deep water, and her mother also survived at the water's edge. But her sister swam for a wooden post that caught fire; she died with her father, who had tried to save her. Hundreds of people drowned, suffocated or were burned to death as the water's surface, slick with napalm, caught fire.

LIFE AFTER WAR: Kiyo-oka and her family moved to the countryside for a while but returned after the war. She soon went back to work for the government, and kept up her career while raising two daughters. Widowed nearly 30 years ago, at 91 she keeps active lobbying for more recognition for firebombing survivors.

WHY SHE SPEAKS OUT: "We civilians had no weapons and no strength to fight. We were attacked and got no compensation. I am very dissatisfied with how the government handled this."