A Japanese exchange student has come forward to share a completely different view on the “mushroom cloud” logo her American school is mighty proud of.
Nonoka Koga, who returned home on Tuesday, studied at Richland High School in Washington for a year.
To her surprise early on, the school’s logo depicts the colossal, visual effect of an atomic bomb explosion — a chilling picture known as the “mushroom cloud.”
“It’s unthinkable in Japan,” Koga told NHK in a recent interview. “I was really shocked to see it being used as a school logo.”
Later on, Koga learned that the plutonium content of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 was actually produced in Richland.
It then made sense that her school, as well as many establishments in the city, have been using related references, with “Proud of the Cloud!” a common chant.
Upon the encouragement of her teacher and host family, Koga shared her thoughts on the matter in a school video released on May 30.
“In my country, every year, we have a Peace Day, when young students learn about and reflect on the devastation caused by the bombs,” she said in the video. “In Nagasaki, 80,000 civilians — many children and women — were unjustly killed.”
According to Koga, her home city in Fukuoka Prefecture — presumably Kokura — was the original target of the second atomic bomb, but cloudy weather prompted America to drop the weapon on neighboring Nagasaki instead.
“Should we have pride in killing innocent people?” she asked. “I’m not trying to change your mascot, but just help you consider a perspective that’s more personal.”
Koga reportedly heard complaints after the video’s release, but many — including students, teachers and people in Richland — expressed support.
“We’re just so proud she would stand up and be bold enough to say something that people disagree with,” said Sarah Landon of her host family, according to the Associated Press.
Many people might not know this, but NextShark is a small media startup that runs on no outside funding or loans, and with no paywalls or subscription fees, we rely on help from our community and readers like you.
Everything you see today is built by Asians, for Asians to help amplify our voices globally and support each other. However, we still face many difficulties in our industry because of our commitment to accessible and informational Asian news coverage.
We hope you consider making a contribution to NextShark so we can continue to provide you quality journalism that informs, educates, and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for supporting NextShark and our community.