Local 12-year-old records history

Cole Kawana presents his great uncle’s oral history DVD to the director of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Kawana researched and taught how to make oral histories as part of a service learning project.

Twelve-year-old Malibu resident Cole Kawana recently completed a year-long service learning project in which he recorded the oral history of his great uncle being accepted into the library at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum in Hiroshima, Japan.

After recording his great uncle’s oral history, Kawana made a DVD about his process of doing so, which he plans to give to his fellow students at Seven Arrows Elementary School, located in Pacific Palisades.

Although born in California, Kawana’s uncle, Arthur Ichiro Murakami, moved to Japan in 1940 at the age of 11, only to have World War II break out months later. He was stranded in Japan while his immediate family was incarcerated in the U.S. relocation camps.

On the morning of Aug. 6, 1945, Murakami was living in Hiroshima. That day, his classmates went into the center of the city to work without him, as he had injured himself earlier. Instead, he was sent to work in the Army warehouse two miles from where the first atomic bomb was dropped. Murakami was the only one of his classmates to survive the nuclear blast.