Yamaguchi Tartan

“The only people who should be allowed to govern countries with nuclear weapons are mothers, those who are still breast-feeding their babies” ~ Tsutomu Yamaguchi, survivor of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

“In 1945, the United States—at the time the world’s only nuclear power—dropped two nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. In the more than 75 years that followed, the United States and Soviet Union (USSR) engaged in a decades- long arms race, building tens of thousands of nuclear weapons and bringing the world to the brink of nuclear catastrophe thanks to multiple crises and repeated close calls due to human or computer error. Seven more states also developed nuclear weapons, but WWII remains the last time any state exploded a nuclear weapon in a conflict. This is even more notable since both the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia deployed shorter-range, lower-yield, tactical nuclear weapons and developed extensive plans—some of which still exist today—for their use in scenarios where they believed that they would be at a disadvantage in a conventional military conflict.One explanation for this restraint is that countries developed a taboo against the use of nuclear weapons, coming to understand them as so horrific as to be essentially unusable except in the most extreme cases of last resort. But recent events—most notably Putin’s attempt to use nuclear threats to hold the world hostage as he wages war on Ukraine—are calling into question the future of this taboo. After all, a taboo can always be broken. In the end the best way to ensure that the world is safe from nuclear weapons is to eliminate them completely.” ~ Union of Concerned Scientists

The long struggle to stop the world’s deadliest weapons from spreading is getting harder and harder. As The Economist points out, whereas in the past 20 years most countries with nuclear ambitions have been geopolitical minnows, in the next decade the threat is likely to include heavyweights whose ambitions will be harder to restrain. China has developed 400 nuclear warheads and is on course to expand its arsenal to 1,500 weapons by 2035 as its continues a dramatic expansion of its nuclear forces, according to a Pentagon report.

A message of hope, our Yamaguchi tartan is our tiny contribution to the seemingly unsurmountable struggle to stop these deadly weapons from spreading. 

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The Yamaguchi Tsutomu tartan transforms the nuclear hazard sign into a radiant symbol of hope for a nuclear- free future. Its inspiration was the peace memorial ceremonies held every August in Japan and around the world, when lanterns bearing messages of peace are floated to commemorate those who perished in the atom bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that killed 150,000 people. This tartan is named in honour of the late Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the only officially recognised survivor of both atom bomb attacks and an outspoken critic of nuclear weapons. “My life is a dewdrop,” goes one of his poems. “Living for fifty years after the atomic bombings; I am still wishing for a nuclear-free world.” Permission to adopt the Yamaguchi name was graciously granted by his daughter, Toshiko Yamasaki, with assistance from Hidetaka Inazuka, producer of the documentary film “Twice Bombed: A Legacy of Yamaguchi Tsutomu“.

Annual Peace Ceremony, Hiroshima – inspiration for the Yamaguchi tartan