My Red Cross story - Tadateru Konoé

Published: 6 May 2014 15:22 CET

As a small child I was evacuated to the countryside. This was during the Second World War when the atomic bomb would soon be dropped on Hiroshima. I sometimes wonder: how many of my friends and neighbours did the Red Cross help in those times? I am sure it is countless.

My own personal journey began with the Red Cross a few years later. I traveled in Europe after university, and one day found myself in Geneva with no place to stay. I took a chance and knocked on the Japanese ambassador's door asking if I could stay the night. He said "yes", but only if I would take part in the World Red Cross Red Crescent Day parade the next day. He needed someone who could wear the large size kimono he had. Being six feet tall, I was the only person that the kimono would fit!

The parade was extraordinary; the solidarity and spirit of togetherness to serve all of humanity regardless of race, creed or colour was inspiring. I went home and volunteered for the Japanese Red Cross. More than 50 years later, I am humbled to serve the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.