Education: Assignment: Hiroshima

Not long after Iranian-born Fazl Fotouhi, 46, took over as director of the American Cultural Center in Hiroshima, Japan (pop. 360,000), the sort of incident he had dreaded took place. One day his seven-year-old daughter delivered a gift of some stationery to an elementary school. A group of boys suddenly surrounded her. Screaming "American, your nose is too high. Baka! [stupid idiot]. You dropped the atomic bomb on us," they threatened to beat her with sticks. Though the boys never carried out this 1954 threat, the incident was proof enough that Fazl Fotouhi had a most delicate educational task ahead.

Eventually, the...

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