Yoko Ono recounts own hunger during war in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — Yoko Ono says her own bitter experience in Japan during World War II inspired her to support WhyHunger's "Imagine There's No Hunger" campaign to fight childhood hunger around the world.

The 80-year-old widow of John Lennon said Thursday that she believes he would be happy to see his song "Imagine" used by WhyHunger and Hard Rock to raise support for their child nutrition and sustainable farming efforts in 22 countries.

"My husband and I really wanted to do something for the world, especially for the children," Ono told reporters gathered at the Hard Rock Cafe in Tokyo's flashy Roppongi district. "Children have pride, too, so they don't beg you, but they are in pain and they are starving."

Popular Taiwanese rock band MayDay turned out to support the project, playing their own rendition of "Imagine." Ono, who was born into a wealthy family, experienced hunger like many other Japanese who fled Tokyo during wartime bombing raids. Some she knew starved to death or died from eating poisonous mushrooms they collected in the hills.

"I remember being hungry and I know it's so difficult to just be hungry," she said. "One day I didn't bring a lunchbox. The other kids asked, don't you want to eat? I just said, no, I'm not hungry." Ono said she was grateful for what she has learned through her involvement in the "Imagine There's No Hunger" program, which works with local community groups to help grow food to alleviate hunger and promote self-sufficiency.

"I'm going to be 81 in three months," Ono said. " I love learning because it gives me power and wisdom."


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