Last month I had the privilege of facilitating a workshop in Tokyo. Coincidentally this meant that I had a few days free to travel and explore Japan.
Knowing that I would be in Japan on the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima bomb dropping, I had already made a travel plan to visit the city and to spend some time to try and gather more thoughts and impressions of this horrendous event.
On my last day of the workshop I noticed on my desk that a teacher had left 2 paper cranes that she had made.
We had been discussing a student initiated service project started by the International School of Hiroshima called “the 1000 Crane Club“.
Although now 20 years old this simple but beautiful project and this particular piece of origami still has power and relevance.
On returning to my hotel I switched on the tv to capture the days news. I transfixed by a news item that elaborated on how a group of young girls from Hiroshima Jogakuin High School were gathering stories from the few survivors of this horrific event. The students were driven by many motives but it was obvious to them that if they neglected to capture & record these stories then they will be lost – forever. And one of the young students – Momoka Namikawa was interviewing her own great grandmother.
“The girls feel they have a legacy to uphold and a deep responsibility to tell the Hiroshima story, before it is too late.
Their school Jogakuin was only 1.2 kilometres from the epicentre of the explosion, and 300 girls out of 1,000 students were killed.
“We are said to be the last generation who can listen to survivors’ voices,” group leader Anna Yamaguchi said.
“So whenever I hear how hard their lives were and how evil nuclear weapons are I am convinced our campaign is correct.”
The girls upload the interviews to a digital archive.
Users can then click on icons, which appear all over the city of Hiroshima, to read or hear a survivor’s testimony.
Professor Watanabe, the girls’ supervisor, said the digital project was unique because the girls were getting stories no outsider could get.
“Testimonies of well-known survivors have been handed down in books and videos but the atomic bombing of Hiroshima was an incident with diversity,” he said.
“Everyone has a different experience and it’s important to investigate them in terms of history and health.”
The girls are also involved in another campaign that has collected more than 1 million signatures to petition the United Nations to abolish nuclear weapons.
The school girls said they were driven by a belief that the horrors of Hiroshima’s atomic bombing should never happen again.”
Reflect – act – reflect again…. What – so what – now what…….
There’s instructions attached how to make a crane and an invitation to use the ideas in this blog to help “ensure the horrors of Hiroshima’s atomic bombing should never happen again.”