Tag Archives: 広島

1945/08/06.08:16

6 Aug

Today (2013 August 6th) is the sixty-eighth anniversary of the atomic bombing of 広島 (Hiroshima, Japan).

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This is a photo of 「原爆ドーム」.

The name literally means “Atomic Bomb Dome” but it’s usually called “Hiroshima Peace Memorial” in English.

Today in Japan at 8:16AM, there will be a moment of silence.

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Pictures of Hiroshima in autumn

20 Nov

Last Wednesday to Friday, my second daughter took a three-day field trip with her high school class to 広島 (Hiroshima).

Hiroshima is on the other side of the country from 東京 (Tokyo). I imagined that they’d go there by 新幹線 (bullet train)…but they took an airplane flight.

Here are some of the photos she took. (She took many more photos, but I’m not including any of the pictures that have her or her classmates in them.)

This is a famous landmark and symbol of Hiroshima. Before 1945 August 6th, it was an industrial exhibit hall.
The atomic bomb dropped in WW2 detonated directly above it, killing everyone who was inside…but the building was still standing.
It remains exactly how it was after the bombing but the name was changed to 「原爆ドーム」 (“Atomic Bomb Dome”). It’s now a peace memorial and a World Heritage Site.

「原爆ドーム」 ("Atomic Bomb Dome")

This (below) is a statue of Sadako Sasaki who died of leukemia when she was twelve caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (her hometown).  While she was in the hospital, she tried to fold 「千羽鶴」 (1000 Paper Origami Cranes) which are a symbol of health and luck in Japan.
She died before she could complete them.
Click here to read a post that I wrote about her story (and another young Japanese girl with a big story, too).
(Some of young Sadako’s paper origami cranes are in the WTC Momument in New York. Click here to read my post about that.)

"Children's Peace Monument" with statue of Sadako Sasaki.

The 「広島平和記念公園」 (“Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park”):

In the Peace Park, there is the “Peace Flame” which will remain lit until there are no more nuclear weapons in the world, “Peace Bells” which can be rung be visitors to the park in a wish for world peace, and the “Cenotaph (empty tomb) For The Atomic Bomb Victims”…this monument lists the names of all of the victims of the bombing of Hiroshima and has the words 「安らかに眠って下さい 過ちは 繰返しませぬから」 (“Rest in peace, for we will never repeat this mistake”).

The "Cenotaph For Atomic Bomb Victims"

Looking through the Cenotaph For Atomic Bomb Victims, the "Peace Flame" and the "Atomic Bomb Dome" can be seen.

My daughter’s class took the ferry to nearby 宮島 (Miyajima), which is called the “resting place of the gods” and is another World Heritage Site.

The ferry to Miyajima that my daughter's class took.

There are deer on Miyajima.

Miyajima is most famous for 「厳島神社」 (“Itsukushima Shrine“) and it’s wooden Torii gate in the water:

Another landmark of the area is the wooden 「錦帯橋」 (Kintaikyou Bridge) with it’s five arches:

My daughter’s class also got to visit a cave. When they exited the cave, they saw this magnificent view:

All of the photos in this post were taken by my daughter. Please do not use or duplicate any of them without her express permission (which can be obtained through me).

65 years ago in Nagasaki

9 Aug

Today is the sixty-fifth anniversary of the atomic bombing of 長崎 (Nagasaki, Japan).

Last year I wrote a post (click here) about the peace memorials in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

And three days ago, I wrote a post about the 65th anniversary of the attack on Hiroshima.

In Nagasaki today there will be a peace ceremony just as there was in Hiroshima last Friday.
I believe the U.S. ambassador to Japan will attend this ceremony just as his attended Hiroshima’s ceremony.

After the atomic bombing of Japan in August 1945, many U.S. military soldiers and marines were stationed in Japan for the U.S. occupation of Japan that lasted until after the Vietnam War.

One of those U.S. Marines was Joe O’Donnell.

Have you ever heard of him?

He was a photographer in the U.S. Marines and was stationed in Japan to photograph Hiroshima and Nagasaki after the bombings.

What he saw there deeply affected him and convinced him that the atomic bombing of Japan was a mistake.

For many years after he returned to America, he tried to forget what he saw in Japan.

But finally about twenty years ago he decided to share his photos with the world so that maybe the mistakes of the past won’t be repeated.
He showed the photos he took to his son, who then had them published in a book and he also started a MySpace page for his father.

He 1995, Joe O’Donnell was interviewed by Japan’s NHK TV station for a documentary about the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombings. (I remember watching that interview on NHK fifteen years ago).

In that documentary, Joe O’Donnell apologized to the people of Japan, especially the victims of the bombings and their families.

…I want to express to you tonight my sorrow and regret for the pain and suffering caused by the cruel and unnecessary atomic bombings of your cities…No more Hiroshimas! No more Pearl Harbors! No more Nagasakis!

—  (Joe O’Donnell, 1995)

This boy in Nagasaki, Japan is carrying his dead younger brother on his back and he's standing at a cremation pyre, trying to prepare himself to cremate his brother. (photo by Joe O'Donnell, 1945)

These three brothers were orphaned by the bombing of Nagasaki. (photo by Joe O'Donnell, 1945)

As fate would have it, Joe O’Donnell died three years ago today. On 2007 August 9th…the 62nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki!

原爆記念日

6 Aug

Today is the 65th anniversary of the atomic bombing of 広島 (Hiroshima, Japan).

And every year on August 6th in Hiroshima and August 9th in Nagasaki, there are peace ceremonies to remember those who died in the bombing and to hope for a future with no more nuclear weapons…or even war.

But today’s peace ceremony in Hiroshima and the one in Nagasaki on next Monday will be different because the American ambassador to Japan will attend the ceremonies…which will be the first time an American government official attended them.

A photo of the floating lanterns at the Peace Ceremony in Hiroshima a few years ago.

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In other news, a Japanese version of the Hollywood hit movie “Ghost” (that starred Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze) is due to be in theaters in Japan this coming November.

A promo poster for the original U.S. movie "Ghost".

The Japanese remake movie will be titled “Love And Soul” and will star Korean actor Song Seung Hun and Japanese actress Nanako Matsushima.

Song Seung Hun and Nanako Matsushima

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And also, the Japanese college national baseball team traveled to America to play the U.S. college national team.

The U.S. team beat Japan with a score of 4 – 2.

WW2 Allies will attend ceremonies in Japan

27 Jul

Yesterday was 「土用の丑の日」 (“The Day of the Ox“).

This is a day that occurs once or twice every summer. It always falls on a date in late July, and when there’s a second date it’s usually in early August.
Last year was the first time in 213 years that this event occurred twice in July.

This year there won’t be a second date.

It is tradition in Japan to eat うなぎ (freshwater eel) on 「土用の丑の日」 (“The Day of the Ox“).
Eel is said to give stamina to withstand the grueling summer heat.

So, as we usually do on 「土用の丑の日」 (“The Day of the Ox“), we ate 「うな丼」 (grilled freshwater-eel on rice).

It was delicious.

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Every year on August 6 in 広島 (Hiroshima) and on August 9 in 長崎 (Nagasaki) there are peace ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the nuclear bombing of those cities in August 1945.

And every year, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki invite the U.S. president to attend or at least send a representative.
The reason for this invitation is in hopes that America will attend the ceremonies as a statement against war and nuclear arms.
It is extended as an ally to America not necessarily to attempt to get an apology from America…just an acknowledgment that war is bad and should be avoided.

Every year America declines the invitation.

But last year, U.S. President Barack Obama made a speech in Prague in which he expressed his desire and plans for a world without nuclear weapons.
He always said that he would like to attend the peace ceremonies in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
His words made the survivors of the nuclear attacks in Japan happy. It was quite the opposite for the statements Washington has always made in the past that the bombings were necessary to end World War 2.

Well, it seems that this is the year that America has finally accepted the invitation from Japan to attend the peace ceremonies.

Next month will mark the 65th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and, although U.S. President Barack Obama won’t be attending the ceremonies himself, it has been announced that the U.S. Ambassador to Japan will attend the ceremonies in his place.

Also, Britain and France will be sending their ambassadors as well.

It will be the first time anyone from the governments of those countries have attended these events.

When I came to Japan in 1990, it had been 45 years since the bombings. I remember the fiftieth anniversary in 1995…it was a big event and it was hoped that then-U.S. President Bill Clinton would attend, but he declined just as every U.S. president before and since (until Obama) has.

It has been twenty years since I first came to Japan and now early next month will mark the 65th anniversary of the bombings and I’m sure it’ll be a big event again…especially since the Allied ambassadors will be in attendance.

Two kids with big stories

20 Oct

Do you know the story of 春日めぐみ (Megumi Kasuga) or 佐々木偵子 (Sadako Sasaki)?

They are two young Japanese girls that were about the same age when they each had a tragedy in their life and how they reacted made them both famous in Japan.

Megumi Kasuga was a thirteen year old junior high school student in 茨城県 (Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan) when her father died of cancer.
In memory of her father, who wanted to travel overseas on holiday…but never got the chance, Megumi wrote a letter explaining that she hoped people around the world would take her favorite teddy-bear on a world journey.

She gave the letter and the bear to an American visitor in Japan, who in turn gave it to a Swedish tourist in America…who then gave to another tourist when she got back to Sweden.
And the bear’s journey began.

Megumi received letters from people all over the world wishing her well.
Some people were so touched by her story that they came to Japan to meet young Megumi in person.

Here’s the letter she wrote:

Dear Kind Person,

I’m a seventh grade student in junior high school. I’m 13 years old and live in Kashima City, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. Kashima is located on the Pacific coast, to the northeast of Tokyo. It takes about two hours by car from here to Tokyo, and about one hour to Narita (New Tokyo) International Airport. Soccer is very popular in Kashima. Our city is the home of the only Japan League professional soccer team in Ibaraki Ken, the Kashima Antlers.

My father, at age 52, died of pancreas cancer on April 26 of this year, 1996. He loved to travel, but he didn’t have a chance to travel abroad, except his honeymoon in Hawaii. He was always very busy as a doctor at his hospital. He was also one of the team doctors for the Antlers. I would like to send this little hand-made teddy bear around the world to carry my father’s spirit to all those places that he never could go. My mother and I share this dream. Would you please help me, and take him with you? When you get to your destination, please give Mack to another person so that he can continue his journey. That way, my father can finally see the world through Mack’s eyes.

Thank you for your kindness. May your dreams also come true.

Peace and love,

Megumi Kasuga

P.S. If you can, please send me a picture of yourself and Mack wherever you go, so that I’ll know he is still travelling.

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Sadako Sasaki was born on 1943 January 7 in 広島 (Hiroshima, Japan).
She was two years old when the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on that city.

When she turned twelve, Sadako was diagnosed with leukemia and was given less than a year to live.
She had to stay in the hospital.

While she was in the hospital, she began to fold 千羽鶴 (1000 Origami Cranes) which are a good luck gesture in Japan.

千羽鶴 (1000 Paper Origami Cranes)

千羽鶴 (1000 Paper Origami Cranes)

Sadako folded any piece of paper she could find in the hospital into a paper crane. Hospital staff, other patients and friends and family helped her and gave her any paper they could.

On 1955 October 25, Sadako’s mother made a special meal for her and gave it to her in the hospital.
The last word Sadako Sasaki said before she died that day at age 12 was 「おいしい」 (“It’s delicious“).

Sadako only managed to fold less than 700 paper cranes before she died.
Her friends and family folded the rest and put all 1000 paper cranes in Sadako’s casket with her.

Sadako Sasaki’s story has come to symbolize the need for world peace and there is a statue of her in Hiroshima.
People often leave 千羽鶴 (1000 Paper Origami Cranes) at the statue.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

14 Oct

The day before yesterday (Monday, 12 October) was a Japanese holiday…「体育の日」 (“Sports Day“).
Click here to read my short FAQ about it.

Every year on this day, 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) has an archery ceremony called 「草鹿式」 (“Kusa-jishi-shiki“).

靖国神社の「草鹿式」

靖国神社の「草鹿式」

My wife and I watched this ceremony last year and I wrote a post about it.

This year, a French couple who visited and commented on my blog many times are in Tokyo until next week.
This is their first visit to Japan, so I met up with them and took them to watch the 「草鹿式」 (archery ceremony) at 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine).

I didn’t take many photos of it this year, but please read my post about last year’s ceremony. On that post, there are photos and videos that I took (click here to read it).

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As I wrote in an earlier post (click here), Tokyo was a candidate city to host the 2016 Olympic Games but lost out to Rio De Janeiro.

Well, it has been announced that Tokyo plans to submit a bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games!

But Tokyo isn’t the only Japanese city that wants to host the 2020 games.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki have announced their plan to submit a bid to co-host the 2020 Summer Olympics!

Other cities that have expressed interest in hosting the 2020 games are South Africa, Busan (Korea), Delhi (India), Rome (Italy), St. Petersburg (Russia), Warsaw (Poland), Toronto (Canada), Boston (America), and a number of others.

The candidate cities for the 2020 Olympics will be decided next year and the host city will be chosen in 2013.

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Speaking of 「広島」 (Hiroshima, Japan) and 「長崎」 (Nagasaki, Japan), the city council of Rome, Italy announced their plan to rename a street in their city “Hiroshima Nagasaki Street“!

Their reason is because a 78-year old Japanese man named Hiroshi Nishioka gave a speech in Rome recently that left much of the audience in tears.

Mr. Nishioka is a survivor of the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki. He was only fourteen at the time of the bombing and in his recent speech in Italy he recalled how he refused to share the water in his canteen with any of the dying people in the streets of Nagasaki for fear that he wouldn’t have enough left for himself.

Even now, the memory of that, he said in his speech, is “like a splinter in my heart.”