Report: Pilgrimage to Hiroshima 2016(Jan. 16, 2017)
“From Hiroshima to Fukushima and to the World”
* This program is granted by DENTSU Scholarship Foundation.
In August, with the glare of the strong sunlight just like August 1945, the day 71 years ago, Pilgrimage to Hiroshima was held with around 70 participants,many of whom were junior and high school students from all over Japan, and with guests from the National Council of YWCAs of China and the YWCA of Korea.
The participants learned the experiences embedded in Hiroshima with their own senses through hearing the witness testimony from a survivor of atomic bombing and walking through Hiroshima to learn about three different aspects of Hiroshima: A former military city, a hometown of many people, and the city that suffered the first Atomic Bomb in the world. This year’s program offered a chance of thinking of Fukushima as well, in order to recall that nuclear energy, which humans cannot take full control of, is applied for both atomic bombs and nuclear power plants, and to reaffirm the fact that humans cannot coexist with nuclear.
The best part of the program is multicultural and intergenerational encounter among the participants. This three days program have widened their perspectives beyond the limits of their thinking and action by exchanging thoughts and ideas with each other and being exposed to various values.
Voices of Participants
* Both of Hiroshima suffering from the atomic bombing and Fukushima from the nuclear accident, are painful and pathetic. I found it meaningful to know and accept the facts, think of what we can do, and learn more. I hope to find a way to tell the others about what I felt, learnt and thought through the program, as I believe that one thing that I can do.
* I was reminded that “embracing the others” requires “knowing the others properly”. “Knowing the others properly” asks us to face them sometimes with patience. And it cannot be continued long without love. That’s why “knowing the others properly” means “embracing the others”.
* This time I was able to speak with and hear from people in different generations and from different countries, and was taught small but steady actions that each one of us can take. Even after we return home, even small actions made by us and being spread to others will be a huge step.
* I was expecting that discrimination can never be done away with until having a discussion among group members. Yet, the opinions presented there made me think that it will not be solved if we don’t really try to change it, and thinking “we just can’t help it”. I found out that if we really wish to end discrimination, we have to move on with even a small action. Otherwise, such a huge problem will never be mended or resolved.