• Nanjing Peace Pilgrimage 2016
    - Pilgrimage of peace starts from our heart -
    (Feb. 26- Mar 1, 2016)

    At John Rabe and International Safety Zone Memorial Hall, Nanjing

    On February 26th to March 1st, 2016, the YWCA of Japan and the National Council of YWCAs of China co-hosted a peace program “Nanjing Peace Pilgrimage” in Nanjing, China, with cooperation from Nanjing YWCA. 15 participants from the YWCA of Japan and 23 participants from the National Council of YWCAs of China learned about history together and shared their thoughts at the city of Nanjing, where the Japanese military massacred citizens during the Second Sino-Japanese War.
    Main contents of the program include the following:

    ・Professor Cai Jianguo from Tongji University (about present Japan-China relationship)
    ・Professor Su Zhiliang from Shanghai Normal University (about issue of Japan’s Military “comfort women”)
    ・Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall
    ・the former site of “comfort station”
    ・John Rabe and International Safety Zone Memorial Hall
    Cultural study
    ・Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum
    ・Former Residence of Gan Xi

    At the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall. The museum was full of visitors, telling of a very high public interest. A monument at the Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, carrying the inscription of “Peace” and a pigeon, a symbol of peace.

    Participants were divided into 3 groups, and they held a series of discussions and each group presented a “Peace Action Plan” at the closing ceremony. The plans included “to tell what I have learned from the 5 days trip to my friends”, “to believe in what I have experienced, instead of being influenced by stereotypes, and “to share my learnings with other members of local YWCA”. The way the Japanese and Chinese participants shared smiles with each other showed the hope of a better Japan-China relationship in the future.

    At the same time, the pilgrimage made the participants from Japan vividly realize that Japan has in no way been only a victim of war, but an aggressor, including by interaction with a participant from China who shared that she had been struggling with her feelings toward the Japanese people while communicating with the Japanese friends.

    Each participant thought deeply on the Japan-China relationship, was awakened with the horrors of war again, and strongly aspired to the world peace. Chinese participants promised “to go to Japan”, so do Japanese “to come back to China again”. The participants from both countries were able to gain precious friends, with whom they shall continue to work together in building a closer relationship.

    Breaking ice with a game
    Participants shared views about the history they have learned about before, and what they experienced during the program, carefully listening to each other. Sharing tables and dining together created a bond between the participants, beyond international barriers.
    Presentation of “Peace Action Plan”- Participants from China and Japan shared a common wish to understand each other more. At the closing, participants wrote down their feelings and learnings on the banner of the program.
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