Please enable JavaScript in your browser to view this site in optimal condition.
When displaying with JavaScript disabled, some functions may not be available or correct information may not be obtained.

Hiroshima for Global Peace

A Song of Peace That Echoes Through the World ―The Hiroshima Peace Song―

The Hiroshima Festival (abbreviation: HiroFest) was launched in 2022 with the concept of sowing the seeds of peace and nurturing the next generation. This first event centered on music and media arts, with an Academy to nurture and help participants learn from each other, competitions for participants to contend expressively, and awards to honor and evaluate performances. Numerous associated events were also held.

Many domestic and international artists and musicians were nominated for the Hiroshima Music Awards. From these, TOYAMA Utako, who is active abroad as the founder of the global project band SkyBridge, was chosen as the overseas award winner. She collaborates with numerous Grammy Award-winning musicians on the theme of peace, and co-founded Songs for World Peace with NAKAYAMA Yoshie, who is active as a composer and arranger. She also actively releases works online with musicians from over 80 countries.

TOYAMA, the delighted winner of the award, then paid a courtesy visit to the mayor of the city of Hiroshima, MATSUI Kazumi. Mayor MATSUI then asked TOYAMA to “spread the Hiroshima Peace Song which has been sung in Hiroshima for generations to the world.”

The Hiroshima Peace Song is a musical composition that was presented at the Peace Festival (later known as the Peace Memorial Ceremony) held in August 1947, with the wish of making Hiroshima the starting point of world peace. Composer YAMAMOTO Minoru set the music to junior high school teacher SHIGEZONO Yoshio’s lyrics, which were chosen through an open call for entries at the time. Since a sonorous chorus sang it at the first Peace Festival, it continues to be sung belovedly at peace commemorative ceremonies, etc.

TOYAMA, who knew the backstory, readily consented to this request. It was decided that Hiroshima Festival Executive Committee and Songs for World Peace, a group of musicians affiliated with Berklee College of Music, which TOYAMA is a graduate of, would jointly produce an English version of the song and video.

Toyama and others were in charge of the arrangement and the English translation of the lyrics. The English translation has been made in a way that reproduces the meaning of the original lyrics. The third verse of the song uses a line from Dr. King’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech, giving it a stronger message.

In addition, the video production features Mayor MATSUI, the people of Hiroshima, and people from all over the world holding up boards with messages of peace written on them, spreading the word of peace globally. The completed video was released simultaneously on the Hiroshima Festival Executive Committee homepage and the Songs for World Peace website on World Peace Day, September 21. It made a splash around the world.

“I have a dream.” The English lyrics were inspired by a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., an African American who continuously campaigned for the elimination of racial discrimination.

Stills from the actual video, which contains messages from various people, including Mayor MATSUI and the mayor of Hannover expressing their hopes for peace.

MORISAWA Toshiyuki, director of the Hiroshima Festival Executive Committee, said, “The Hiroshima Peace Song is a song unlike any other which expresses the thoughts of the atomic bomb survivors and the people of Hiroshima. I hope that people will listen to both the Japanese and English versions and get a sense of their hopes for peace.”

We spoke with Mr. MORISAWA, Director of the Hiroshima Festival Executive Committee.

Furthermore, KOCHIYAMA Yui, Staff of the Executive Committee, said, “If you live in Hiroshima, then peace education is something very familiar to you, but this may not be the case in other places. I hope this song will give people an opportunity to learn more about Hiroshima, especially now that Hiroshima is gaining prominence with the G7 Hiroshima Summit, etc.”

Similarly, Ms. KOCHIYAMA, Staff of the Executive Committee

As a song that will continue to exist alongside Hiroshima, The Hiroshima Peace Song will keep appealing to the world for peace with its strong and gentle sound.

You can watch the video that was made at the link below:


Hiroshima Festival Executive Committee

4-17 Kakomachi, Naka Ward, Hiroshima City (Inside JMS Aster Plaza)


Tags associated with this article