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Hiroshima for Global Peace

I Since when was the importance of inheriting and passing on the a-bomb experience discussed?

Needless to say, one factor in the importance of inheriting the a-bomb experience is a reduction in the number of survivors. Hibakusha, who numbered 372,264 at the end of March 1982, declined to 164,621 at the end of 2017. The average age at the end of March 2017 was 81.41.

I will consider when the Hiroshima City administration recognized and started to discuss the importance of inheriting the a-bomb experience, referring to the Peace Declaration as a clue. (Emphasis is added by the author.)

Usages of 継承 (noun: inheritance, verb: inherit/bequeath) in Peace Declaration 3)

1971 Setsuo Yamada

… In addition, education, in order that succeeding generations correctly inherit the significance of war and peace, must be strongly implemented around the world. In this way, there is a path to insuring that the disaster of Hiroshima is never repeated.

1972 Setsuo Yamada

…in order that an earth which is peaceful and suitable to survival is bequeathed to the next generation, we need to deeply recognize that we are all in the same boat and need to overcome differences in thought. And then, under intellectual and spiritual solidarity, we have to create a new world order where people do not kill others and people are not killed by others.

1973 Setsuo Yamada

…the source of cultivating world peace is the right and true education for peace, and that is the inheritance of the “Spirit of Hiroshima”.

1976 Takeshi Araki

… together with the mayor of Nagasaki, the mayor of Hiroshima will visit the United Nations to testify about the facts of the a-bomb experience as living witnesses and to propose to the world that this experience should be bequeathed appropriately…

1983 Takeshi Araki

As part of a disarmament campaign adopted at the second Special Session on Disarmament, the United Nations has begun new efforts to acknowledge and inherit the atomic bombing experience, such as dispatching disarmament special researchers to Hiroshima and regular exhibitions of a-bomb artifacts.

1987 Takeshi Araki

On the other hand, since young people are responsible for the future, their inheritance of the atomic bomb experience has become increasingly important.

1988 Takeshi Araki

Today, here in Hiroshima, we conduct the International Peace Symposium by young people from sister cities so that the experience of Hiroshima can be passed on and discussed with citizens.

2000 Takeshi Araki

In the 21st century, we must achieve this wish. To do this, we have to reconceive of the significance of the atomic bombing experience in a larger context and to establish ways to express it, and we have to pass it on it as an inheritance of the entire human race.

2005 Tadatoshi Akiba

… It is also a time of inheritance, of awakening, and of commitment, in which we inherit the commitment of the hibakusha to the abolition of nuclear weapons and realization of genuine world peace, awaken to our individual responsibilities, and recommit ourselves to take action.

2005 Tadatoshi Akiba

…we hereby declare the 369 days from today until August 9, 2006, a “Year of Inheritance, Awakening and Commitment.” During this Year, the Mayors for Peace, working with nations, NGOs and the vast majority of the world’s people, will launch a great diversity of campaigns for nuclear weapons abolition in numerous cities throughout the world.

Then-mayor Takeshi Araki was the first to point out the importance of inheriting the atomic bomb experience in 1976. Regarding the use of inheritance (継承) before Araki, although expressions of inheritance were found in Setsuo Yamada’s speech; “inheriting the significance of war and peace” and “to bequeath an earth which is peaceful and suitable to survival onto the next generation”, they did not mention the inheritance of atomic bomb experience itself. Araki pointed out the importance of inheritance of the atomic bomb experience in 1983, 1987 and 1988. Based on the Peace Declaration, it is likely that the reference to the importance of inheriting atomic bomb experience by the government begun in the 1980s. In addition, Takashi Hiraoka explained the necessity of handing down the misery of the atomic bombs and wars by using the term kataritsugu (語り継ぐ, hands down). 4) Thus, in the Peace Declaration, the importance of inheriting the atomic bomb experience started to be pointed out since the 1980s, and from then on, the importance of inheriting the experience has been stated continuously. In fact, in order to realize this, in collaboration with Nagasaki City, Hiroshima City started a regular exhibition of a-bomb artifacts and atomic bombing photos at the United Nations headquarters in New York in 1983. After that, with the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombings in 1995, Hiroshima began efforts to “bequeath the Hiroshima a-bomb experience to succeeding generations in Japan and abroad by striving to collect a-bomb materials and testimonies from a-bomb survivors and to improve accessibility to them.” Now, they are taking the initiative in various ways, such as management of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, implementation of a-bomb testimony intended for students visiting Hiroshima as a school excursion, training for a-bomb legacy successors, preservation of a-bombed buildings and trees, holding a-bomb exhibitions in Japan and abroad, offering peace education materials, etc.5)

3) Created by the author based on the Hiroshima City’s website. (visited on January 26, 2018)

4) In 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1996, the word 語り継ぐ (kataritsugu, “handing down”) was used, not 継承 (keishou, “inheritance.”) For instance, the 1993 Peace Declaration says, “…through history, education for younger generations regarding how to pass down the a-bomb and war experience must be improved”. Also, then-Hiroshima Mayor Araki pointed out the necessity of passing down the peace spirit of Hiroshima.

5) For details, please refer to Hiroshima City’s website. Incidentally, most of these projects are entrusted to the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation and implemented. (accessed: February 1, 2018)

Office for Passing on Atomic Bomb Experiences to Future Generations, Peace Promotion Department, International Peace Promotion Division, Citizens Affairs Bureau is in charge of these projects.

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