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Hiroshima for Global Peace

“It’s important to continue to spread the message that this tragedy must never be repeated again”

Hiroshima Toyo Carp Manager Arai Takahiro

The Hiroshima Toyo Carp baseball team has always been united with the citizens of Hiroshima as a symbol of the post-war reconstruction.

Manager Arai Takahiro, a Hiroshima native who took command of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp this season, shared with us his desire for peace as well as his thoughts regarding the upcoming Peace night game to be held on August 6th.

As I’m a Hiroshima native, I’ve been studying about peace ever since I was in elementary school. During my first few years of school, I remember being afraid that something was going to fall from the sky on August 6th.

Every year on August 6th we’d go to school, visit the Peace Memorial Park and Peace Memorial Museum, listen to atomic bomb survivors who were active as storytellers, and learn countless things about peace. We never heard much directly about what it was like during the bombing, but my grandmother was also a survivor, so I had a desire for peace deep within me from the time I was young.

The Carp were always there during Hiroshima’s recovery after being turned into a scorched wasteland by the bomb. The team was the people of Hiroshima’s hope after the war, and I think it was a symbol of the recovery. In turn, the Carp were supported by those very people.

”How the Carp were Born,” a statue installed in front of the Mazda Stadium’s indoor practice facility. It’s an expression of the history of Hiroshima’s recovery, as well as the joy at the time of the creation of the baseball team five years after the atomic bombing.

The former Hiroshima Municipal Stadium was in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome, and both the dome and the stadium were very close to my heart from when I was young. I lived close to the Peace Memorial Park until I was in the third grade, so I would run to the stadium with my dad to cheer on the Carp, and even after I joined the team I would always see the dome on my way to the stadium.

Also, whenever I see the dome I think of the manga “Barefoot Gen,” which had a profound effect on me personally. I would think about things like how Gen used to play right where I was standing. The characters’ lines and images were quite scary as a child, but even then I still felt that as a person born in Hiroshima, I have a duty to see the things that happened in the past, I can’t avert my eyes from them.

As I continued reading despite my fear, I found myself attracted to Gen, who would always keep pressing on with all his might no matter what his circumstances were. I liked his way of life, particularly his motto, “No matter how much you’re trodden down, you gotta get back up, just like a stalk of wheat.” This mentality aligns perfectly with Hiroshima’s recovery and the Carp. I feel like the strong images of Gen, the city and people of Hiroshima, and the Carp rising up again and again were ingrained in me from the time I was small.

The old Hiroshima Municipal Stadium, which once was across from the Atomic Bomb Dome

The team had an away game during the G7 Hiroshima Summit in May, but when I saw the world’s leaders visiting the Peace Memorial Park, the Peace Memorial Museum, and laying flowers at the Memorial Monument for Hiroshima, I felt that it was truly an amazing thing, and I was proud of Hiroshima for showing to the world the tragedies of war as well as its desire for peace.

We’re holding the Peace night game, an event for promoting peace, once again this year on August 6th. Since the time I was still playing, I felt that having a game in Hiroshima on that day allowed me to feel the joy of playing baseball in peaceful times, and I could play with gratitude knowing that playing sports is only possible in times of peace. Players from Hiroshima have received peace education from their early days, so we know that August 6th is a special day, but the Peace night game is also an opportunity for players from other prefectures to learn what happened in Hiroshima, and how tragic those events were.

Newcomers to the team will be experiencing their first August 6th in Hiroshima, so they may not get it, but experienced players have more and more opportunities to see the city’s atmosphere and hear the news broadcasts as time goes on, and they definitely know just how special a day August 6th is to Hiroshima. I think this year will become another opportunity to give thanks as we play baseball in the peace we’ve become accustomed to while we wish for the spread of world peace.

The players having a moment of silence during the 2015 Peace night game. All the players have the number “86” on their backs

When I was a child, I had the opportunity to directly hear the experiences of atomic bombing survivors who were working as storytellers. I think those opportunities are becoming less frequent now. The memories of the atomic bombing fade with time, so the Carp will use the Peace night game to spread our message of peace. Many people are also making an appeal for peace to the world in the same way. I believe that it’s important to speak out from Hiroshima to the next generation about what tragedies happened here, how much suffering it caused, and the fact that we must never repeat this tragedy ever again.

Arai Takahiro

Born in Naka-ku, Hiroshima in 1977. Selected by the Carp in the sixth round of the 1998 draft. Hit 43 home runs in 2005, shining as the king of home runs. Returned to Hiroshima for the first time in 8 years in 2015, then became MVP after leading his team to its first league victory in 25 years in 2016. After contributing greatly to the team’s first time winning the league three consecutive times, retired from play in 2018. Became the team’s manager starting with the 2023 season.

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