“We need to know more about the issue of nuclear weapons in the world and Japan.” So say these young people who meet up to get involved in learning about nuclear policies to help realize a world free of nuclear weapons. Group representative TANAKA Miho had the following to say about their activities.
The official name of Kakuwaka Hiroshima is best expressed as “Association of Young Hiroshima Voters Who Wish to Learn about Nuclear Policy.” Just as our name implies, we are a youth group who come together to simply search for answers to questions such as, “what is nuclear policy?” and “what position does Japan occupy in the world?”
The starting point for this was when atomic bomb survivor and anti-nuclear activist Setsuko THURLOW gave a lecture in Hiroshima in 2019 and said, “I want you to take a stand together, and every individual should take meaningful action, rather than ‘Do your best to help abolish nuclear weapons’ and ‘I pray for peace in the world.’” This statement stirred us to action. With the impetus of “We have to do something!” young people from various walks of life such as high school students, university students, office workers, and cafe owners came together as members following that. I feel it can be difficult to think about “nuclear abolition,” or that people who lack interest may back away, so my aim is for everyone to consider the issue together. So with that in mind, I came up with the name “Kakuwaka” from “I want to understand (coming from ‘waka’ in Japanese) nuclear weapons (coming from ‘kaku’ in Japanese). The meaning also implies “young person,” and to “get passionate about.”
Our current activities take the form of talking to congressional representatives in Hiroshima and publicly post their thoughts on nuclear policy on social media. We have managed to meet 8 people so far.
One of the talking points that came up was that “Japan is protected by the presence of nuclear weapons,” and I recall being shocked to hear that. However, this was something that otherwise I could never have known without actually hearing it directly, and this is when I felt the significance of Kakuwaka’s activities.
(Click on the link below for interviews and answers from each elected representative)
In addition to the topic of abolishing nuclear weapons, I think it’s important to convey our points in an easily understood manner in order to generate interest in politics. The reason being, we want to reach young people who are voters and make it one of the criterion they use to vote during elections. Although I feel there are people who think nothing will change even if they vote, and people who do not consider there’s a connection between their future and politics, when something goes wrong in life, politics are definitely involved. It would be great if others could see our activities and think, “Maybe there’s something here I should learn about.”
Sometime in the future, I want to invite two representatives from the Hiroshima constituency to exchange opinions on the abolition of nuclear weapons. In addition to the elimination of nuclear weapons, there are organizations in the world engaged with various topics such as environmental and gender issues, so it would be great if we could somehow collaborate people like that. The number of people interested in politics is increasing, and we want to create an impetus that makes the entire situation better through various connections.
Association of Young Hiroshima Voters Who Wish to Learn about Nuclear Policy. (Kakuwaka Hiroshima)
Launched in January 2019. We ask representatives of the Hiroshima constituency about their thoughts on The Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and share their opinions on SNS or at debriefing sessions. We are partnered with ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons). There are currently 13 members who operate out of a book café in Naka-ku Hiroshima City called Hachidori-sha.
Twitter: @Kakuwaka (https://twitter.com/Kakuwaka)
Social Book Cafe Hachidori-sha
Tel: +81 (0)82 576 4368
Address: 2-43-201 Dobashi Naka-ku Hiroshima City
Open：15:00 – 18:30（Wed. – Fri.）, 11:00 – 18:30（Sat., Sun. & Public Holidays）
Closed：Mon. & Tue.
* Regardless of the day, on days of the month containing a 6 (e.g. 16th) the café opens from 11:00. (If the café is open on a fixed holiday then it closes on Wednesday of the same week instead.)
On days of every month containing a 6 (i.e. 6th, 16th and 26th) at Hachidori-sha, we invite storytellers to come and impart various conversations in an event called “Talking with a storyteller!” For details, please visit our website above.
Social Book Cafe Hachidori-sha
We introduce the efforts of Hachidori-sha through the booklet, SDGs and Business with an Eye on the Future -Efforts made by Companies in Hiroshima-Hachidori-sha