“Peace Action”, an action for peace that anyone can do; Continuing to strive for peace from the bomb site
The Hiroshima Consumer Co-ops, Nagasaki Consumer Co-ops, and Japanese Consumer Co-ops (*) have been organizing “Peace Action in Hiroshima and Nagasaki”, a peace rally unique to these co-ops, every year since 1978. Due to COVID-19, in 2020, it began to be held online and it became possible for more people to learn the truth about atomic bombs and think about peace. This year, while continuing to be held online, participation at the venues in the prefectures is also accepted. We asked Mr. Watanabe Toru, a member of the staff at the Hiroshima Consumers’ Co-operative Union’s office, about his enthusiasm for 2022.
* The Hiroshima Consumer Co-ops, Nagasaki Consumer Co-ops, and Japanese Consumer Co-ops are abbreviations of the respective consumers’ co-operative unions. The Hiroshima Consumer Co-ops is made up of 15 co-ops and there are approximately 850 thousand (as of May 2022)
Organized by the Japanese Consumer Co-ops, Hiroshima Consumer Co-ops, and Nagasaki Consumer Co-ops, “Peace Action in Hiroshima and Nagasaki” is a rally unique to these co-ops passing down stories of those who experienced the bombing and sharing their desire for a world without nuclear weapons. Union members from all over Japan visit Hiroshima or Nagasaki in August every year and learn about peace through lectures, recitals, subcommittees, and so on. The aim of this event is for participants take what they learned here back to their hometowns and spread their ways of thinking about peace in their daily lives.
In recent years, there have been more than 3000 participants each time. During the COVID-19 crisis spanning two years, it was difficult to hold this event in person, so it was held online and live streams as well as videos on a special site were made available. As a result, there was a grand total of 6500 participants in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
A survivor of the bombing testifying online (2021)
This year, “2022 Peace Action in Hiroshima and Nagasaki” will be held in Hiroshima on August 4th and 5th and in Nagasaki on the 7th and 8th.
Hiroshima has set the theme of this year’s Peace Action as “A peaceful future from Hiroshima ~ 77 years since being bombed, a world with neither war nor nuclear weapons for the next generation”. As we welcome our 77th year since the bombing, the victims of the bombing have gotten old, and it has become difficult to pass down their stories. We are worried that the pursue of peace will fade. The phrase “for the next generation” also contains our wish. This year, the event will be held in person for the first time in three years, and highlights include testimonies of the bombing and war by victims of the bombing, a Taisho performance (writing large characters) by Yasuda Women’s University’s calligraphy department, and interviews of students of Motomachi High School in Hiroshima who depict the witnesses and atomic bomb as art. There will also be online streams. At the venues, we also plan for participants to go on stage and share messages of peace to the entire country and a performance of “Rainbow Chorus” with a bombed piano for the finale.
An online “Children’s Peace Conference” is scheduled to be held jointly by Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the morning of the 7th (Sun). In this conference, elementary, middle, and high school children and students will talk about peace, collate their thoughts, and present an appeal for peace at the end. To have the young generation think about the sacredness of peace, participants are required to carry out activities in advance such as researching the war ruins in the region that they live in.
A special site was launched in late June this year. Videos of testimonies by victims of the bombing from 2020 to the latest ones in 2022, videos introducing stone monuments and picture stones by a monument tour guide from Co-op Hiroshima, and art from “Nuclear bomb art depicted with the next generation” by students of Motomachi High School are introduced as well. On the site, various projects thinking about peace are being carried out simultaneously for participants from all over the country, such as the recruitment of essays collating what participants felt, having participated in the program. There are also many opportunities for everyone to think about peace.
The presentation of “nuclear bomb with depicted with the next generation” by students of Motomachi High School (2021)
A co-op is an organization that aims to improve the daily lives of the union members and to create a lifestyle in which children can grow up with peace of mind. It also carries out food selection, development, and so on to achieve that. Food safety is also something that can be cultivated precisely because there is a peaceful world. The Japanese Consumer Co-ops adopted the slogan “For peace and a better life” in 1951 after the war and has been working to pursue peace ever since.
Peace Action is one of the peace activities that anyone can participate in. Other than co-op union members, those who are not members can also participate in and watch the event, and it is free to participate in. Peace Action allows participants to touch on the reality of nuclear bombing and the thoughts of victims, made possible precisely because it is held in “Hiroshima and Nagasaki” where the bombing happened. Through this event, we hope that we can continue to work towards peace through initiatives that allow every single person to take action.
2022 Peace Action in Hiroshima
Event dates: August 4th and 5th, 2022
2022 Peace Action in Nagasaki
Event dates: August 7th and 8th, 2022
Tags associated with this article