Tomoko Watanabe was invited by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to give a peace culture presentation to participants in a training course on local government at the end of February.
The trainees were a group of local government administrators from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Tomoko gave a talk and a Powerpoint presentation about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the grassroots peace activities undertaken by Hiroshima citizens to rebuild the city and spread the message of peace in a world free of nuclear weapons.
Part 1: The Destruction of Hiroshima
In the first part of the talk Tomoko explained to the group what happened when the bomb exploded and described the after effects of the bombing.
- Hiroshima was reduced to a sea of fire and utterly destroyed.About 140,000 people were killed outright or had died by the end of 1945.
- About 140,000 people were killed outright or had died by the end of 1945.
The damage caused by the A-bomb was of several kinds:
- damage caused by heat rays.
- damage caused by the shock wave.
- damage caused by radiation (primary & secondary exposure).
- destruction of social cohesion.
The proliferation of nuclear weapons today was then discussed before moving on to the experience of Hiroshima citizens in rebuilding Hiroshima.
Part 2: Reconstruction & Renewal
So what was the experience of Hiroshima in the aftermath of the war?
- From the ashes of the atomic bombing, Hiroshima was able to reconstruct the city, transforming it from a military city to a city of peace.
- The survivors of the atomic bombing were able to overcome their own suffering to promote the abolition of nuclear weapons of war.
- The city of Hiroshima has come to serve as a touchstone for peace in the world.
What is Hiroshima’s mission?
- Conveying the reality of the atomic bombings.
- Advancing the abolition of nuclear weapons.
- Pursuing peace-building activities.
- Promoting peace education and peace culture.
- Developing new generations of peace builders.
Tomoko explained that there are two spheres of peace-building:
To attain a sustainable peace, both spheres, the public and the personal, must be addressed.
In the final part of the presentation, Tomoko explained the role of ANT-Hiroshima in local and international peace education efforts at the grass-roots level.
After the presentation there was a discussion and the participants were invited to write down their impressions of Hiroshima. We will publish their comments in upcoming blog posts.