Topics 2009

2009 Hiroshima Seminar, International Christian University (ICU)

1.Hiroshima Seminar

From Wednesday, March 4 to Friday, March 6, 2009, nine International students selected by the Rotary Foundation, which is headquartered in the US, and studying mastrer's courses at the International Christian University (ICU) participated in the Hiroshima Seminar and conducted a field trip to Hiroshima. This seminar was established in 2003 and this is the 7th Hiroshima Field Trip by ICU.

The Rotary Peace Fellows have achieved a better understanding of the atomic bombings through a tour of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the testimony of an A-bomb survivor and an Exchange of Opinions with Hiroshima Peace Researchers.


Visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum


In front of the Cenotaph for the A-bomb victims


Photo with Mr. Leeper, Chairman of the
Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation


Listening to an A-bomb survivor's testimony


Exchange of opinions with Hiroshima Peace Researchers

2.Impressions after the Hiroshima Field Trip

The following are excerpts of impressions of the 2009 Hiroshima Seminar from a questionnaire conducted by the ICU.

(1) Tour of the Peace Memorial Museum

  • It was too bad that time allotted for visiting the Museum was so short. Although the Museum itself was designed to be very informative, it was very regrettable that I was not able to see the exhibit thoroughly due to time constraints. I wish I had more time for the Museum, at least half a day. The volunteer guide also seemed to be in a hurry to finish the explanations within the allotted time and I felt that if only we could have taken a little more time, it would have allowed him to make unhurried explanations.
  • What I can say is all about ‘Behind the Open Doors’, there are still hidden pains and sufferings, which had opened my eyes.
  • I think one and a half or two hours is better time for visiting the museum. One hour is too short time. And as a matter of personal preference, which I know others would have a different stand, I prefer not guided visits in museums so that I can take my take my time to put more attention on the parts I am really the more interested in. Audio guides are great.
  • The museum is great for all of its information but the tour was rushed. An extra 30 minutes or hour would allow us to see and learn more.
  • It was very impressive.

(2) Testimony of the A-bomb Survivor

  • It was a very valuable experience to me. Opportunities to listen to an A-bomb survivor’s testimony will not be available in the future, so such opportunities should be offered to as many people as possible while they are still available. Although there might be problems of a language barrier, please continue to offer such opportunities.
  • Mr. Matsushima had a facility to share with us his experience in a friend-to-friend manner. I appreciated his honesty about the anti-American feelings he had at the time, about how the war seem something like an adventure for him when he was young, and also the clarity and sensibility he had to express what he lived and saw during and after the bombing. I also appreciated his honesty to say how even the own Hiroshima society discriminated against those who survived and were physically marked after the bomb.
  • The survivor was very good at relating his experience of the bombing, he was particularly more upbeat than I would have imagined him to be. It was also nice to contrast his experience and the experience of the survivor at the Rotary dinner.

(3) Exchange of Opinion with Hiroshima Peace Researchers

  • It was a precious opportunity for academic exchanges. The most interesting point was a question posed by a researcher, “What is peace studies from the perspective of a student?” That is an important question and I think it is an issue that Rotary Program of ICU should clarify in some manner to establish a research course. This question was one of the most fruitful acquisitions of the discussion.
  • It was good but researchers found to be less prepared to address the prior needs of peace as they started confusing the very basic concept of ‘peace’.
  • A must do in the field trip. I definitely appreciated the chance of having both a semi-formal presentation on their work and mainly the opportunity to debate on the meaning of pacifism, peace studies and peace work. Overall I liked the views’ exchange with the Korean sociologist Ms. Kim.
  • his was a really great , thought- provoking discussion. Perfect !
  • Even though, on the first day and on the half-day of the second day the focus of peace issue was mainly discussed on nuclear. However at the Hiroshima Peace Researchers, I have gained more insight of peace which involve broader topics for instance, human development concept (economy, health, and education). As their work also involved in these area with expectation that the result of the work will contribute to the peace world.

(4) How has your view of Hiroshima changed after participationin the Hiroshima Field Trip?

  • One thing I could not ask was how Hiroshima and Nagasaki display their own histories and the difference between how they do this. When we talk about the A-bomb experiences, Hiroshima is fully taken into account, but Nagasaki is not noticed as much as Hiroshima is. I wanted to ask the researches in the Hiroshima Peace Research Institute why such a difference occurred, but I had no chance.
  • I belong to Pakistan and we are nuclear state. I remained very enthusiastic to know the real pains and sufferings of Hiroshima posed by Nuclear Holocaust, which was done by United States of America. I am working on the area of Nuclear Non-proliferation along with Arms Control & Disarmament, so that the future of our generations should not be like Hiroshima. I met with hundreds and thousands of people in my country even in Japan but I am sorry to share with you that everyone was making ‘Hiroshima Sufferings’ a business for their professional careers. My commitment was becoming invisible as I was trapped under fake commitments to safe the humanity. After visiting the Hiroshima I realized and felt the original pains with its genuine sufferings. It lessoned me the difference between right and wrong. I am happy people in Hiroshima are still committed to bring peace in the world as they are not making it business. And I hope even in future they will keep the same spirit to guide people like me to work for the ‘dignity of humanity’.
  • I am really afraid of nuclear bombs. I think I would strongly raise my voice against production and proliferation of nuclear bombs.
  • I got to see more of the lively Hiroshima and the kindness of its inhabitants. Through our conversation with the Rotarians I was able to perceived and get influenced by the strength of their character and values. This trip allowed me to see beyond the elementary school text-book which gives just a glimpse on something terrible occurred to Hiroshima and Nagasaki by showing the image of an atomic mushroom and giving a number of the persons who died. This trip allowed me to get a connection with one of the most painful and significant moments in human history: by talking with the people who suffered the atomic bombing I was able to realize how personal and real the war is, and by seeing what Hiroshima is today I realized that out of the darkness there is always the possibility and the responsibility to construct a better world where to live.
  • Although I had visited Hiroshima, this trip gave me tow views of the city that I did not experience before; personal perspectives on the A- bomb through survivors' experience; and the plethora of peace work happening today still. They are both important to connecting Hiroshima’s past and present.
  • On the first day after visiting the Peace Memorial Museum, I thought to myself that it was just another incident that happened here in Hiroshima. However, the more time we spent on the second day I have seen and felt tremendous impacts of nuclear on human life. Especially, during the testimony I became to realize how lucky I was to be in this generation in having a chance to listen to experience directly from an A-bomb survivor. It affected deeply and strongly in mind and made me to be interested in nuclear issue, as previously I only focus my interest on human development issue. In general view, it was very impressive trip and would be nice if fellows from other center have a chance to visit Hiroshima as we do. I strongly believe that the trip make us to understand deeply on what is peace as the combination of the trip has touched on the major aspects of life.


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