Topics 2011

Impressions after the Hiroshima Field Trip 2011, International Christian University (ICU)

The following are excerpts of impressions of the Hiroshima Field Trip 2011 from a questionnaire conducted by the ICU.。

(1) Tour of the Peace Memorial Museum and visit to Cenotaph and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

  • Thank you for this opportunity. It is among the best opportunity I have during this fellowship to reflect on the importance of the work I am doing and the responsibility we have as Rotary Fellows.
  • It’s very impressive, help me reconsider the importance of peace.
  • The museum was very nicely laid out and the Peace Park was very impressive. I was delighted with both experiences. I might, however, go to the museum first before laying the flowers at the peace park. To jump right into the experience of laying flowers in remembrance of the victims was difficult. I don’t think we took this action as seriously as we needed to, because we had just arrived from the long train ride.
  • Although I enjoyed the tour, I would it like to have a brief meeting before visiting the Cenotaph and paying my respect to the monument, as to set up the “tone” of the trip and the purpose of our visit to this place. I found a little bit lost as I did not know the significant of this monument to the Japanese people. Having someone to explain about it before or during the visit would be desirable.

(2) Testimony of the A-bomb Survivor (Mr. Matsushima)

  • I think that Mr. Matsushima is an extraordinary human being and I feel honor to have the opportunity to meet him and listened his story.
  • Mr. Matsushima’s testimony was thought provoking and well done. I was amazed at his ability to recount the day’s events so clearly and to talk about the experience with such poise. I was also very grateful that he seemed so open to questions.
  • Wonderful. It can be explained a little bit more about him and some statistics in survivors before having the story.
  • I was touch and move by this testimony. Mr. Matsushima with grace kindly share this terrible experience.

(3) Video Viewing/Poem Reading

  • I think that reading the poems written by A-bomb survivors was a more powerful activity than watching the video.
  • This time also included the reading of several poems and short testimony’s by trained readers. Generally, I found this to be excellent. The readers were very good and these messages are important for everyone to hear. However, I was dismayed when one of the readers asked me to read one of the poems. I did not think this was appropriate for various reasons, but mainly because I have no idea if the individual who wrote that poem would want a citizen of the United States reading his/her poem. It is not for me to decide.
  • Important archive to know and reflect on.

(4) Discussion with Mr. Leeper (Chairman, Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation)

  • Really insightful conversation and prospect to work with his organization (Mayor of Peace) in the near future. Not enough time.
  • Mr. Leeper was excellent and I was delighted to spend time with him. His ability to clarify the difference and similarities between Hiroshima and Nagasaki was really helpful and allowed me to learn quite a bit about difference in Japanese culture.
  • I like his idea and contribution to this city, and through their effort, we know better what happened there before, and wish a no nuclear weapon world realized in the near future.

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

  • I have been very positively surprised how well Hiroshima has developed after 1945. It gives me hope and inspiration to see an entire community come together and work for peace. We need more cities like Hiroshima!
  • I think that after visiting Hiroshima, I not only have a different perception about this city but also of Japan and the Japanese society as a whole. Visiting Hiroshima is visiting an important part of human history, one dark side of human history in which we were able to commit horrible crimes against each other. Hiroshima is an example to the world of the worse of the human race but also an example of resilience and desire to transform and developed into the path of peace and understanding. I found that this trip is a “must” for all Rotary Peace Fellows in Japan as it provides a space to reflect upon our purpose as future peace builders.
  • I had no idea that Hiroshima was such a vibrant city. It is a beautiful area and the city has done amazing work to rebuild so extensively after the destruction. It is a blessing that Hiroshima can stand as such an amazing example of what is possible when a people are committed to the idea of peace.
  • I learned a lot more about the history of Hiroshima itself, as well as details regarding the Atomic Bombing. As an American who is interested in world peace, this trip had a special resonance for me.
  • I did not have any particular view about Hiroshima. This trip helps me realize more concretely the devastation on infrastructure and human lives as well as the long term consequences of this tragedy.
  • Before I visited Hiroshima, I knew little about that city, only it was bombed by the atom bomb once. Sometimes I even think maybe it was due to themselves. However, after the Hiroshima Field Trip, I understood the A-bomb historical event deeply. Every storied told by those victims made me feel so sad. For those people, they are innocence and even now some of them still suffered from it. I really hope we could build a world without nuclear weapon anymore. I do believe I will actively work with this idea in the future.
  • That was my 2nd time to visit Hiroshima. I really like the place and the people. Life there is easier and more quality compared with Tokyo. I am also impressed by how people radiate the spirit of oneness as a family in the entire prefecture. You can see this thru bringing their young students to sites that would help them remind their bitter past and how life had to begin after the disaster. Young generation as the future leaders of their community are being prepared to be equipped with patriotism and pride of place.
  • I have already known that there is a miracle recovery in Japan after the WW II, but Hiroshima is more miracle than I expected. I love the opinion of Hiroshima people that this city is not about Atomic Bomb, it is rather about what people here have done from Atomic Bomb and fight for protecting peace. I really understand the pains that people here have to experience. I come from a country which also hurts by the war; million people were killed by cartridges and bombs, including my near relation. We want to close the past and open the better future, but one thing we should not never forget, that is never forget about the danger of the wars.


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