2014 Field Trip of Hiroshima Shudo University and Comments from the Students
Some 50 students who are taking the "Hiroshima Studies" course at Hiroshima Shudo University took a tour of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force 1st Service School in Etajima, Hiroshima Prefecture on Saturday, May 10, 2014 to learn more about peace issues.
After the visit to the museum, the students listened to an atomic bomb survivor's testimony. Through these activities, they deepened their knowledge about the realities of the A-bombings.
Excerpts from the students' comments following the field trip (translated from Japanese)
I visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum for the first time since I was an elementary school student. Though I vaguely remembered that visit, I had forgotten many things at the museum. During my visit here as an adult, I was inspired in various ways. Listening to the stories of Mr. Arai, an A-bomb survivor, and of a peace volunteer who guided us through the museum made me almost cry many times. It was my first time listening to the testimony of A-bomb survivor and I learned a lot about Hiroshima in the bomb’s aftermath. I have only seen pictures or other media of the terrain after the A-bombing, but Mr. Arai actually encountered the bomb. What awful things did he encounter at that time? What did he picture in his mind while he was talking? I listened to him while thinking about these things. I imagine that what he spoke of is only a part of what he experienced. There must be many more facts I do not know yet regarding Hiroshima at that time. I need to learn more about them.
The testimony of someone who actually experienced the tragedy was dozens of times more impactful and alarming than many mementos at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and old books my grandmother gave me on the horror of the war. Mr. Arai’s story caused me to feel that damages and suffering caused by wars and A-bombings would never cease. I feel desperate thinking that the aftereffects and pain of losing family and friends would continue to harm the survivors’ bodies and minds even after several decades. I sincerely hope that such tragedies never happen again.
For a long time, I have learned about peace, and I thought I understood the facts of the A-bombing in Hiroshima to some extent. However, when I listen to the testimony of a survivor who was actually exposed the effects of the A-bombing, it went well beyond what I learned from books, materials, and pictures; I felt like I was confronted by the devastation the victims actually witnessed, which we cannot understand through mere facts. I love my family; they are irreplaceable. Imagining what it would be like if what happened to the survivor’s family were to happen to my own… My feelings escape words. Although I cannot fully understand the feelings and pain of those who actually suffered in war, at the very least we can take on the truth of their messages in order to never allow such tragedies to happen again in the future.