2016 Hiroshima study tour by a group of students from
American, Ritsumeikan and Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific Universities

A group of students from American University (USA), Ritsumeikan University (Japan) and Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (Japan) visited Hiroshima as a part of their study tour from Thursday, August 4th to Saturday, August 6th.

Every year, this study tour is jointly organized by American and Ritsumeikan universities. During students' stay in Hiroshima, they learned much about the realities of the atomic bombings and how to build a peaceful world. Their study tour included various activities, such as attending the Peace Memorial Ceremony, and visiting the Peace Memorial Museum, the Radiation Effects Research Foundation and other peace related facilities.

The students' comments following the field trip

Matthew Bell (American University)
The horrific event that transpired on August 6th, 1945 in Hiroshima will forever be inscribed into the consciousness of those who choose not forget the specters of the past. Remembrance of this past tragedy is honored by the Hiroshima Peace Center, whose mission is to educate today’s youth about the dangers of nuclear oblivion. The museum itself serves to honor the memory of those fallen victim to the devastation wrought upon them by nuclear weapons, as well as disseminate a firm message of lasting world peace achieved by anti-nuclear proliferation. Walking through the museum grounds, I was taken aback by the harrowing displays of the personal affects of people who perished from the atomic bomb, as well as the visceral replica of a mother and her child walking through the recently bombed city. I have since lauded the museum to my friends in the United States, and urge anybody with an interest in the promotion of peace to visit Hiroshima and its landmark museum.

Yuka Takeshima (Ritsumeikan University)
In this seminar, I visited Hiroshima for the time since my field trip in elementary school, and heard the stories of Hibakusha. I had only been able to feel the fear when I saw the exhibits at the peace museum before, but this time, I was able to think deeply about what we could pass on to the next generation in order not to repeat the same tragedy. We are the last generation that have access to Hibakusha’s story directly from their mouth. Keeping the stories and voices of Hibakusha in our mind, I strongly felt that we have to consider seriously what we can do for the peace of our future.

Azumi Nishida (Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University)
My grandmother was a victim of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. I can never forget how she looked down, suppressed tears, and strained her voice when she told me about atomic bomb. However, because I did not experience it directly like she did, I do not have any feeling of hatred towards Americans at all. That’s why I decided to join this seminar in order to know what both Japanese and American students think about the war and how their preconceived ideas have changed. What remains in my mind the most strongly is the ceremony of floating lanterns (toro-nagashi) on August 6th. One student from American University started to shed tears while looking at the floating lanterns. I never knew whether his tears was for the sight of the lights in the darkness or the tragedy of 71 years ago that he associated from the sight. But from this, I did feel that we could understand each other by heart, no matter where we stand or originate.


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