Soka Gakkai International
Buddhism in Action for Peace
On May 11, Soka Gakkai youth members in Kansai, Japan, held a peace festival at the Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium themed “Create a World Free From Nuclear Weapons—The Future Is Yours to Change!” The event was organized as a part of the ongoing SOKA Global Action peace campaign initiated by the youth of Soka Gakkai Japan at the start of 2014. Some 10,000 people from across the Kansai region attended the festival.
The results of a survey on students’ attitudes toward peace and the abolition of nuclear weapons in the Kansai region were announced at the festival. The survey, conducted in April 2014 by local members of the Soka Gakkai Student Division, was carried out among some 800 students from 58 universities and vocational schools in the region.
Aimi Shirakata and Masayuki Kozuka, both grandchildren of hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) also spoke. Their determination to work for the abolition of nuclear weapons was ignited by the experiences of their grandfather and grandmother respectively during and following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (An interview with Mr. Kozuka’s grandmother can be viewed here.)
The festival also featured performances by Soka Gakkai youth choral and musical groups, including a performance on a piano that survived the Hiroshima bombing.
From May 12 to 18, SGI-Korea organized a showing of the exhibition “Everything You Treasure—For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons,” jointly created by SGI and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), at the National Assembly Members’ Office Building in Seoul. Supporting agencies included the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Yonhap News Agency.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, former prime minister Lee Soo-sung depicted the human ego and its propensity for selfishness as being more frightening than nuclear weapons. Twelve representatives from the National Assembly of Korea also attended, including Lee Byung-suk, then a vice speaker of the National Assembly.
related article Faith Communities Unite Against Nuclear Weapons at ICAN Civil Society Forum; Issue Joint Statement Prior to the holding of the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons from December 8-9 at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) held a Civil Society Forum (CSF) from December 6-7 at the Aula der Wissenchaften. The CSF was attended by more than 600 people from 70 countries representing 100 organizations. The same exhibition was also shown on June 2 at the Fujisawa Citizens’ Hall in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, as a side event of a meeting marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the National Council of Japan Nuclear Free Local Authorities. Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue, Fujisawa Mayor Tsuneo Suzuki, and Yuko Nakamura, president of the Kanagawa Atomic Bomb Sufferers Association and an assistant general Secretary of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, attended the opening.
[Adapted from articles in the May 13, 17 and June 3, 2014, issues of Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun and SGI-Korea]
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