Peace and Disarmament
Soka Gakkai Women Host Peace Forums in Kanagawa, Shiga and Wakayama Prefectures, Respectively
On July 30, the Soka Gakkai Women's Peace Committee sponsored "A Culture of Peace Forum for Mothers and Children" at the Soka Gakkai Kanagawa Culture Center in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture. The event aimed to provide young people with an opportunity to hear directly from speakers affected by war. Two women shared their war experiences. Yoshi Aoyama emigrated to Northeast China and went through many hardships before she returned to Japan after the war. Kazue Otsuka's father was a Korean forcefully brought to Japan during World War II and her mother was an atomic bomb victim in Nagasaki. They emphasized the horrors of war and the significance of peace, and expressed their resolve to build peace in society.
Following songs by the Ginga (Milky Way) Chorus, whose members are from the local Kanagawa boys and girls group, a panel discussion on creating peace featured Yukie Osa (former secretary-general of the Association to Aid Refugees, Japan, and member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines Coordinating Committee); Sachiyo Inubushi (housewife); Eri Takeda (university student); Nami Kamino (junior high school student) and Mikiko Otani (lawyer). Panelists exchanged ideas on regional conflicts and antipersonnel land mines; ideal ways of supporting developing countries; and cross-cultural curriculum activities. They agreed with the importance of further developing "the culture of peace" in one's immediate environment, such as in the family and in school.
Guests attending included renowned photographer Takeyoshi Tanuma, who has traveled to over 120 countries to photograph children and thereby show the world through children's viewpoints. Mr. Tanuma said that women and children suffered most in war and it is crucial to raise public awareness of peace issues through such forums. One of the forum's attendees, a teenage-girl, said she was moved to tears while listening to war experiences for the first time from individuals directly affected by war. She determined to begin doing anything she could for peace.
At the adjacent Toda Peace Memorial Hall, paintings depicting the Battle of Okinawa opened on the same day. The show runs through August 21. Hours are from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Entrance is free.
On the same day, Shiga and Wakayama prefecture women also hosted "A Culture of Peace Forum for Mothers and Children" in their respective locales.