Peace and Disarmament

Back to listAug 10, 2006

Nagasaki Soka Gakkai Remembers Atomic Bomb Victims and War Dead on 61st Anniversary of the Dropping of the A-bomb

Nagasaki Soka Gakkai members pray for peace and repose of war dead

On August 9, commemorating the 61st anniversary of the second atomic bombing, Nagasaki Soka Gakkai members participated in a World Peace Prayer service in solemn remembrance of atomic bomb victims and victims of all wars throughout the world, at the Soka Gakkai Nagasaki Peace Center in Nagasaki City.

In contrast to the uranium packed a-bomb dropped on Hiroshima, the a-bomb used on Nagasaki was plutonium-based. To all those who argue that the dropping of the atomic bomb was unavoidable for the swiftest end to the war, Nagasaki citizens retort: "Why, then, was a second atomic bombing necessary?" In his "Declaration for the Abolition of the Atomic Bomb," made to youth at Mitsuzawa Stadium in Yokohama on September 8, 1957, second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda clearly condemned the use of nuclear weapons that threaten the lives of innocent people as criminal under any circumstances. He harshly denounced the idea that people's lives must sometimes be sacrificed for the sake of a greater good as "the one great evil"--a distortion that gave rise to the nuclear bomb, and wars in general.

During the memorial peace prayer led by a local leader, participants affirmed their resolve to work for the abolition of nuclear weapons, their mandate as practitioners of the life-affirming philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism. Isao Yoshida, a Soka Gakkai leader and an atomic bomb victim, recounted his personal war experience. Mr. Yoshida was four years old on that fateful day 61 years ago, when he suffered light burns from the atomic bomb that hit 3.9 kilometers from where he stood. The city was one giant inferno. He saw an endless procession of badly burned people running for cover into air raid shelters. There, cucumbers were used to patch their oozing wounds as emergency aid. Even today, whenever he sees cucumbers he vividly recalls those horrific scenes. For 48 years, Mr. Yoshida never shared his war experience with anyone. One day after turning 50, Mr. Toda's "Declaration for the Abolition of the Atomic Bomb" caught his attention. With a belief that the atomic bomb is a manifestation of the evil tendency that lurks in human life itself, Mr. Toda earnestly called on youth to take on the mission of promulgating the abolition of nuclear weapons and protecting people's inviolable right to life. Today, Mr. Yoshida continues to share his experience and serves as a councilor for the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivors Conference and consultant to the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, giving advice to and supporting victims and their families. He vows to continue working until every single nuclear weapon has been abolished.

At the end of the memorial service, representatives of the younger generation read aloud a peace declaration.