Peace and Disarmament
Soka Gakkai Holds Memorial Services for Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Victims
On August 6, 2008, commemorating the 63rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, a service for war victims was conducted at the Soka Gakkai Hiroshima Peace Memorial Hall. Soka Gakkai representatives attended the ceremony together with atomic bombs survivors (hibakusha), bereaved families and descendants to offer prayers for the repose of all victims of atomic bombings, nuclear tests and nuclear plant accidents worldwide.
Yasuko Fujita, who at age of 14 was exposed to the bomb five kilometers from the epicenter while at work as a mobilized student, shared her experience. She recalled a blinding flash, being physically blown away by the force of the explosion, and then losing consciousness. When she came to, spread out before her was complete devastation and black smoke. She heard painful moans seeming to come from nowhere. What she then saw were people hideously burned all over their bodies, wandering throughout the wreckage of the city. Ms. Fujita said "It was nothing but hell. I felt utterly helpless. I could do nothing for the nearly dead people." Emphasizing that the atomic bomb is an absolute evil, she expressed her resolve to work for the sake of peace and to continue speaking about the horrors of war so that children in the future will never have to experience the same tragedy.
Two college students read a poem referencing Hiroshima's atomic bomb memorial, entitled "Peace Dome, Song of Triumph" (tentative) written by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda in 1988 and dedicated to Soka Gakkai members in Hiroshima. Youth Leader Tomohiko Shiota of Hiroshima reported on the youth's recent peace activities. Soka Gakkai Hiroshima Leader Koji Shinohara called on everyone to continue to tirelessly communicate the heart of Hiroshima that is dedicated to eliminating the threat of nuclear weapons and realizing lasting peace.
In Nagasaki, a memorial service was held at the Soka Gakkai Nagasaki Peace Center on August 9. Atomic bomb survivors and bereaved family members gathered to pray for the repose of the victims and to renew their commitment to nuclear abolition and building peace. Atomic bomb survivor Chizuko Kurihara shared her war experience. At age 19, she was about 5.5 kilometers from the epicenter of the atomic bombing. After the war, she saw her friends die one after another from diseases resulting from radiation exposure. Just over 50 years ago, she learned of second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda's declaration calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons and decided to join the Soka Gakkai. She said that through encountering the humanism of Nichiren Buddhism, her indignation toward the atomic bombing has been transformed into passion and action to pursue peace and courageously engage in dialogue.
On August 8, Soka Gakkai Nagasaki Youth hosted Peace Forum 2008 at the same center. Referring to Japan's adoption of the international Convention on Cluster Munitions, Student Peace Committee members cited Mr. Ikeda's 2002 peace proposal in which he wrote about the inhuman nature of cluster munitions or bombs, and noted that his 2008 peace proposal called for early conclusion of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Ayao Imada from the Nagasaki Foundation for the Promotion of Peace stated that during World War II, young people's lives were sacrificed by Japan's militarist education. He expressed his hopes that the Soka Gakkai youth would initiate peace activities and build a future filled with hope.
[The Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) is an international treaty that prohibits the use of cluster bombs, which cause unacceptable harm to civilians. On May 30, 2008, the text of the CCM was formally adopted by 107 countries during the Diplomatic Conference for the Adoption of a Convention on Cluster Munitions held in Dublin, Ireland. The CCM is a result of the Oslo Declaration adopted in February 2007 and will be formally signed in Oslo in December 2008.]
[Adapted from articles in the August 7 and 10, 2008 issues of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]