Peace and Disarmament
Hiroshima Study Lectures Exceed 150
Every August 6, peace activists and leaders from around the world gather in Hiroshima to remember victims of the atomic bombing of the city in 1945 and reaffirm their commitment towards a world free of war and nuclear weapons. Since 1989, youth members of Soka Gakkai Hiroshima have organized a Hiroshima Study Lecture Series for the public, inviting various leaders in the field of peace and disarmament worldwide, including hibakusha (A-bomb victims), as guest speakers. In commemoration of the 67th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing, three such lectures were held on August 4 and 5, in conjunction with Soka Gakkai Hiroshima’s annual youth peace meeting.
The number of lectures in the series has now exceeded 150. Guest speaker for the 150th lecture was Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Hiroshima Shin Hyung-keun, with Japan-China Friendship Association Director in Fukuyama City Akihisa Sato and Dean of Morehouse College’s Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel, Dr. Lawrence E. Carter Sr as speakers for the subsequent lectures.
In the 150th lecture on August 4 in Hiroshima City, Mr. Shin Hyung-keun spoke of his father, who was 1.2 kilometers away from the hypocenter at the time of the atomic bombing. While struggling from the effects of exposure to radioactivity as well as discrimination against hibakusha and Korean-Japanese, his father founded what is now called the Korea Atomic Bomb Victim Association in 1967, and in 1974 he became the first non-Japanese to obtain a hibakusha certificate, entitling him to medical allowances. In his lecture, Mr. Shin highlighted the rich heritage of cultural exchange between China, Korea and Japan, and stressed the need for youth of these nations to deepen ties of friendship a based upon an awareness of their shared identity as citizens of East Asia.
At the study lectures (151st and 152nd in the series) held on August 5 in Fukuyama City and Higashi Hiroshima City, Mr. Akihisa Sato emphasized that face-to-face dialogue is a cornerstone of friendship, while Dr. Lawrence E. Carter Sr. discussed methods of responding to the global issues facing our crisis-filled era.
[Adapted from an article in the August 6, 2012, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]