On August 6, 2009, commemorating the 64th anniversary of the dropping of the first atomic bomb, a service in solemn tribute to war victims was conducted at the Soka Gakkai Hiroshima Peace Memorial Hall. Soka Gakkai representatives attended the ceremony together with atomic bomb survivors (hibakusha), bereaved families and descendants of the victims to offer prayers for the repose of all victims of atomic bombings, nuclear tests and nuclear-related accidents worldwide.
At the service, Mr. Yoshinobu Yamashita, who was exposed to the bomb while in his mother’s womb, shared his experience and his determination to continue to talk about the horrors of nuclear weapons. Hiroshima Youth Leader Tomohiko Shiota stated, “We, young people in Hiroshima, should take the initiative to dedicate our lives to abolishing nuclear weapons as part of our mission as Buddhists.”
After the memorial service, the Soka Gakkai Hiroshima Women’s Peace Committee (WPC) held a meeting where hibakusha shared their experiences. Emiko Yamanaka, an atomic bomb survivor whose parents died as a result of the bombing, expressed her resolve to work for the sake of peace and to continue describing the horrors of war to younger generations.
In Nagasaki, a memorial service was held at the Soka Gakkai Nagasaki Peace Center on August 9. Hibakusha and bereaved family members renewed their commitment to nuclear abolition and building peace. At the memorial service, Ms. Toyomi Hashimoto’s experience was introduced through a screening of the DVD “Testimonies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Women Speak Out for Peace” created by Soka Gakkai International.
On August 8 at the same venue, the Soka Gakkai Nagasaki Youth Division hosted Peace Forum 2009, with the theme “Dialogue with courage! Create waves of peace!” Nagasaki Youth Leader Kenichiro Eguchi called on everyone to carry on the spirit of second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda, who made a historic speech calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons in 1957, in which he declared that nuclear weapons are an absolute evil. Mr. Eguchi also encouraged young people to learn from SGI’s peace activities dedicated to eliminating the threat of nuclear weapons and to be pioneers in creating a nuclear weapon-free world.
[Adapted from an article in the August 7 and 10, 2009 issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan]