Junior Writers Reporting

Youth share ideas at “Newspapers in Education” seminar

A seminar exploring the use of “Newspapers in Education” was held in downtown Hiroshima on December 8. I took part in this seminar, along with other students from elementary school, junior high school, and high school, and proposed ways to use newspapers in peace education activities. I expressed ideas like students having the opportunity to serve as “journalists” is a valuable experience, and the chance to hear a variety of views broadens our way of thinking.

I shared the activities of the junior writers for the Chugoku Shimbun, a group I joined when I was in my third year in junior high. I told about an interview I conducted with an atomic bomb survivor, who said, “Children and civilians always become the victims of war. I hope you will work to create a peaceful world.” It was this interview that impressed upon me how important it is to hand down the thoughts of the A-bomb survivors.

Before I started serving as a junior writer, I hadn’t heard any accounts of the atomic bombing and I hadn’t been very interested in peace issues. However, when I began reporting on the peace efforts being made by children of the same age, that inspired me to help organize a gathering of youth from Japan and overseas where we discussed the challenges of nuclear abolition.

At the seminar, I also presented an article the junior writers wrote about “okonomiyaki,” a local Hiroshima specialty which became popular during the time of reconstruction after the atomic bombing. “Articles that feature things familiar to us, from the perspective of kids, makes them easier to follow,” I said.

Someone from the audience asked the question: “What do you expect of teachers, when it comes to peace education?” In response, a junior high school student replied, “I’d like teachers to create opportunities to discuss articles found in the newspaper.” (Junichi Akiyama, 16)

(Originally published on December 24, 2012)