Junior Writers Reporting

Junior writers discuss reconciliation as the road to peace with British teens

Seven members of the junior writers, students in Hiroshima who write for the Chugoku Shimbun, exchanged views on peace via an Internet video link with 13- and 14-year-old British students who live in Coventry, England. In November 1940, during World War II, the city of Coventry suffered a devastating air raid by Nazi Germany.

However, the people of the city called not for revenge, but for reconciliation, and this spirit endures there today.

The junior writers interacted with about 100 students at the King Henry VIII School, asking them, “After all the destruction of the air raid, how were the people of Coventry able to find a spirit of reconciliation?”

One of the students there responded: “It doesn’t mean that all Germans were bad. The government policy which brought about the air raid was wrong.” If more people in the world could have this same spirit of reconciliation, conflict could be prevented, I felt.

The discussion also touched on what the young people of Hiroshima and Coventry can do to promote peace in the world. Both sides agreed on the importance of learning in depth what happened in each city during the war.

Before the interaction took place, the students in both places watched a documentary film which relates the A-bomb experience of Keiji Nakazawa, the Japanese manga artist known for the Barefoot Gen series. The students in Coventry were asked for their impressions of the film, and they responded that it was shocking, but that it clearly conveyed the reality of the bombing. I feel satisfied that they were able to learn about the atomic bombing, to some degree.

Someday, I would like to visit Coventry and see the remnants of the war and hear the experiences of the people who survived the air raid. (Takeshi Iwata, 14)

(Originally published on July 15, 2013)