Junior Writers Reporting

Hiroshima Boys’ Choir appeals for peace through music

The Hiroshima Boys’ Choir, based in Naka Ward, currently totals 29 members from the first grade of elementary school to the first year of high school. Founded in 1960, it was among a number of boys’ choirs that were established in Japan in the wake of a tour by the Vienna Boys’ Choir. However, as time passed, most of these groups disbanded, leaving only seven boys’ choirs left in Japan, including the Hiroshima Boys’ Choir.

The Hiroshima Boys’ Choir appeals for peace through their music, conveying a message of “love and peace” in an annual concert held each fall.

Every year on August 6, at the Peace Memorial Ceremony in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, choir members from the third grade and above, along with their parents and former members of the group, come together to sing. Yuki Yasumoto, 13, a second-year student at Ushita Junior High School in Higashi Ward and a member of the choir since first grade, said, “People from all over the world watch the ceremony, so I feel a duty to do my best.”

Each June, the choir takes part in a memorial ceremony for Marcel Junod, a Swiss doctor who made a large delivery of medical supplies in the aftermath of the atomic bombing and helped treat A-bomb survivors.

One song about peace has become a signature song for the group. Titled “Orizuru no tobu hi” (“The Day the Paper Crane Flies”), the song is about Sadako Sasaki, a girl who died of radiation-induced leukemia at the age of 12, ten years after she was exposed to the atomic bomb.

A new member who joined the choir this past June, Takumi Funamoto, 11, a fifth grader at Kogo Elementary School in Nishi Ward, said, “I like the choir because everyone can be friends by singing together.” I hope their music will convey their wish for peace to the world. (Written and photographed by Takeshi Iwata, 14)

(Originally published on August 5, 2013)