Junior Writers Reporting

Group in Hiroshima conveys the cruelty of the atomic bombing through film showings

“Happy Clover,” a citizens’ group based in Minami Ward, holds a showing of peace films every year, before August 6, at the Danbara Community Center. Around 30 to 40 people, from small children to adults, attend the screening. After watching short animated films about the atomic bombing, the participants listen to the accounts of A-bomb survivors.

The films contain cruel scenes which frighten some of the children and make them unable to continue watching. However, the leader of “Happy Clover,” Midori Fujiwara, 39, explained, “It’s important to show films which present the real horror of the atomic bombing.”

The group was formed about ten years ago after a second-grade girl asked Ms. Fujiwara for help with a homework assignment in which she had to write about peace. When Ms. Fujiwara was a child, her local community regularly organized screenings of A-bomb films. Today, though, with the number of A-bomb survivors declining, children don’t have the same opportunities to learn about peace issues. Ms. Fujiwara was then inspired to create such opportunities.

The film that has left the strongest impression on Ms. Fujiwara is the silent film “Pika-don.” The film shows scenes of daily life, such as children playing and mothers doing housework, and then this world is turned upside down, transformed into the vision of hell that Hiroshima suffered after the A-bomb exploded. Ms. Fujiwara found it a powerful film and decided to show it at the screening held this past summer.

Hideko Yasuda, 11, a sixth grader at Hijiyama Elementary School, watched the film and said, “It made me sad that something like that really happened. When I grow up, I want to continue telling people this fact.”

When the group arranges for A-bomb survivors to share their accounts, they invite survivors who have ties to the local community so that children can feel closer to them. One such survivor had never even described his experience to his family, but he offered his account at the film screening.

Ms. Fujiwara stressed, “Afterward, I hope the people who attend the event will appeal to others, in many fields, that nuclear weapons and war should be abolished.” I myself felt the importance of making this appeal through my work at the newspaper. (Kantaro Matsuo, 14)

(Originally Published on September 23, 2013)