Junior Writers Reporting

HOPE Project lends A-bombed piano for concerts

HOPE Project, a group based in Saeki Ward, Hiroshima, lends out a piano that survived the atomic bombing for performances and peace gatherings, and provides background on the instrument’s history.

Every August 6, the group holds a concert with the piano in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome in Naka Ward. They hope to bring the sound of the A-bombed piano to as many people as possible.

At the time of the atomic bombing, the piano was located in Mitaki-cho (part of present-day Nishi Ward), and the blast sent fragments of glass flying into the wood. The owner of the piano, Akiko Kawamoto, experienced the atomic bombing while working for the war effort, as a mobilized student, in Noborimachi (part of present-day Naka Ward). She was able to return to her home in Mitaki-cho, but passed away the next day.

Tomie Futakuchi, 64, the leader of the group, was Ms. Kawamoto’s neighbor and she was given the piano when Ms. Kawamoto’s house was torn down in 2004. Ms. Futakuchi then began using the piano in peace activities.

In September 2013, the group staged a concert in Hiroshima that brought together the A-bombed piano and a violin made of driftwood from the tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake. At that time, the members were asked to bring the piano to Tohoku to convey its sound to the people in the earthquake zone. Ms. Futakuchi said, “The piano is getting old now, so it’s hard to move it around, but we want to do our best so that people can experience it.”

The organizers of such concerts are responsible for the expenses, including moving costs and tuning of the instrument. “I think the piano wanted to continue playing music,” Ms. Futakuchi said. “Today we have peace, so the piano can play its music. I want to keep going, sharing the sound of the piano in Akiko’s memory.” (Shino Taniguchi, 14)

(Originally published on October 21, 2013)