Junior Writers Reporting

Presentation at “Newspapers in Education” seminar: Take action to hand down A-bomb experience

A seminar on the subject of “Newspapers in Education” (NIE) was organized by the Hiroshima NIE promotion council and held at the Chugoku Shimbun building in downtown Hiroshima. I took part in the “Ponder Peace” youth symposium with Akane Matsuoka, a second-year high school student, and Minori Takemura, in her third year of junior high school, and we gave presentations on our activities and shared our thoughts about peace.

Akane spoke about her experience as a “high school peace ambassador,” visiting Switzerland in August to collect signatures for nuclear abolition. However, she experienced some difficulty because she wasn’t able to make herself understood due to the language barrier. Minori told about serving as an English guide at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and other experiences.

I reported on the highlights of my time working as a junior writer for the Chugoku Shimbun, a role I began in the summer of 2012. First, I discussed our exchange activity with junior high school students in Coventry, England, where we shared views via a video chat. The British students told us that their city has pursued a spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation, not revenge, despite the fact that Coventry was devastated by a German air raid during World War II. I think this history should be handed down to the next generation.

In addition, I talked about an event held by the junior writers in March, where we sought to strengthen ties among groups that are engaged in similar peace activities. I served as the leader of the organizing team and I learned the importance of being proactive.

At the end of my presentation, the moderator of the symposium asked our opinion on realizing a more peaceful world. I made the appeal for the importance of listening directly to the accounts of the A-bomb survivors before this is no longer possible, and handing these accounts down to others.

Minori’s response was: “Peace means being free to live life in our own way. I want to broaden my perspective to include the whole world.” And Akane said: “It’s important to convey these issues from the point of view of young people.” (Takeshi Iwata, 15)

(Originally published on December 23, 2013)