Hiroshima Peace Park student volunteer guides produce and promote English video as overseas visitor numbers decline

by Kyoko Niiyama, Staff Writer

The Youth Peace Volunteers—a group of Hiroshima Prefecture high school and university students that leads tours of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima’s Naka Ward for overseas tourists—has recently produced a video in English introducing memorial monuments in the park that it has posted on the Mayors for Peace organization’s website. Through the video, the group plans to promote the A-bombed city of Hiroshima online to tourists who are unable to visit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The video runs about 30 minutes in length. In the video, members of the group introduce ten monuments, such as the Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims, the Rest House, and the Memorial Tower Dedicated to the Mobilized Students, in a storyline structure. The members explain the background behind the construction of the memorial monuments, as well as their appearances before and after the atomic bombing. In front of the Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound, they call on viewers to “have a moment of silence,” after referring to the fact that the unclaimed remains of an estimated roughly 70,000 A-bomb victims have been interred inside.

Twenty-six volunteers began working on the video last November. They divided into four groups to film the video, which they also edited themselves.

The Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation initiated the Youth Peace Volunteer project in fiscal 2019 and has since provided training to the young volunteers. A total of 47 students have participated in the project to date. Last fiscal year, the volunteers learned how to give tours in English by attending seven training sessions, including one to practice English pronunciation, from Hiroshima Peace Volunteers at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Nevertheless, the volunteers never had the opportunity to provide guided tours to tourists because of measures taken by Hiroshima City to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Yu Marukawa, 17, a third-year student at Hiroshima Municipal Motomachi Senior High School and a resident of the city’s Nishi Ward, said, “I hope people learn about the devastation caused by the atomic bombing through the video in advance and travel to Hiroshima once the pandemic situation has settled down.”

(Originally published on April 26, 2021)