Kenta Kurihara, clean-up hitter for the Hiroshima Carp, blogs on peace

by Yasuhiko Gotanda, Sports Writer

More than a few players of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp have launched personal blogs. As a sports reporter, I must confess that I’m not happy with this development. With the players revealing their daily lives and thoughts on these blogs, reporters have become more hard-pressed for material. Feeling this sort of frustration the other day, too, I checked the blog of Kenta Kurihara, the team’s clean-up hitter, and found an entry entitled “August 6.”

Kurihara wrote on his blog, “I’ve heard that the people of Hiroshima are engaged in peace education from the time they are small children and they think about peace as a matter of course. In my case, though, I wasn’t even able to recognize the date of August 6. Now that August 6 has come again, this is a good opportunity for me to reflect on peace. The Hiroshima Toyo Carp was established by the citizens of Hiroshima at a time when the city still carried scars wrought by the war. I am proud to be a player on this team.”

Born in Yamagata Prefecture, located in the northern part of Japan, Kurihara had never visited Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and had no intention of visiting it. However he was scolded by his wife, a native of Hiroshima. She told him to “make sure you visit the museum.” Since the birth of his daughter, Kurihara has come to hope more strongly for a future of peace in the world. On August 6 this year, after a night game the day before, he woke up early in the morning to offer a silent prayer at 8:15, the first time he has prayed at the time of the bombing.

Baseball is clearly not the only subject this slugger for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp ponders and I’m proud of him for that. Kurihara later told me, “I plan to visit Peace Memorial Museum as soon as I have the chance.” A record number of comments by his fans were posted on his blog in response to his “August 6” entry, including many voicing thoughts on peace.

I now stand corrected. These blogs by the Carp players aren’t bad at all.

(Originally published on August 23, 2008)