French student makes materials about Hiroshima in French, guides visitors around A-bomb Dome

by Michiko Tanaka, Staff Writer

Aurelie Deguanello, 23, a graduate student from France, has been guiding tourists around the Atomic Bomb Dome as a volunteer guide, hoping to help people who want to deepen their understanding of Hiroshima. She will stay with the family of an A-bomb survivor until the end of August and tell people in her mother tongue about the devastation of the atomic bombing.

Wearing a tag which reads “free guide” in French, Ms. Deguanello has been offering her services around the A-bomb Dome as a member of the volunteer group FIG. On request, she guides French-speaking visitors to monuments in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and to nearby temples. On July 23, she led visitors from Quebec, Canada, around the Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound and other places, showing them materials she prepared in French.

Ms. Deguanello, who has an interest in nuclear issues, first visited Hiroshima this past March, seeking a theme for her thesis. She said that she did not learn much about the atomic bombing at school and that she never talked about her own country’s possession of nuclear weapons with her friends. “I realized how little I knew,” she said.

Ms. Deguanello frequently visited Kosei Mito, 68, the leader of the group FIG, at his home in the town of Fuchu over the course of about a month before she returned to France at the end of April. She met Mr. Mito in front of the A-bomb Dome. Mr. Mito, whose mother was pregnant with him when she was exposed to the atomic bomb, told her about the effects of A-bomb radiation and the discrimination survivors endured after the war ended.

Ms. Deguanello came back to Hiroshima in late June. She is now staying with Mr. Mito and accompanies him when he goes to the A-bomb Dome. She said, “I still have a great deal to learn. I hope to write my next research paper on nuclear energy.”

(Originally published on July 24, 2014)