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Friday, May 01, 2009

Invitation to Canadian Students to Join Hiroshima/Nagasaki Tour 2009

* We have now closed applications for the 2009 program. For 2010 program, please contact info@peacephilosophy.com
Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Exchange Tour

July 31 – August 10, 2009

A Special Invitation to Canadian Students

Professor Atsushi Fujioka of Ritsumeikan University is pleased to extend a special invitation to up to three Canadian students (students enrolled in a full-time program at a Canadian university or college) to participate in The Peace Exchange Tour. The Tour has been run successfully for the past 15 years, bringing together Japanese and North American students to learn from the history of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Professor Fujioka offers a scholarship of 30,000 yen (approx. $300) to up to three Canadian students.

Program Themes: Canadian participants visit Hiroshima and Nagasaki, join students from Japan and the U.S., and work together to:
  • gain first-hand knowledge of the human, historical, and environmental impact of the atomic bombings;

  • learn about past and current international initiatives undertaken to eliminate nuclear weapons;

  • build close ties with one another to work collaboratively for a peaceful future.


Dates: July 31 (Fri.) – August 10 (Mon.), 2009

Destinations: Kyoto – Hiroshima – Nagasaki

Accompanying Faculty and Staff:

Professor Atsushi Fujioka, Ritsumeikan University, Department of Economics
Professor Peter Kuznick, American University, Nuclear Studies Institute
Koko Kondo, Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor, and graduate of American University
Satoko Norimatsu, Director of Peace Philosophy Centre and instructor at UBC Centre for Intercultural Communication

Program Description:

The world was shaken by the attack on World Trade Centers in New York, and by the U.S.-led war against Iraq. Tensions remain high in the Middle East and on the Korean Peninsula around the issue of nuclear development, and global military competition has expanded into Space. How can we straighten the tangled strings of hate and revenge, and find a way out from the vicious circle of violence and war?

Nobody can give an easy answer. Hiroshima and Nagasaki can, however, provide fertile starting points for thinking about these issues and can give us courage and wisdom for dealing with the challenges they pose. The objective of this program is to place ourselves squarely in these world-historically important places, commemorate the 64th anniversary of the atomic bombings, and join with students from around the world to explore what means we have to seek reconciliation among foes, the creation of peace, and the survival of humankind.

The debate over the A-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and its historical significance as the dawning of the “Nuclear Age,” remains contentious. Wide gaps appear to remain among the understandings of American, Japanese and other Asian peoples. Ritsumeikan University and the American University in Washington, D.C. jointly developed and run this exchange program in order to fill these gaps. In 1995, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum cancelled its planned A-bomb exhibit. This incident motivated the American University to hold its own A-bomb exhibit and extend invitations to the Mayor of Hiroshima as well as many survivors. This event inspired the birth of this program, which this year marks its 15th anniversary.

The Peace Exchange Tour Program remains student-led: its past participants are actively involved with its planning and coordination. Key concerns for research and discussion include: 1) What happened under the mushroom clouds of the A-bombs? 2) Was A-bombing a ‘necessary evil,’ or a ‘malicious war crime’? 3) Is it possible to abolish nuclear weapons, or are they useful for security? 4) What can we do to overcome the vicious circle of hate and war, and to promote international understanding and cooperation?

There will be 10 to 15 U.S. participants who will apply through the American University. The main text for discussion will be John Hersey’s classic reportage “Hiroshima,” which first informed Americans of the horrific conditions in Hiroshima following the A-bombing. Accompanying this year’s participants will be Koko Kondo, who appears in Hersey’s book as the youngest baby hibakusha. Ms Kondo is the first daughter of Rev. Kiyoshi Tanimoto, leader of the Hiroshima Maiden Project which brought young female hibakusha to the U.S. for treatment of facial scarring caused by a-bombing.

Program participants are expected to be engaged in peace studies, open to an experiential style of learning, and interested in learning more about the language and culture of Japan. The primary language of the tour will be English. Some Japanese participants will have beginner’s level English skills. North American students are requested to join their Japanese peers and communicate with respect and mutual understanding.

Program Itinerary (subject to change):

July 31(Fri.) - Program start in Kyoto
August 1(Sat) - Sightseeing in Kyoto, and Welcome Party

August 2(Sun) - Visit Ritsumeikan International Peace Museum, Workshop/Lecture

August 3(Mon) - Visit the War Exhibit at Ritsumeikan International Peace Museum, Workshop/ Lecture, and a field trip in Kyoto

August 4(Tue) - Leave for Hiroshima/visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

August 5(Wed) - Visit sites referred to in John Hersey’s “Hiroshima” / mid-term debriefing

August 6(Thu) - Attend the Hiroshima Memorial Ceremony, and visit with hibakusha and related organizations

August 7(Fri) - Discussion with the Mayor of Hiroshima / leave for Nagasaki / visit the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum

August 8 (Sat) - Visit hibakusha / field trips to war-related sites in Nagasaki

August 9 (Sun) - Memorial Ceremony at Shiroyama Elementary School / Attend Nagasaki City’s Memorial Ceremony / visit Gunkan Island (optional)/Farewell Party

August 10 (Mon) - Wrap-up workshop / program ends in Nagasaki around noon / AU students take train to Tokyo / overnight in Tokyo (it is optional for Canadian participants to join AU’s trip to Tokyo)

August 11(Tue) - Optional program in Tokyo / AU students leave Japan

* For July 31st, program staff are able upon request to make meet-and-greet arrangements at Itami (Osaka) International Airport. Following the end of the program around noon on August 10th participants will be responsible for making their own travel arrangements, though program staff will be available to give basic travel advice.

Required Reading: “Hiroshima” by John Hersey (1946, 1985), Random House

Program Fee: 46,000 yen (approx. 460 Canadian dollars; will fluctuate according to changes in current exchange rates)

(*) Students who qualify for the Ritsumeikan subsidy of 30,000 yen (approx. $300) will be informed by program staff at the time of registration confirmation. Program fees for students receiving the subsidy will be 16,000 yen (approx. $160).

Program fee includes:

  • 10-night accommodation from the night of July 31st to August 9 (4 nights in Kyoto, 3 nights in Hiroshima, 3 nights in Nagasaki)
  • Costs associated with all group activities such as museum admission, local transportation, welcome and farewell parties, honoraria to guest speakers and staff, and all administrative and coordination costs.

Participating students are responsible for arranging and paying for the following:

  • Return airfare to and from Japan
  • Transportation within Japan from the point of arrival to Kyoto, and from Nagasaki to the point of departure
  • Overseas Travel Insurance (mandatory - check your insurance coverage with your university or college)
  • One-week Japan Rail Pass valid from August 4 to 10 (2-week one may be more convenient depending on your travel schedule before and after the program)
    *The pass can only be purchased OUTSIDE of Japan. Canadian participants must make their purchase PRIOR to departure.
    * The cost to participants of the Pass may vary according to Japan Rail price changes and current exchange rates. As of April 18, 2009, the Japan Rail price for a one-week pass is 28,300 yen, or approximately C$283. For information on Japan Rail Pass, go to: http://www.japanrailpass.net/eng/en001.html
  • Accommodation costs other than the 10 nights included in the Program
  • Meals, other than meals for the Welcome Party and Farewell Party
  • All costs associated with activities such as sightseeing, small group field trips, and the optional visit to Gunkan Island in Nagasaki.
  • All other personal expenses


Eligibility: full-time students (undergraduate or graduate) at a Canadian university or college, who are not originally from Japan – up to three students. Priority will be given to students who are coming back to Canada after the program ends to participate in the special reporting event to take place in September or October 2009. * Participants must hold a valid passport and visa necessary to enter and stay in Japan for the duration of the program. It is the responsibility of participants to check if visa is required to enter Japan with the passport that they hold.

Registration Procedure: Submit your CV (not more than 2 pages) and a cover letter describing why you would like to participate in this program and what you expect to gain from the experience. Send by email to Satoko Norimatsu info@peacephilosophy.com. Due to the limited space, we will conduct an interview either by phone or in person.

Program Inquiries:
Satoko Norimatsu
Peace Philosophy Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Email: info@peacephilosophy.com Phone: 604-619-5627

Additional Information:

American University's Nuclear Studies Institute

Comments from Participants of the 2008 Program

Program Information of 2008 with Photos

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