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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Can Hatoyama Government Save Article 9 and Build Peace in Asia? UBC Political Scientist Yves Tiberghien's Talk

At Nikkei Heritage Centre last night, UBC's political scientist Yves Tiberghien gave a compelling talk on the implications of Japan's new coalition government led by Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to Japan's foreign policy, Article 9, and how we can realize Hatoyama's vision of an "East Asian Community." See here for a detailed report on Vancouver Save Article 9's blog.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kinuko Laskey's Bust Unveiled at Seaforth Peace Park ラスキー絹子さんの銅像 バンクーバー シーフォース平和公園に設置

Late Hiroshima Hibakusha (A-bomb survivor) Kinuko Laskey's Bust was unveiled at Vancouver's Seaforth Peace Park, at a ceremony held at 1 PM, on the warm and sunny Saturday, October 24th.
広島の被爆者、故ラスキー絹子さんの胸像がバンクーバーのシーフォース平和公園に設置され、10月24日(土)1時から、除幕式が開かれました。
The event was attended by around 50 people, including David Laskey, Kinuko's husband, Nanami, Kinuko and David's daughter, Bill Saunders, President of Vancouver and District Labour Council that sponsored this project, and Dunc Shields, brother of artist Keith Shields who sculpted Kinuko's Bust. Keith passed away this past winter.
式に参加したのは50人ほどで、絹子さんの夫のデイビッド・ラスキーさん、娘のナナミさん、この胸像のスポンサーとなったバンクーバーおよび地域労働評議会会長のビル・ソンダースさん、胸像を作った彫刻家のキース・シールズさんの弟のダンク・シールズさん等が出席しました。キースさんは昨冬、亡くなられています。
The inscription says,
KINUKO LASKEY
KINUKO LASKEY WAS A SIXTEEN YEAR OLD NURSE WHO SURVIVED TH
E BOMBING OF HIROSHIMA.
SHE MOVED TO VANCOUVER IN 1954 AND FOR MANY YEARS WAS UNABLE TO SPEAK OF HER EXPERIENCE. IN 1982 SHE BROKE HER SILENCE AND BEGAN WHAT BECAME A LIFELONG WORK AS A PEACE EDUCATOR AND ACTIVIST. THIS BUST HONOURS
KINUKO'S LIFE AND HER WORK.
SPONSOR: VANCOUVER AND DISTRICT LABOUR
COUNCIL IS PROUD TO DEDICATE THIS MONUMENT
TO KINUKO LASKEY'S MEMORY.
SCULPTOR: KEITH SHIELDS
碑文はこのように述べています。
ラスキー絹子
ラスキー絹子さんは、広島で被爆した当時、16歳の看護婦でした。1954年にバンクーバーに来たあと、長い間、体験について話すことはできませんでした。しかし1982年にその沈黙を破り、平和教育と活動にその余生を捧げました。この胸像は、絹子さんの人生とその業績を讃えるも
のです。
提供:バンクーバーおよび地域労働評議会はラスキー絹子さんを記念してこの銅像
を捧げます。
彫刻家:キース・シールズ
(Photos by Walter Matsuda 写真 ウォルター・松田)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Salon on Peace Constitution

Thank you again for another fulfilling and engaging salon, attended by 15 people.

We watched John Junkerman's 2005 Film "Japan's Peace Constitution."

We talked about a variety of issue during discussion. Among the thoughts shared -

  • It is understandable that the change of Article 9 could be a threat to fellow Asian nations. We should not change Article 9. I wonder why we cannot say to the international community, like UN, that we have this constitution that does not allow us to dispatch SDF overseas, instead of succumbing to the pressure from the U.S.
  • Being new in Vancouver, I was touched by the kindness of my Chinese friends. Some of my Japanese friends, however, have prejudice against Chinese people, and it is disappointing. Think about what Japan did in China during the war. Think about how Chinese people lovingly raised Japanese orphans left in Manchuria. Peace education in Japan is biased in the way that there is too much emphasis in portraying Japan as a victim of war.
  • I read this interesting article in which it is argued that Article 9 is an experiment on limited sovereignty of the state. The international efforts like the United Nations and its Charter is in a way limitation on state sovereignty as well.
  • Related to above, I think Article 9 also limits Japan's ability to engage in international peace efforts that put limit on state sovereignty. We should change Article 9 in a way that Japan can actively participate in international peace keeping operations, only with the sanction of the United Nations.
  • Japan's new Prime Minsiter Yukio Hatoyama proposed this "East Asian Community" concept during the ASEAN + 3 Conference. I think Article 9 should be kept in order to achieve this Community, so Japan is never a military threat to other nations.
  • Article 9 being an apology for fellow Asian nations - is it really? Do people in China and Korea know about Article 9?
  • Article 9 is ironically known in Asia because of the Japanese government's pressure to change it.
  • It is a good idea for Japan to shift their foreign policy orientation from the US to UN, but UN structure and governance have many flaws. Its Security Council consists of only the victors of the past war, and the veto gives too much power and control to the permanent members of the Security Council.
  • It is dangerous to change Article 9 while Japan is still so heavily reliant on its alliance with the US. Without Article 9, there would be no limit on the obligation to engage in military acts with US.
  • It is true that Article 9 debate is not a domestic one; it is an international issue.
  • I heard that Kenji Isezaki, who represented UN to help areas of conflict with disarmament and peace negotiations, was able to gain trust in those areas because he came from the country with Articled 9, a war-renunciation clause in its Constitution.
  • In Japan, we don't get to learn much about what Japan did to other countries, especially fellow Asians, during the war. There is a lot for education to do.

There were many more interesting points raised, which I will allow the other participants to comment on if they like.

Segueing from the last point about the lack of education in Japan about its acts during the war, we will introduce Celine Rumalean's 2002 film "Yesterday Is Now" in our next salon. Mark Saturday November 14. I will post more information later.

Love and peace,

Satoko

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Salon This Weekend - Japan's Peace Constitution

Welcome to the second Peace Philosophy Salon of this fall!

Theme of this week: Japan's Peace Constiutution

Date and Time: 7 PM - 9:30 PM, Saturday October 24

(to join dinner, please arrive by 6:00 PM)

Place: Peace Philosophy Centre (email info@peacephilosophy.com for direction)

*The Constitution of Japan was born after a painful lesson of Japan's wars of Asia-Pacific (1931 - 1945) that cost the humanity over 20 million of lives and long suffering of victims, survivors and their families that continue still today. This Constitution, which was promulgated on November 3, 1946, and came into effect on May 3, 1947, and its principle of peace, popular sovereignty, and fundamental human rights have been embraced by the people of Japan and beyond for the past 63 years. At the same time, there have been pressures, from Japan's own government and that of the United States, which still uses its influence on Japan and its policies long after the post-war occupation was over in 1952, to change the Constitution, especially its war-renouncing Article 9, as an obstacle for more aggressive re-militarization of Japan and its use of the right of collective self-defense, which is virtually the right of engaging in combat activities outside of Japan in collaboration with the United States. In this salon, we will look at Japan's Constitution from historical and current geopolitical perspectives and discuss its domestic and international significance.

* We will order some food (maybe sushi this time) and start our dinner at around 6:30 PM. If you would like to join, please be at the Centre by 6:00 sharp. We will order based on the number of people we have then. The budget will be about $5-8 per person.

*Snack and drink donation are welcome.

*Donations to help with salon expenses are welcome.

*This event is primarily conducted in English, but limited translation will be available in Japanese and Mandarin.

RSVP : to info@peacephilosophy.com by October 23. Let us know whether you will join dinner or not.

* The following Peace Philosophy Salon dates this term will be: November 14, November 2 8, and December 5 (all Saturday evenings).

* "Peace Philosophy Salon" is held mostly on Saturday evenings at Peace Philosophy Centre in Vancouver, BC, Canada. It is an informal gathering in which we learn and discuss current issues of interest. Sometimes we watch documentary films together and other times we have guest speakers. We have basic structure of each event, but content and process are organic and flexible, depending on the needs and interests of participants. Satoko acts as a facilitator of dialogue and discussion. It is a space for mutual learning and empowerment.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Peace Philosophy Salon-Fall session commenced!

On October 17, Peace Philosophy Centre held the first salon for this fall!


In addition to usual members from this spring session, we were happy to welcome new faces too. We had 6 university students this time, out of 9 participants in total, and we had very stimulating and interesting discussion over this question, "What do you think how the world has been changed after A-bombing?".



As Hiroshima/Nagasaki follow-up session, this time we watched a film "Days that shook the world - Hiroshima". This film illustrates the minute by minute events leading up to the world's first ever atomic bombing. This film closely looks at American soldiers who were involved in dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, and personally, I found it interesting to see the circumstances and experiences American soldiers went through to accomplish their mission- to drop the bomb.



If you are interested in and want to know more about Enola Gay crews, here is a suggested article to read written by Peter Kuznick: Defending the Indefensible: A Meditation on the Life of Hiroshima Pilot Paul Tibbets, Jr.



To an extend, Meg suggested us to think about making an action to encourage some cities that haven't joined yet, such as White Rock, to be a part of "Mayor of Peace". Satoko-san suggested that maybe we can work on to make every city in BC to be members of the organization by 2010 February, and if possible, this could be mentioned at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Olympics.



While discussing this, there was an opinion that grassroots movements might not be enough since the State has, after all, the most powerful and influential roles in both national and global politics.



Personally, it may sound too naive or idealistic to some people, but I do believe we actually don't need to discuss what "the State" is, what the "sovereignty" is, what the "human nature" is, and so forth to create a social change. How to make a social change is actually very simple(I know it's not "easy"), as I believe happiness should be very simple thing.



How simple?



Let's say, if you really care about your friends, you want them to be happy. If your friend is not happy, you are not happy. If your friend is happy, then you are happy too. I want to believe that happiness is as simple as that, and I want to believe social change should be start from our heart and soul.



Because you want your friend to be happy, if he/she is in trouble, you will do something. You just feel you must do something for them. If you care about him/her from bottom of your heart, and if you put your soul in it, you can't just ignore. We want to learn, think, share, and do something, because we care about it and put our heart/soul in the concern we have. It's not only individual-level, but I think we can apply this to any kinds of issues (politics, economics, and so on) if "people" mattered.



This is what I felt from this week's salon.



今回参加したみなさん、サロンに関する感想やコメントがあったら是非聞かせて下さい:)




Cheers,

Shoko

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Vancouver Save Article 9 Event: Hatoyama Administration's Impact on Foreign Policy and Article 9 バンクーバー九条の会の講演 - 鳩山新政権が外交政策や改憲問題にもたらす影響

(Scroll down for Japanese version of this notice. 日本語版はこの案内の下にあります)

A Talk by Yves Tiberghien, Associate Professor of Political Science at UBC

" New Hatoyama Administration's Implication for Japan's Foreign Policy and the Constitutional Revision Issue"

Date and Time:7 - 9 PM, October 28 (Wed.)

Place: Kaede Room 2nd Floor, National Nikkei Heritage Centre
6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby BC
(Underground parking available. See this link for directions)

The August 30 General Election in Japan ended with a landslide victory for the Democratic Party of Japan and the devastating defeat of the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party. In light of this, how will the new coalition government tackle the issues surrounding the much debated revisions to The Constitution, specifically Article 9? Some leaders of the DPJ claim that they wish to establish a more equal relationship with the U.S., yet in reality, how does that affect or change policies between the two nations such as the Japan-US Security Treaty, the disputed relocation of Futenma Air Base, the SDF's refuelling mission inthe Indian Ocean, and Japan's cooperation with Obama's initiative for nuclear disarmament? Yves Tiberghien, a UBC Political Science professor specialized in Japanese Politics, will be giving a presentation as to the implication of the New Hatoyama Administration to various aspects of society including the economy, employment, and "kakusa" or economical gap between the rich and poor, among others with special focus on constitutional and foreign policy issues. We will also have with us Sebastien Lechevalier, Associate Professor at EHESS (Centre de Recherches sur le Japon) as a guest commentator.

* Admission by donation (suggested: $5)

* Yves' talk will be in English and Japanese translation will be provided.

RSVP and Inquiry: Email satoko.norimatsu@ubc.ca with your name and the number of people attending. Phone: 604-619-5627

Organized by: Vancouver Save Article 9

Supported by: JCCA Human Rights Committee

Yves Tiberghien - Profile
Dr. Yves Tiberghien is Associate Professor of Political Science and a Faculty Associate of the Center for Japanese Research at UBC. He specialize sin Japanese, Chinese and European politics and political economy. Yves obtained his Ph.D. From Stanford University in Political Science in 2002. IN2004-2006, he was an Academy Scholar at Harvard University. In 1999-2000,Yves was a visiting scholar at the Japanese Ministry of Finance and at Keio University with a Japan Foundation fellowship. Yves' book, "Entrepreneurial States: Reforming Corporate Governance in Japan, Korea, and France" was published by Cornell University in 2007. Yves has also published several articles and book chapters on the Japan's bubble economy, crisis period, and reform process; as well, he has written articles and chapters on Japan's climate change policy and genetically-modified food regulation. Yves is currently completing a book on the global battle over the governance of GMO swith a large focus on Japan, as well as pursuing research on two new projects: one on the political consequences of Japan's rising inequality(the kakusa issue) and one on the analysis of Japan's and China's role in global governance.

バンクーバー九条の会から講演会のお知らせです。(日本語通訳付き)

テーマ:「鳩山新政権が日本の外交政策や改憲問題にもたらす影響」

講師:UBC政治学部 イブ・ティベルギアン准教授

去る8月30日の総選挙は民主党の圧勝と自民党の大敗に終わりました。民主党・社民党・国民新党の連立政権は改憲、特に九条の問題にどう取り組むのでしょうか。民主党の指導者たちは、アメリカ合衆国とのより対等な関係を築くと表明していますが、このことが日米安全保障条約、普天間基地の移転、インド洋での給油活動、オバマ大統領先導の核廃絶への動きにどのような影響をもたらすのでしょうか。今回は日本の政治や経済に詳しいブリティッシュコロンビア大学政治学部准教授イブ・ティベルギアンさんを招き、格差や雇用といった日本社会が抱える問題をはじめ日本社会や経済への新政権の影響を話していただいた上で、外交や改憲問題に特に重点を置いて参加者とともにディスカッションをしていきたいと思います。またゲスト・コメンテイターとして、フランスの社会科学高等研究院.(EHESS)日本研究所准教授のセバスチャン・レシュバリエさんも参加されます。

日時:10月28日(水)午後7時から9時まで

場所:日系ヘリテージセンター2階 楓の間Kaede Room, 2nd Floor National Nikkei Heritage Centre6688 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby BC (地下駐車場あり。行き方の詳細はこちらをどうぞ)

参加費:無料ですが、ご寄付をお願いします。(目安:5ドル程度)

*英語による講演で日本語通訳がつきます。ティベルギアンさんは日本語を話しますので講演も一部はご本人が日本語で解説できますし、質疑応答等は日本語でも対応できます。

参加申し込み、問い合わせ先:バンクーバー九条の会 Eメール satoko.norimatsu@ubc.ca に、お名前と人数をお知らせください。電話でも対応できます。604-619-5627

主催 バンクーバー九条の会

後援 JCCA人権委員会

イブ・ティベルギアン 略歴
ブリティッシュコロンビア大学政治学部准教授。政治学博士。日本、中国、ヨーロッパの政治学と政治経済学が専門。2002年にスタンフォード大学政治学部で博士号を取得。国際交流基金のフェローシップにより日本の財務省および慶応義塾大学で客員研究員・教授を務めた。著書に『企業家的国家:日本、韓国、フランスにおける企業統治の改革』(2007年 コーネル大学)がある。その他、日本のバブル経済、経済危機の時代、構造改革、日本の気候変動に関する政策や遺伝子組み換え食品の規制について等幅広い分野で執筆活動をしている。

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Introductory Speech of Hiroshima/Nagasaki Event


October 3, 2009

Satoko Norimatsu

Director, Peace Philosophy Centre


My name is Satoko Norimatsu, and I’m the Director of Peace Philosophy Centre. Peace Philosophy Centre was established at the beginning of 2007, to promote community-based education for peace and sustainability, and the end of this year will mark the Centre’s third anniversary. One of the annual projects of Peace Philosophy Centre is to bring Canadian students to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two cities in Japan where atomic bombs were dropped in August 1945. This is a joint academic program run by Professor Peter Kuznick of the American University in Washington, D.C., and Professor Atsushi Fujioka of Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan, and includes Chinese and Korean students from their Ritsumeikan’s Asia-Pacific University. The tour runs from July 31st to August 10th every year. We start the program with three days in Kyoto, at Ritsumeikan’s World Peace Museum, then spend three days in Hiroshima and three days in Nagasaki, including attendance at the memorial ceremonies on August 6th and August 9th in the respective cities. This program was born amid the controversy over the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum’s planned exhibit of Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the Hiroshima bomb. The exhibit was going to include documentation of the human effects of atomic bombing, including the ongoing suffering of hibakusha (atomic-bomb survivors) for decades after the war. The exhibit was cancelled due to heavy opposition from the American Air Force Association and war veterans’ associations, but was later hosted by the American University under Peter Kuznick’s leadership.

This program has been running since 1995, and the tour had its 15th anniversary this past summer. Canadian participation in this program is relatively new. I started working with the program as an interpreter and a guest instructor back in 2006, and in 2008, Ritsumeikan University kindly offered three guest spaces for students from UBC, as Ritsumeikan and UBC have had a special relationship for more than 15 years, with about 100 Ritsumeikan students studying at UBC each year. This year, Ritsumeikan offered partial scholarships to four Canadian students, this time open to applications from any post-secondary institution in Canada. The four students selected were Julie Nolin and Uli Ng, both Master’s students from Royal Roads University, Meg Serizawa from Simon Fraser University, and Arc Han from the University of British Columbia. We have two other presenters today: Shoko Hata, an SFU student who signed up through American University, and Rowan Arundel, who was one of the three Canadian students selected from UBC in 2008. These students will be speaking to you today about their experiences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We also have here today Harry Teng, another 2008 participant from Royal Roads University, and Satoshi Watanabe, who is a Ritsumeikan University student who has participated in and worked as a staff member of this program for the past four years.

The educational purposes of the Hiroshima Nagasaki Peace Study Tour are: 1) to gain first-hand knowledge of the human impact of atomic bombing, 2) to learn about the history of atomic bombing and its significance in the broad context of the World War II and post-war periods, 3) to learn about the past and current international movements to eliminate nuclear weapons, and 4) to help build friendships between students from the US, Canada, Japan, China, Korea and beyond in order that they may begin to work together for a peaceful future. For many students, this tour is a life-changing event. For example, for Jenn Englekirk, a participant from the US, whose grandfather fought against Japan and never forgave Japan, atomic bombing was the right thing to do. Like many Americans, she believed that atomic bombing ended the war early and saved lives. However, her view completely changed during the trip, especially through meeting survivors, and she came to hold the view that a-bombing was a war crime. Another example is the change in many Japanese students’ perspectives. In this program, in addition to the atomic bomb museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we bring students to another museum in Nagasaki, the Oka Masaharu Memorial Peace Museum. This is a museum that specializes in exhibiting Japan’s atrocities committed against fellow Asians during the war. The exhibits tell the stories of forced labour from Korea and China; Korean atomic bomb victims; the colonization and occupation of Korea, China, Philippines and many other Southeast Asian countries; and Japan’s war atrocities including the Nanjing Massacre, Military Sex Slavery, Unit 731, and so on. Most Japanese, American, and Canadian students have not learned about these historical facts. Although we emphasize the point that these brutal behaviours by the Japanese Army are not presented in order to offset or justify the atomic bombing of Japan, learning about this chapter of history in the program helps students to gain a broader perspective of World War II and to learn about the horrors of war that should never be repeated, whether in the form of nuclear weapons or any other means.

On August 6th 1945, a uranium-type atomic bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy,” was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, killing thousands instantly, approximately 140,000 people by the end of 1945. Three days later, on August 9th, a plutonium-type atomic bomb, nicknamed “Fat Man,” was dropped on the Urakami District of Nagasaki City, and approximately 70,000 people were killed by the end of 1945. On top of the burns and injuries from the heat ray and blast, the effects of the radiation from those bombs continued to cause diseases and deaths for decades after the initial exposure, up to today, including leukemia, various types of cancers, cataracts, and so on. This summer, during the August 6th ceremony in Hiroshima, a total of 260,394 deaths was recorded, and on August 9th in Nagasaki, a total of 149,266 deaths was recorded. Two bombs have killed over 400,000 people so far, and will continue to kill. And these atomic bombs are like toys compared to the nuclear arsenals that the world possesses now. By 1985, at the height of the Cold War, the destructive power of the world’s nuclear arsenals had reached the equivalent of 1.47 million Hiroshima bombs. Daniel Ellsberg writes in his memoir dedicated to Hiroshima Day this year: “Every one of our many thousands of H-bombs, the thermonuclear fusion bombs that arm our strategic forces, requires a Nagasaki-type A-bomb as its detonator.” According to the Nuclear Stockpile Report released on September 10, 2009, there are more than 23,300 nuclear warheads in the world now, of which 55% belong to Russia, 40% to the United States, and the rest to the remaining Nuclear Weapon States, including France, China, UK, Israel, Pakistan, and India. And of those, more than 8,000 are considered operational, of which 2,200 US and Russian warheads are on high alert, ready for use on short notice. With the existing threat and the new threat of proliferation created by nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran, the world is at a crossroads for survival or extinction.

There have been, however, hopeful and positive developments around the world for nuclear disarmament and abolition, with rapidly-growing awareness in the leadership of Nuclear Weapon States, such as: President Obama’s initiative for “a nuclear-free world”; strong initiatives by non-nuclear states like Japan and Australia; and continued efforts by the global civil society and the dedication of atomic bomb survivors to educate the world public about the horrors of nuclear weapons. Our event today takes place in a very timely manner, ten days after the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1887, which calls for international unified efforts for the elimination of nuclear weapons, and seven months before the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference to take place in May 2010.

We started this sharing event last year, hoping that the precious learning experience from our program would not just stay with the specific students who had the privilege to go to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but could also be shared by the wider community. This year is the first time we have held a large-scale, public event like this. Each student had decided to focus on a specific theme before the trip, and today they will share with you what they experienced and learned.

Our event today is supported by Vancouver Save Article 9, an organization working for the preservation, realization and promotion of the war-renunciation clause of the Japanese Constitution.

I would like to give thanks to David Laskey, husband of the late Hiroshima survivor Kinuko Lasky, for his cooperation with the display of A-bomb panels.

We also welcome donations to help with the expenses of this event. We will give you a peace button, designed by Kinuko Laskey, to express our appreciation to those whose generous donations help us to sponsor events of this type.
(An introductory speech by Satoko Norimatsu at the event held 5:00 - 7:30 PM on October 3, 2009, at Roundhouse Community Centre in Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

White Rock Meeting : "Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Beyond"

Last week all members from Canada had a reporting event on Hiroshima/Nagasaki trip in Roundhouse community centre and it was a huge success. I'd like to thank you again- thank you for having come and supported our event.

In October 10th, we got another opportunity to share our experience (in Japanese). Meg Serizawa (SFU) and I (Shoko from SFU) gave speech in White Rock meeting.
Meg's presentation focus was on Hibakusha's stories and mine was on peace museums we visited during the trip, and the contents of our presentations was the same from the last event. However, since this time we shared our stories in a lot smaller scale - there were five audiences-, we had a lot more involvement of audiences in discussion during our presentation.

One of our audiences shared a story about her relatives who also experienced A-bombing in Hiroshima. She told us that her grandmother didn't talk about her experience of A-bombing at all, like Ayako Okumura ( a hibakusha whom we met in Nagasaki) who used to avoid talking about her experience for 46 years.

In her speech, Meg said that one of the most important things we can do now is to spread our words to friends who are close to us. We are not hibakusha and we haven't experienced war, so that there is a difference between hibakusha's testimony and our (people who are not actual hibakusha) trying to tell what we hear from them. But, still, we believe it is very important to pass stories we heard from them to our friends and then younger generations.

AT the end of our presentation, we were asked one question from our audience, which I thought it was getting the crux of the matter: "What do you think you can do/you will do from now?"

Personally, what I think I can do and I should do as a student is to continue "learning and sharing". As a Hiroshima local who have undergone so many opportunities of getting 'peace education' during my childhood, I used to think that I had learned enough about Hiroshima and I used to believe I knew everything about it. However, obviously, I was wrong.

One of the most remarkable changes in myself was to have realized my total ignorance about non-Japanese people's voices. I used to think "hibakusha" was only the Japanese victims who were in Hiroshima and Nagasaki; but it's not true. There were non-Japanese victims who were forced to move to Japan and exposed to the bombing.

One of the reasons why I could realize my ignorance of many aspects around the history (such as people's sufferings inside and outside of Japan, current political issues, and so on) was because of the encounter with Peace Philosophy Center and with people I have met through it. "Person to person" is the most essential way of learning, and it does bring us life-changing experiences. I believe the international peace exchange seminar, "Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Beyond", was a great example to me.

By having another opportunity to talk about our experience in Japan, Meg and I could learn more and think about our future - how to put our experience this summer to future use- once again.


By the way we took a photo with a quilt of patchwork members of White Rock group have been working on together. (I made one too!)
Isn't it beautiful?

Love and Peace,

Shoko

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Peace Philosophy Salon on October 17

The first Peace Philosophy Salon of the Fall 2009 Term!

Theme of this week:

More on "Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Beyond - "

Date and Time: 7 PM - 9:30 PM, Saturday October 17
(to join pizza social, please arrive by 6:00 PM)

Place: Peace Philosophy Centre (email
info@peacephilosophy.com for direction)

* The Hiroshima/Nagasaki event we had at Roundhouse on October 3 was a great success. Please see here for a report. We would like to hear more of your feedback, and have more in-depth discussion. There have been some new developments since, including President Obama being the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize with special recognition of his efforts for a nuclear-free world. We will show some videos, and time permitting, touch on more nuclear issues such as DU(Depleted Uranium Weapons), and nuclear wastes.

*Note: you do NOT have to have participated in the October 3 event in order to join this event. New participants are always welcome to Peace Philosophy Salon.

* We will have a social over pizza starting at around 6:30 PM. If you would like to participate, please be at the Centre by 6:00 sharp. We will order based on the number of people we have then. The budget will be about $5-8 per person. Snack and drink donation welcome. Donations to help with salon expenses will be welcome.

*This event is primarily conducted in English, but limited translation will be available in Japanese and Mandarin.

RSVP : to info@peacephilosophy.com by October 16.

* The following Peace Philosophy Salon dates this term will be:

October 24, November 14, November 2 8, December 5 (all Saturday evenings)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Hiroshima Nagasaki Event was a Great Success!

"Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Beyond" event yesterday was a great success with a turnout of about 70 people from all generations and all walks of life. I commend the students for their dedication and passion of the event. Their presentation topics were atomic-bomb decisions (including debunking myths that the bombs ended the war early and saved lives), past and current movements for nuclear disarmament, both by Arc Han (UBC), hibakusha (atomic-bomb survivors) experience by Meg Serizawa (SFU), peace museums and non-Japanese a-bomb victims by Shoko Hata (SFU), the difference in historical perspectives between Japanese and American students by Uli Ng(Royal Roads Univ.), and the overview of the program and what changes the trip brought to the students by Julie Nolin(Royal Roads Univ.) The MC of the event was Rowan Arundel (graduate of UBC), who participated in the tour last year.

It was enlightening for me to know what impact the trip had on each student presenter, in the way that I would not have known if we did not have such an event. The learning model this year worked well with the Canadian participants. Each student had decided on the topic of their interest prior to their trip, so they had a clear focus and what to look for and report throughout the trip. The event helped the students to reflect on the trip, to describe and summarize what they learnt and experienced, and to share with and "teach" it to the general public. They also had to think hard how to communicate to the audience something that they thought one could only know by experiencing oneself.

We were fortunate to have with us Sachi Rummel, who was in Hiroshima when she was eight years old and was 3.5 km from the Hypocentre. We also had A-bomb panels brought by David Laskey, husband of late Hiroshima hibakusha Kinuko Laskey. Those panels were donated by Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum for the 2006 World Peace Forum in Vancouver.

Here are some of the participants' comments:

  • I am impressed by young people trying to learn the war & peace so eagerly.
  • I am very pleased with that there is a group trying to spread commendably fair views on such a difficult issue.
  • Excellent presentations on a variety of subjects.
  • Overall, I thought the whole presentation was well-balanced.
  • More photos and personal opinions would have been appreciated.
  • As a Japanese, it was useful for me to learn non-Japanese perspectives to the A-bomb history.

We had a lively discussion after the presentations. Some thought that the measures should be taken so that the U.S. would be held accountable for the atomic-bombing. We explained that there have been a International People's Tribunal held in 2006, which was lectured during the trip by Hiroshima Peace Institute's professor Yuki Tanaka who initiated the court, but some thought that was not enough and there should be a legally-binding court to be held. We explained that there have been various legal and technical barriers around this issue and also there is general tendency within the hibakusha community to avoid holding U.S. directly accountable. Some were interested in knowing the results of the series of lawsuits by hibakusha against the Japanese Government, and we explained that hibakusha and the Government reached a historic resolution this past August 6 after six years of collective lawsuits, in nineteen of which the Government lost. I commented that the atomic-bomb victims and the victims of Japanese atrocities in Asia could learn from and help each other. Another participant in the audience thought that it was more urgent and important to abolish the nuclear weapons than to hold the perpetrator accountable. This view is shared by many hibakusha in Japan, that the only way that the U.S. Government and the Japanese Government could compensate for their suffering would be by eliminating nuclear weapons from the face of this Earth.

We also discussed peace museums in Japan, four of which we visited during the trip and Shoko explained during her talk - A-bomb museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Kyoto Museum for World Peace, and Oka Masaharu Memorial Nagasaki Peace Museum. I told the audience that this program is positively biased in the sense that we visit two of the museums in Japan, the latter two of the four, which place a special emphasis on Japanese atrocities committed against fellow Asian countries during the 15-year war of 1931 - 1945. This is our approach to help students gain a broader context around the history of atomic-bombing, especially to Japanese students who typically do not get a lot of instruction at school on Japan's wrongdoings during the war.

I will share more later. It was the Moon Festival night yesterday, and I hope everyone enjoyed the view of the bright full moon as they headed back home. Thank you for the special evening. It was one of the most meaningful and memorable events for me.

In gratitude,

Satoko