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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Toronto Event

On the evening of Friday, May 15, 2009, the Toronto Article 9 Event Committee hosted an event "Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution:Bringing Peace to Today's World" at OISE Ontario Institute for Studies in Education), the University of Toronto.

The event was attended by more than 80 people, far more than we had expected. The participants were as diverse as the community of Toronto,including the students and faculties of the University of Toronto, local peace activists and journalists, and a few participants from out of town,including one person who travelled from New York just to attend this event.

The evening started with author Joy Kogawa's compelling speech about her past in which she was discriminated as an enemy alien during the WWII because of her Japanese heritage, and that Article 9 is the one thing that she can be proud of and "what is best in today’s Japan." Then we screened the film "Japan's Peace Constitution," directed by John Junkerman. This is the film that Vancouver Save Article 9 used many times to promote the knowledge about and awareness for Article 9 and its global significance between 2005 and 2006, resulting in the large increases in the membership.

After the film, I presented the current conditions surrounding Article 9on the political and popular fronts. I stated the fact that the most polls indicate that the majority of Japanese people want to keep the current Article 9, despite the ongoing government's attempts to change it and establish facts that undermine it. May 15 was also the anniversary of Okinawa's reversion from the U.S. to Japan back in 1972. Yusuke Tanaka, a journalist and a storyteller, told a story with his music, about that time he was involved with students' peace movement.

Historian Peter Kuznick talked about some of the U.S. past leaders and their involvement with decisions to develop, use and expand their nuclear arsenals, and commended hibakusha, or atomic-bomb survivors' for their contributions to the world efforts to reduce and eliminate the destructive weapons that could lead to human annihilation. Setsuko Thurlow concluded the event with her many insights ranging from her experience of atomic-bombing in Hiroshima to her ongoing dedication to peace movements and the importance of keeping and realizing Article 9.

Overall the event was well-received with comments from the participants like, "The film brings rich commentary from around the world and wonderful historical snippets and analysis," "Each speaker brought a different character to their presentation," and "It was truly inspiring. I want to get involved with the Article 9 movement, as we should educate more people about the importance of the issue." One regret about the evening was that there was not enough time for Q & A and to hear thoughts and comments from the audience.

The event was co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education/OISE, and supported by Vancouver Save Article 9,and Peace Philosophy Centre. Many thanks to the committee members and volunteers for their help, especially Tomoe Otsuki, who made it possible for this event to take place at OISE/University of Toronto.

With appreciation,

Satoko Norimatsu

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Comment on the flim "Frontline for Peace- Traveling for Gratitude"

誰もが、自分の、そして大切な人たちの、心の平和を願っている。Everyone is hoping for one's own peace of mind, and also for that of his/her beloved ones.

That when I'm hungry, I have money to buy something to eat
That whenever I'm thirsty, I have access to clean water to drink
That I have a place to sleep without any fear
That I can study what I am interested in, as much as I could....

I think I am well aware of that such a "daily life", which I often take it for granted, is not something "normal" or "ordinary".

Japan, where I'm from, also have people called "homeless", but I have come to feel "poverty" as something much closer to me especially after living in Vancouver for a while.

子供の頃の私は「ホームレスになる人は、怠け者なんだ」という見方しかできていなかった。「私はこうならないようにしなくちゃ。私はこの人たちとは違う」なんてことを思っていた。 しかし、ホームレス問題には色んな社会的背景があるということに気がついたとき、ホームレスの人たちや物乞い/お金を乞う人たちの姿を観ると、同情するようになった。
When I was a child, and when I was living in Japan, I simply took homeless people as being "lazy".
"I should try not to be like them. I am different from them"- I even had this kind of thoughts.
However, when I realized that there are various kinds of social aspects perpetuating the issue of homelessness, I began to feel compassion toward the poor who are begging for money and food on the street.

But....what can I do about it?

I know, it's not something to be settled by saying "that's the way it is".
But then, what can be done?
What can WE do?

映画「ありがとうの物語」で紹介されている、フィリピンの女の子(Mary-Jane)は 貧困のため、父は出稼ぎに行ったまま帰ってこない、母は兄とメリージェーンを残して故郷に帰ってしまって消息不明。病気のおばあさんと、お兄さんと3人で協力して生活していた。
The film, "Frontline for Peace- Traveling for Gratitude", introduces a girl, Mary-Jane, living in the Philippines. Because of the poverty, Mary-Jane has been separated from her parents. Her father left the country to find work somewhere in other countries, and he never returned. Her mother went back to her hometown without her children - Mary-Jane and her older brother.
Mary-Jane lived with her brother and grandmother who had been ill.

Mary-Jane and her brother worked so hard, every single day.
but still, just to survive each day is all what they can do.

"No matter how hard they work, they can never be able to be set free from poorness"

It should not be the reality, the only one possible reality, for her who is living her life by putting her all into every day, every moment.

.....then, what can we do?

私は、 「何ができるんだろうか?」と考え始めると 大きな壁が目の前にあって、身動きがとれない感覚になってしまうときがある。
Whenever I face this question, "what I can do?", I often feel like being pinned down.  
I feel like I can't move at all - total powerless.

でも、メリージェーンや、映画の中にでてきた他の子供達は、みんな笑顔が輝いていた。命を輝かせていた。But..., all the children I saw in the film had very bright smiles.  
they must have feelings of pain, bitterness, and sadness inside their hearts, but they are brightening their life.

The word Dr. Kuwayama uses several times in the film...

"Brightening a life"

What a beautiful word.....I felt.

If each life is really precious and special.....
if each life has different stories....

それぞれの命が「ありがとうの物語」になるように 命を輝かせていくことの大切さを感じながら生きていく。。。
Just like the children shown in the film, who actually are brightening their lives....
one of the things we can do and what we must do is.....

To brighten each of our lives - Wherever we are....whatever situation we are in .

どんな場所で生きていても、誰もがそれぞれ何かしら苦しみや問題を抱えて生きている。 どんな社会も、必ず問題を抱えている。
Each one of us live with different concerns, problems, hardships, saddness......wherever we live . There is no society without problems and issues.

We must believe that every life will be different one- better or worse-, depending on how we live.
It's all depending on how each of us live if we can make our life grateful one....
Love the life you live,
Love the people you live with,
Love the world you are in....


Saturday, May 23, 2009

2009 Events

Here are 2009 events related to topics of interest - peace, sustainability, and education. These are events that I (Satoko) either organize, co-organize, participate, or am involved with in some capacity, either as an individual or representing Peace Philosophy Centre and/or Vancouver Save Article 9. Details of these events are subject to change. The upcoming event is at the top of the list, and the past events are at the bottom. Please email for more information. Upcoming Events of 2009:

* "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.

*Peace Philosophy Centre's Year End Social on December 5 has been cancelled, due to the schedule of conflict with another event on the same evening.

Past Events of 2009:

White Rock Event: "Quilting For Peace"
Date and Time : Saturday, February 14, 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Location: White Rock (email for details)
Organized by: White Rock Group, Peace Philosophy Centre

Peace Philosophy Salon: the Constitution of Japan
Date and Time: Saturday, February 21, 7:30 PM -
Location: Peace Philosophy Centre (email for details), Vancouver, BC, Canada
Organized by: Peace Philosophy Centre

Peace Philosophy Salon: Senji Yamamoto
Date and Time: Saturday, February 28, 7:00PM -
Location: Peace Philosophy Centre (email for details), Vancouver, BC, Canada
Organized by: Peace Philosophy Centre

Peace Philosophy Salon: Hiroshima and Nagasaki - Journey of the Heart
Date and Time: Saturday, March 14, 7:00 PM - Location: Peace Philosophy Centre (email for details), Vancouver, BC, Canada
Organized by: Peace Philosophy Centre

Vancouver Save Article 9 Event - Sharing Wartime Experience
Date and Time: 1:00 - 4:00 PM, Saturday, March 21
Location: Vancouver Japanese Language School
Organized by: Vancouver Save Article 9

Towards peace in Northeast Asia: Japanese people's initiatives
Satoko Norimatsu, a Vancouver-based community peace educator will introduce citizens' initiatives inside and outside of Japan to promote peace in Northeast Asia. The topics will include Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, Hiroshima/Nagasaki, peace museum movements, and various organizations that advocate for victims of Japanese aggression in Asia including Nanjing Massacre and military sex slavery, and their efforts to raise awareness within the Japanese society.
Date and time: 10:30 - 12:30, Thursday March 26
Location: Langara College, Vancouver

Peace Philosophy Salon: Nanjing Massacre
Date and Time: Saturday, March 28, 7:00 PM -
Location: Peace Philosophy Centre (email for details)
Organized by: Peace Philosophy Centre

White Rock Event: The Power of Forgiveness
Date and Time: Saturday, April 4, 1:30 PM -
Place: White Rock (email for details)
Organized by: White Rock Group, Peace Philosophy Centre

Peace Philosophy Salon: Spring Wrap-up and Social
Date and Time: Saturday, April 11, 6:00 PM-
Location: Peace Philosophy Centre (email for details)
Organized by: Peace Philosophy Centre

A Vancouver Save Article 9 Event to celebrate the 62nd birthday of Japan's Constitution
Date and Time: 1:30 - 4:30 PM, Saturday May 2
Locaion: Vancouver Japanese Language School
Organized by: Vancouver Save Article 9

A Special Article 9 Event in Toronto
Date and Time: 6:30 - 9:30, May 15, 2009
Location: University of Toronto
Organized by: Tornoto Article 9 Event Committee
Supported by: Vancouver Save Article 9, Peace Philosophy Centre
Contact for details.

Special Film Event: Chikyu No Stage – Arigato no Monogatari (Frontline for Peace – Traveling for Gratitude)
Date and Time: 1-3 PM, May 24, 2009 
Location: Nikkei Heritage Centre Organized by: Vancouver Frontline for Peace
* Peace Philosophy Centre is a supporting organization.

Japan - Global Issues Tour (Webster University)
June 1 - 10, 2009
*Satoko acted as co-instructor and translator.

Vancouver Save Article 9 Family Event
June 7, 2009

Hiroshima/Nagasaki Tour Orientation Meeting
1 PM - 4 PM, Sunday July 5
at Peace Philosophy Centre

Hiroshima/Nagasaki Peace Study Tour
July 31 - August 11, 2009

White Rock Meeting - Food and Safety
Date and Time: 1:30 PM - Saturday, September 12
Place: White Rock (email for details)
Organized by: White Rock Group

Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Beyond A Report-Back Event
Date and Time: 5-7:30 PM, Saturday, October 3
Place: Roundhouse Community Centre (Yaletown, Vancouver)
Organized by: Peace Philosophy Centre

White Rock Meeting - Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Beyond
Date and Time: 1:30 PM - Saturday, October 10
Place: White Rock (email for details)
Organized by: White Rock Group

Peace Philosophy Salon - Follow-up of Hiroshima/Nagasaki
Date and Time: Saturday, October 17, 7:00 PM -
Location: Peace Philosophy Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
(email for details)
Organized by: Peace Philosophy Centre

Peace Philosophy Salon - Article 9 of Japanese Constitution
Date and Time: Saturday, October 24, 7:00 PM -
Location: Peace Philosophy Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada (email for details)
Organized by: Peace Philosophy Centre

Vancouver Save Article 9 Event
"New Hatoyama Administration's Implication for Japan's Foreign Policyand the Constitutional Revision Issue" With Yves Tiberghien, UBC Political Science
Date and time: 7-9PM, October 28 (Wed.)
Place: Nikkei Heritage Centre
Organized by: Vancouver Save Article 9
Supported by: JCCA Human Rights Commitee English with Japanese translation
* Satoko will act as coordinator and translator in this event.

Peace Philosophy Salon - Yesterday Is Now
Date and Time: Saturday, November 14, 7:00 PM -
Location: Peace Philosophy Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
(email for details)
Organized by: Peace Philosophy Centre

Peace Philosophy Salon - Guest Speaker Tatsuo Kage
Date and Time: Saturday, November 28, 7:00 PM -
Location: Peace Philosophy Centre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
(email for details)
Organized by: Peace Philosophy Centre

Human Rights Are Universal!
- On the Occasion of the 61st Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
December 5, Saturday
6 - 9:30 PM
Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House
800 East Broadway
Organized by: The Human Righs Day Committee
* Peace Philosophy Centre is an endorsing organization of this event.

International Human Rights Day Student Symposium
Theme: Human Rights in the Asia-Pacific 1931-1945
Date and Time: 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM, December 10
Location: Vancouver Board of Education
Organized by: Vancouver School Board, BC ALPHA
* Satoko Norimatsu will speak at this event.

White Rock Meeting - Quilting, Japan's New Administration and Article 9
Date and Time: Saturday, December 12, 1:30 PM -
Location: White Rock
Organized by: White Rock Group

Sunday, May 10, 2009

An Article 9 Event in Toronto

A Special Event at the University of Toronto:

"Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution:
Bringing Peace into Today's World"

Date and Time: 6:30 - 9:30 PM, May 15, 2009

Location: Room OI 2212
OISE (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto)
252 Bloor Street West (St. George Subway)

Event Programme:

- Screening of "Japan's Peace Constitution" (John Junkerman, Dir.; 2005. 78 min.) Followed by

- Short presentations, discussion and Q&A's with;

  • Joy Kogawa, Author and recipient of Order of Canada
  • Setsuko Thurlow, Hiroshima survivor, social worker and recipient of Order of Canada
  • Peter Kuznick, Professor of History, American University
  • Satoko Norimatsu, Director of Peace Philosophy Centre
  • David McIntosh, Founding member of Vancouver Save Article 9

- Songs for Peace and Storytelling "May 15, 1972" Yusuke Tanaka, Writer

RSVP before May 12 by email to with your name and number of people attending.

Admission free (Donations toward expenses appreciated)

Light refreshments will be served.

Organized by: Toronto Article 9 Event Committee(Koko Kikuchi, David McIntosh, Satoko Norimatsu, Tomoe Otsuki,and Yusuke Tanaka)

Co-sponsored by: Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education/OISE

Supporting organizations:
Vancouver Save Article 9
Peace Philosophy Centre

More about this Event:

May 2009 marks the 62nd anniversary of the enforcement of the Constitution of Japan, which includes the war-renouncing clause, Article9. It reads:"Aspiring sincerely to an international peace and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized."

Japan's current constitution was adopted after war in Asia and the Pacific came to an end in August, 1945, after taking the lives of over20 million people. While Article 9 stands as a symbolic expression of Japan's remorse for its aggressive past, particularly against the neighbouring peoples of Asia, it has also effectively prevented Japan from resorting to violence in international disputes for the last 62years. There has been, however, constant pressure from successive conservative-led governments to revise Article 9 and diminish its substance by enacting laws that would allow dispatch of the SDF (Self Defense Force) to other countries. In the mean time, a nationwide citizens' movement has arisen to protect the soul of the Constitution,Article 9. Today there are more than 7,000 "Save Article 9"organizations across Japan and several outside of Japan. One of these,Vancouver Save Article 9 was founded in 2005 and now has 200 members strong.

In this event, the first of such nature in Toronto, we will watch John Junkerman's acclaimed documentary film, "Japan's Peace Constitution," in which the international significance of Article 9 is discussed by scholars, activists and citizens around the world, including U.S. media critic Noam Chomsky and Chinese filmmaker Ban Zhongyi. After the film,author Joy Kogawa and Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow will share her insights about war, peace and Article 9. Dr. Peter Kuznick will talk about his work of helping Americans face their past crimes, particularly the use of atomic-bombs against Japan,and the implication of Article 9 for a nuclear-free world, with reference to the recent commitment by President Obama to pursue serious initiatives toward reducing and eventually eliminating all nuclear weapons in the world. Satoko Norimatsu and David McIntosh will moderate the event and also talk about some of the activities and experiences of the pro-Article 9 movement in Vancouver.

The event date, May 15, happens to be the 37th anniversary of Okinawa's reversion to Japan, so we will also discuss the meaning of Article 9 as it relates to Okinawa. Okinawa was one of the deadliest battlefields in the Pacific War and, after the war, became home to 75%of the U.S. military facilities in Japan. Yusuke Tanaka will dedicate songs for peace and tell a story, "May 15, 1972," to commemorate this milestone. We look forward to seeing you at the event.

Please feel free to forward this announcement to your network of friends and colleagues. It is our sincere hope that this event will contribute one small stride to our common walk toward peace.

Toronto Article 9 Event Committee

Profiles of Speakers/Moderators/Performers

Joy Kogawa
Joy Kogawa, born in Vancouver B.C., in 1935, is a writer living in Toronto. She is best known for her novel "Obasan." Her most recent book is a children's story, "Naomi's Tree." Her present work-in-progress is entitled, "Gently to Nagasaki." She is a Member of the Order of Canada and the Order of British Columbia and has been awarded seven honorary doctorates and numerous prizes for her writing.

Peter Kuznick
The author of Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists as Political Activists in 1930s America and coeditor of Rethinking Cold War Culture, Peter Kuznick is currently writing a book exploring how the belief that nuclear war could end all life on the planet has shaped the behavior and views of military strategists, policymakers, writers and filmmakers, and the public. He is also writing a 10-part documentary film series with Oliver Stone. As director of American University’s award winning Nuclear Studies Institute, he takes students on an annual study abroad trip to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He spearheaded the Committee for a National Discussion of Nuclear History and Current Policy in response to the Smithsonian’s latest Enola Gay exhibit and co-founded the Nuclear Education Project. He writes often and lectures frequently about nuclear issues in general and the atomic bombings in particular. He regularly provides commentary to the media on a broad range of subjects and was selected Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer 2004-2007 and 2007-2010.

Setsuko Thurlow
Born in Hiroshima, Setsuko graduated from Hiroshima Jogakuin in 1954. She received further education in Social Work in Virginia, USA and at the University of Toronto. She married a Canadian and became a permanent resident of Toronto in 1962. She worked until retirement as a social worker in educational, clinical and women's organizations. She was the founder of Japanese Family Services (now Japanese Social Services) and did extensive community organization work in East Asian communities in Toronto. In 1974 she established a group called Hiroshima-Nagasaki Relived dedicated to public education regarding the threat of nuclear war, and this led to an extensive anti-nuclear weapon campaign world-wide. She was the recipient of membership in the Order of Canada in 2007.

Yusuke Tanaka
Born in Sapporo, Japan in 1951, Yusuke Tanaka moved to Tokyo and studied sociology at Waseda University. He immigrated to Canada in 1986 and he has been the Japanese editor of Toronto-based Nikkei Voice newspaper since 1989. He has been leading Katari Japanese Storytellers since 1994, writing and telling his own stories and folklore both in English and Japanese.

Satoko Norimatsu
Satoko Norimatsu is Director of Peace Philosophy Centre, a Vancouver-based organization that promotes education for peace and sustainability. She is also a founding member of Vancouver Save Article 9, and an instructor at UBC Centre for Intercultural Communication. Satoko speaks at conferences and organizes peace events, including “Peace Philosophy Salon,” in which she brings young people together to learn from history and create a peaceful future. Satoko can be contacted at , and more information about her activities can be found at

David McIntosh
David McIntosh was born 1960 in Toronto and raised in Osaka, Japan as son of missionaries among Koreans in Japan. A lazy student at school, David learned much of his history through stories of Koreans who were displace from their homeland, forced to labour for their imperial conquerors, then discriminated in many ways after their “emancipation” in 1945. David has been active in a variety of community groups advocating for historical honesty, justice and peace. He is a founding member of Vancouver Save Article 9 and Vancouver 9/11 Truth Society and currently works as a professional interpreter and translator.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

HoC MP Aihara apoligizes to the victims of PingDing Shan Massacare 日本上院议员相原久美子向平顶山惨案受害者致歉 相原久美子議員ら民主議員24人平頂山虐殺事件の生存者に謝罪

May 5th, Aihara Kumiko, a Democratic Party MP of the Upper House visited the PingDing Shan Massacre museum in FuShun, China. MP Aihara Kumiko brings a letter, which is signed by 24 Diet MPs, to the victims of the Massacre. In this letter, MPs sincerely apologized to the victims and the survivors of the massacre. They also promised to support the claims of the survivors and to promote a good relationship between China and Japan. Wang Zhimei, a survivor of the massacre also came to Fushun to meet MP Aihara. Ms. Wang expressed her thanks to the MPs.
The following are the full text of the letter, the name lists of the 24 MPs signed on the letter, and a brief English translation.



逢坂誠二、郡和子、近藤昭一、佐々木隆博、篠原孝、田島一成、筒 井信隆、平岡秀夫、山田正彦、横光克彦

相原久美子、犬塚直史、岡崎トミ子、神本美恵子、今野東、谷岡郁 子、中村哲治、那谷屋正義、白真勲、藤谷光信、松浦大悟、松岡 徹、松野信夫、水岡俊一

Link: Chinese XinHua News reports Mp Aihara's visit (In Chinese) (中国語の報道)




日本国众议院议员 (MPs of House of Representative)

日本国参议院议员 (Mps of House of Council)
相原久美子、犬塚直史、冈崎吒咪子、神本美惠子、今野东、谷冈郁子、中村哲治、那谷屋正义、 白真勋、藤谷光信、松浦大悟、松冈彻、松野信夫、水冈俊


To the survivors of the PingDing Shan Massacre:

We are the Mps From Democratic Party of Japan. The Japanese lawyers, who participated in the cases of Ping Ding Shan Massacre, introduced what happened in this accident and your inquiries to us. We feel we are obligated to go to PingDing Shan to have a visit and listen to your voice, and to delivery our apologies; However, now it's the meeting session time for the Japanese Diet, so we cannot come altogether. We would first send our apologies by this letter, which will be presented to you by our delegate----MP Aihara Kumiko.

In September 1932, around the region of PinDing Shan, Japanese Imperial Army killed a mass number of innocent civilians. As human beings and Mps elected by Japanese civilians, we feel a deep sorrow from our heart. Japanese Government hasn’t apologized to the survivors and victims. This caused a pain among the survivors and the relatives of victims. We sincerely apologize for this.

To establish a truly stable China-Japan relation, we have to solve the war-related problems. We think the Ping Ding Shan accident must be properly solved, and this is an important part of all the war-related problems.

Thus we claim here: we agree with the three inquiries you have made to the Japanese government. We promise that we will fight for this goal. We will visit PingDing Shan and talk with you.

Please take care.


平頂山事件 民主議員「日本政府に公式謝罪求める」

Reporting in English: 英語による報道は
Japanese MPs apologize for massacre in northeast China 77 years ago



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
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:
  • 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 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: 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