Commemoration of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Coalition-Hawai’i, Friends of the GENSUIKIN, Nagasaki Kenjinkai (Association of Descendants of Immigrants from Nagasaki Prefecture), The United Nations Association Hawaii Division


The Commemoration of Nagasaki 64

The event is free of charge and open to the public

August 8th at 3:15 pm

Moment of silence 4:02 pm Hawaii Time, 11:02 am Japan Time!

Nagasaki Peace Bell,

City & County of Honolulu Civic Center Grounds, Beretania And Lauhala Streets

August 9, 1945 marked a day of triumph and tragedy; the triumph of the war’s ending that ushered in the tragedy that would become the nuclear age.

What kind of trauma does this annual commemoration relive for the Hibakusha, the survivors of the Atomic and Hydrogen bombs? What does it mean to people who have only read of war? Have our young people seen so much of war that they are desensitized?

“Since war begins in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defense of peace must be constructed.” UNESCO, Constitution 1946. Correspondingly, Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ” it isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. In addition, it is not enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” In addition Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail”, 1963; “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

THEREFORE, we must tell this story to everyone in every generation. Not winning or losing, but the catastrophe of conflict, the devastation of death and destruction, the inescapable sufferings of war as well as the people who died that day. Some were just at the beginning of their lives, like some of our young people.

The Mayor of Nagasaki wrote, “Decades have passed since that day. Now the atomic bomb survivors are advancing into old age and their memories are fading into the mist of history. The question of how to inform young people about the horror of war, the threat of nuclear weapons and the importance of peace is therefore a matter of pressing concern. The citizens of Nagasaki pray that this miserable experience will never be repeated on Earth. We also consider it our duty to ensure that the experience is not forgotten but passed on intact to future generations.”

One Tenth Of Hibakusha In Hiroshima And Nagasaki In 1945 Were Koreans This year, as a part of the commemoration ceremony we acknowledge the Korean Hibakusha! The Korean Hibakusha has been neglected not only by Japan but also by the rest of the world. We
must take a stand to correct that omission.

At the moments of the atomic bomb attacks, the populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were approximately 420,000 and 270,000, of which 160,000 and 74,000 died according to the best estimates. That includes many Korean people who had been drafted into the Japanese Military and forced to work as Japanese during the war.

The estimate of the numbers of those people in both cities is 50,000 and 20,000. This means, over 10 % of Hibakusha were Korean people. 40,000 of them were killed by the bombings. Most of the survivors returned to their country after the war. The “Korean-Hibakusha” origins are mostly South Korea.

After that fateful day of August 9, and with the official surrender of Japan to the Allied forces on August 15, 1945, the 35-year colonization of Korea by the Japanese came to an end. August 15, 1948 also marks the establishment of the Republic of Korea.

Background Of The Nagasaki Peace Bell

The Nagasaki Peace Bell is a gift to the people of the City and County of Honolulu from the survivors of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and their supporters. Recognizing that true steps to peace must begin with acknowledgment of harmful actions in the past, the survivors in Nagasaki wished to make a gesture of reconciliation to the people of the city of Honolulu, which sustained a
military attack by their country on December 7, 1941.

Working through the organizing efforts of the Congress Against Atomic- and Hydrogen-Bomb Committee of Nagasaki and the Nagasaki Prefecture Hibakusha Membership Association, these victims began a lengthy process of raising funds and negotiating with the mayor and the city council of Honolulu for acceptance and placement of the peace bell monument at a location acceptable and appropriate for the general public. Through mutual efforts the groups in both cities saw the success of the project in the dedication ceremony which took place on December 7, 1990 on the grounds near the city hall, Honolulu Hale, when the peace bell was rung for the first time to the great satisfaction of the delegation of sixty or more of the Nagasaki Hibakusha in attendance.

Since 1990 the bell has been sounded on August 9 of the year and on the day observing the birthday of the American peacemaker and promoter of non-violence, Martin Luther King, Jr. Additionally, it has become the site of observances of important occasions in the continuing struggle to end the production and use of nuclear weapons.

There are two other peace bell monuments of the same design, which were given to the city of Leningrad (now once more St. Petersburg), Russia and to a city in Manchuria, which felt the brunt of the Japanese military action. In 1996 the Nagasaki Hibakusha reaffirmed their commitment to the spirit of the bells by sending each of the three cities a gift of $10,000 for the maintenance of the monuments.

At the base of the monument a plaque is inscribed with the following message: Nagasaki, the city devastated by the bitter tragedy of a nuclear bomb, dedicates this Nagasaki bell as a symbol of the rebirth of Nagasaki and the desire of its citizens for peace in the future through sincere reconciliation and reflection on the folly of war.

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