Hiroshima University Memorial Service Address for the Victims of the Atomic Bomb (6th August 2018)
The seventy-third anniversary ‘Atomic Bomb Day’ is upon us. The center of Hiroshima City was burnt to the ground by the atomic bomb, which brought catastrophic damage to most of the Hiroshima University forerunner buildings. As a result, many students and the teaching staff, as well as overseas students, fell victim to the bomb. To mark this important occasion of the Hiroshima University Memorial Service for the victims of the Atomic Bomb, I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to the souls of the victims, in the presence of their families, students, lecturers and alumni representatives.
Just one month ago, on 6th and 7th July, unprecedented torrential rain struck many parts of western Japan including Hiroshima Prefecture. I would like to express my heartfelt sadness at the tragedy of lost lives due to the landslides and flooding of rivers. In addition, my deepest sympathy goes to those people at the evacuation shelters, whose daily lives have been greatly inconvenienced by the disaster.
This topic of disasters reminds me of the catastrophic damage caused by the Makurazaki Typhoon (Typhoon Ida), which stuck Japan on 17th and 18th September 1945, causing devastating damage to Hiroshima Prefecture with more than 2,000 deaths and/or missing persons in cities including Kure. The suffering of the people who fell victim to both the atomic bomb and the typhoon is beyond description.
In this 73rd year since the atomic-bombing of Hiroshima, the first ever summit meeting between the U.S.A. and North Korea was held in Singapore. A joint statement from the Singapore summit included “DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” Although the situation in the Korean Peninsula remains unpredictable, I sincerely hope that international opinion seeking “a world without nuclear weapons” will gain momentum since the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize award went to ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons). Indeed, ICAN is an international NGO, and one of its members will give a presentation lecture this afternoon at Hiroshima University.
Hiroshima University was established in 1949 (Showa 24) with the founding principle proposed by Mr. Tatsuo Morito, who became the first President of Hiroshima University after resigning from his position as the Minister of Education: “a single unified university, free and pursuing peace.” One of the Five Guiding Principles of the university, born in 1995 (Heisei 7), is that of a “peace-pursuing mindset.” Since I was appointed President of Hiroshima University, I have been aiming to cultivate “peace-pursuing, cultured individuals with an international mindset and a challenging spirit.” By establishing a new philosophy of peace science “Science for Sustainable Development,” Hiroshima University will contribute to the realization of a diversified, free, and peaceful global society.
The memorial service will be immediately followed by an event in which a time capsule is buried containing letters and drawings prepared by the victims of the atomic bomb and the home/international students at Hiroshima University. In addition, there will be a session of opinion exchanges between students. In the afternoon, we will have Mr. Akira Kawasaki, from the ICAN International Steering Committee, to give a presentation lecture. If you are able to attend, please do come and join us for the lecture.
This year, 29 of the atomic bomb victims’ ashes are to be enshrined in the Hiroshima Peace Park cenotaph. May the departed souls of the 1,981 victims’ ashes, including the aforementioned 29, rest in peace, and may the bereaved families find some peace and consolation.
I would like to offer a tribute to the memory of the deceased by swearing an oath that administrative and faculty members, students and alumni of Hiroshima University are all determined to make a concerted and increased effort to build a peaceful society for all human beings through the university’s education and research, as well as through its contributions to society.
6th August Heisei 30 (2018)
President of Hiroshima University