Hiroshima University Memorial Service Address for the Victims of the Atomic Bomb (6th August 2021)
Today’s Atomic Bomb Day memorial service marks the 76th anniversary of the dropping of the Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima. On this occasion, with victims’ families and representatives from the Hiroshima University alumni in attendance, let us all once again unite to lament the souls of the victims.
It has been one and a half year since COVID-19 first became a global pandemic. With the 4th State of Emergency having been extended for Tokyo and COVID-19 cases once again on its increase in nearly all prefectures in Japan, there is no telling how the pandemic will develop. With this in mind, this year’s memorial service has been scaled down, as was also the case last year, because the health and safety of the attendees are our top priority.
This year, 19 of the atomic bomb victims’ ashes are to be enshrined in the ‘Hiroshima University Cenotaph for the Victims of the Atomic Bomb’. May the departed souls of the 2,041 victims’ ashes, including the aforementioned 19, rest in peace, and may the bereaved families find some peace and consolation.
Seventy-six years ago, on 6th August 1945, many university and school students, some overseas students, and the teaching staff at various forerunner schools of Hiroshima University, fell victim to the bomb, either losing their precious lives, or suffering horrific injuries. Among the victims were eight international students from South-East Asia (knows as nanpoo ryugakusei) who were studying at the then ‘Hiroshima University of Literature and Science.’ Unfortunately, two of them fell victim to the bomb. It is so heartbreaking to think of young people such as these being so cruelly robbed of their promising future lives.
Coupled with the founding principle of ‘a single unified university, free and pursuing peace’, Hiroshima University rose out of the ruins in Hiroshima to be established in 1949. Since then, Hiroshima University has consistently moved forward as a university of peace. Since becoming President, I have been committed to ‘cultivating peace-pursuing, cultured individuals with an international mindset and a challenging spirit.’ We renew our determination to fulfill the mission of the University, so as to foster diversity and build a free and peaceful international society.
It is now a quarter of a century since the integration and relocation of Hiroshima University. In order to respond to these new turbulent times, we have decided to move the ‘School of Law’ and the ‘Graduate Law and Political Science’ Program to the Higashi-Senda Campus, which is the birthplace of the University. From this birthplace, I hope that our students will go out into the world as bearers of peace and hope.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to His Excellency Mr. Ayman Aly Kamel, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt in Japan, for his attendance at today's memorial service.
Inscribed on the cenotaph, erected in 1974 for the HU Victims of the Atomic Bomb, are the words by Dr. Soichiro Iijima, then President of Hiroshima University: “Hiroshima University hereby bears deep academic responsibility to bravely contribute to the realization of world peace.” As we approach the 75th anniversary of the founding of Hiroshima University three years from now, I would like to take this opportunity to pledge that we, as members of Hiroshima University, will think about what we can do for peace and will act accordingly.
6 August Reiwa 3 (2021)
President of Hiroshima University