• 2018.10.26
  • No War!
The other day a special presentation was given at the supplementary Japanese language school my children go to on Saturdays by 3 A-bomb Legacy Successors, with the assistance of the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims.
I thought it was an excellent initiative for children raised in overseas countries, where the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki is not well known, to gain an understanding of the horror of the atomic bombs and the surrounding facts, as well as the misery of war.
This special class was not compulsory, however, because one (only one) of the slides showed a boy whose back had been burnt.
Actually, my daughter is a very fearful person, someone who gets the shakes just hearing the tone of the news. Such is her character that I was worried whether it would be a good idea for her to actually see images that may trigger her fear too much. When I asked about the content of the presentation, being an organization that aims for a nuclear-free world, the reply was that they want people to think of "war as horror". My daughter was right in the middle of some lessons on peace, and it was an unrepeatable opportunity to hear directly about the atomic bombings, so it was decided that she should go to the presentation and that she herself would judge whether she would cover her face and so on when there were images and content that she found too strong.
In the end, the slides were faint, probably because the room was too bright, and the presentation ended without her noticing any photos that might be problematic at all.

Later on, one of the parents said "I wasn't scared at all. I was expecting something more extreme."
That parent's 2 sons play with toy guns, they enjoy war-type games, and they are always making videos of bombs going off and so on, so I think the parent was hoping that the 2 boys would learn the true horror of war and that they would lose interest in "war".
Then the question popped into my mind, "Does teaching about the tragedy and horror of war actually produce humans with a "No war!" ethic? Even if you know about the tragic misery of war, you probably find hitting each other with paintball guns exciting and you probably get completely absorbed in a war game to expand your territory. And conversely, wouldn't you think that the people who make films that realistically depict war are making the film with a war-free world in mind?

And anyone who has experienced pain would be able to understand that conflict must be avoided.

In short, I feel that rather than hearing and seeing images and films filled with the blood and guts, knowing children who have forgotten to smile after conflict would directly appeal to the heart.
This was also in the Hibaku Taikenki (Testimonies and Memoirs of the Atomic Bomb Victims) in the presentation. How when leaving the air-raid shelters, school grounds were covered in dead and injured people. How a boy whose younger sister had died then lost his younger brother the next day, and his mother the day after, and was fearing he would be next. Just imagining how these boys and girls must have felt makes my heart heavy.
It must be that by having something that should be protected, people feel that war really is something that must be avoided. Wouldn't the horror of the people you love departing this world in a miserable way discourage any thought of conflict?
That is exactly why I believe we must never forget to love people, to cherish our family, and to be ready to respect our neighbors. Respecting and caring for others, no matter who, without discrimination, will lead to peace in the world.


  • Megumi Ota
  • JobConservator, interpreter, and coordinator / Insitu (restoration), Kaminari-sama / Novajika, and others

I’m a conservator and preservationist living in Portugal. I specialize primarily in paintings (murals) and gold leaf design, and am involved with UNESCO World Heritage structures as well as the interior of the Palace of Belém. I derive great satisfaction from having close ties to my community in the rural village near the Silver Coast where I live. My hobby is gardening.

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