Students from Hiroshima Jogakuin High School Discuss Peace, Atomic Bomb

April 07, 2010

Students from Hiroshima Jogakuin High School came to Alliance to not only learn about American culture, but also to promote peace.

During the peace forum at Mount Union, the ten Jogakuin students explained to the audience that when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945, more than 350 students and teachers from Hiroshima Jogakuin School died. Their school buildings were destroyed and many mothers who gave birth to children that year, gave birth to children with cancer. The nuclear atomic bomb killed many of their family members, as did the effects of radiation.

   

Sophomore communication major at Mount Union, the 11th recipient of the Murakami Scholarship and graduate of the Hiroshima Jogakuin High School, Kyoko Niiyama encouraged others to join her in promoting peace and a nuclear-free world. Niiyama and the other students from Jogakuin have been collecting signatures for the Abolition of Nuclear War Signature Campaign from members of the Mount Union community throughout their stay in Alliance and asked that others in the audience sign the document as well.

Aside from discussing the atomic bomb and peace, the students also talked about their school and neighborhood. Near the Jogakuin High School are the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and the Peace Memorial Park, where paper cranes from all over the world are displayed.

The students explained that they are in school 240 days out of the year, and their school year begins in April and ends in March. Classes begin at 8:20 a.m. and the class day concludes at 3:20 p.m. for junior high students and at 4:20 p.m. for high school students. They even attend classes on three out of the four Saturdays of each month. It is very competitive to be accepted into the Jogakuin School. Nearly 1,000 students take the entrance exam and only 230 spots are available.

In their free time, the girls enjoy shopping and visiting the Miyajima Island. At school, they are involved in the basketball and chorus clubs, as well as student council.

On the academic front, Dr. William Coleman, professor of communication and assistant to the president for diversity noted during the forum that the Department of Communication at Mount Union has implemented a peace studies concentration and the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies is currently in the process of proposing a peace studies major.

This summer, a group of Mount Union College students will have a rare opportunity to experience Japanese culture and study peace issues in Hiroshima, Japan through a partnership with the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation. Since its destruction on August 6, 1945 from the atomic bomb, Hiroshima has been dedicated to the promotion of peace worldwide. Hosted by the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation and the Mayors for Peace organization, students will be attending a week-long academic program that will include seminars and lectures given by leading Hiroshima scholars and independent research projects at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. They will also have the opportunity to live with a Japanese host family and experience Japanese culture first-hand.

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