Junior Writers Reporting

Junior Writers Reporting: French teenagers make woodblock prints with Hiroshima as theme

Importance of learning each other’s history

Students in the Japan Club at the junior high school College of Sacré-Cœur have created Hiroshima- and peace-themed woodblock prints. The students learn about Japanese culture in the club at their private school, located in Dunkirk in northern France. Communicating by email, the students showed seven of their works to Chugoku Shimbun’s junior writers.

The club has 25 members between the ages of 11 and 15. The students used red, yellow and other colors to depict paper cranes and a mushroom cloud, among other images. Lilian Deceuninck Cappelaere, 13, combined the Eiffel Tower and Mt. Fuji, symbols of the two countries, with a dove and a crane. “To me, the friendship between France and Japan is so precious that I wanted to symbolize it with two birds holding our flags and two symbolic places,” Lilian wrote.

The students made woodblock prints to show to participants of a conference hosted in May by the Communauté urbaine de Dunkerque (Dunkirk), a Mayors for Peace member city. The students used the internet to gather information on the damage caused by the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. They were surprised to learn about such horrors as people’s skin appearing to have melted from the A-bomb’s thermal rays.

Dunkirk is known as the site of a hard-fought battle during World War II. I felt encouraged by the fact that people of my generation are thinking about Hiroshima in a country so far away. I also want to open my eyes to the world and learn about past wars and history.

(Originally published on December 16, 2019)