Arthur Binard, poet living in Hiroshima, awarded Kiyoshi Tanimoto Peace Prize for his nuclear-themed work

by Junji Akechi, Staff Writer

On September 28, the Hiroshima Peace Center Foundation, located in Saeki Ward, Hiroshima, and chaired by Mamoru Tsuru, announced that Arthur Binard, 53, a poet living in the city’s Naka Ward, has been selected as recipient of the 32nd Kiyoshi Tanimoto Peace Prize. The foundation recognized Mr. Binard’s diverse, nuclear-themed art works calling for, from Hiroshima to the rest of the world, the elimination of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Binard came to Japan in 1990. He has addressed issues related to nuclear weapons and victims of nuclear weapons in many of his works, such as a picture book titled Koko ga ie da (Home is Here), based on the story of the Daigo Fukuryu Maru (Lucky Dragon No. 5), a Japanese tuna fishing boat exposed to radioactive fallout from a U.S. hydrogen bomb test conducted at Bikini Atoll. In 2011, he moved to Hiroshima. He continues his activities by also performing to audiences his picture-story show “Chicchai Koe” (“Small Voices”). The reason Mr. Binard was selected to receive the award, the foundation explained, was because as an American storyteller Mr. Binard works to pass down the memory of the atomic bombings to younger generations.

Expressing his gratitude for receiving the award while also touching on the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Binard said, “To create literature and build peace, it is crucial to form deep connections to diverse sets of people. When I recall the life of the late minister Kiyoshi Tanimoto, who risked his own life to create a peaceful world, the way forward becomes clear. I feel as if he left guideposts for me.”

The Kiyoshi Tanimoto Peace Prize was established in 1987 to carry on the spirit of the late Kiyoshi Tanimoto, a Methodist minister at the Hiroshima Nagarekawa Church in Naka Ward, who dedicated himself to providing support for A-bomb survivors. The prize is awarded to individuals and groups that engage in activities aimed at bringing about world peace. A formal award ceremony will take place at a location in Hiroshima’s Naka Ward on November 8.

(Originally published on September 29, 2020)