A-bomb play to be performed in Germany in September

by Yumi Kanazaki, Staff Writer

A performance of a play about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima will be staged in September at the Niedersachsen State Theater in Hanover, Germany, one of Hiroshima's sister cities. The acting troupe of this theater will perform "Shonen Kudentai 1945," a play by the late Hisashi Inoue. Members of the troupe, including Sachiko Hara, 45, the only Japanese performer, have visited Hiroshima and have been filming survivors and scenes of the city 65 years after the bombing. This footage will be incorporated into the performance.

The play is based on events which took place after the bomb was dropped, when the Chugoku Shimbun, Hiroshima's daily newspaper, was forced to convey the news orally. According to Ms. Hara, the images filmed in Hiroshima will be used during the performance to contrast the present with the past of 65 years ago.

In July, a Japanese drama group performed the same play in Hiroshima. Members of this group, including Nozomu Yamaguchi, a 40-year-old resident of Kure, have been offering various forms of support, such as serving as guides around the city.

On July 21, they filmed at an okonomiyaki restaurant (a crepe-like dish, a specialty of Hiroshima) and at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. They met Toshihiko Hayashi, 79, the head of the International Youth Association Hiroshima, in the International Conference Center Hiroshima, which is located in the park. Mr. Hayashi helped establish the sister city ties between Hanover and Hiroshima.

Ms. Hara, who is originally from Kanagawa Prefecture, near Tokyo, has been living in Hanover since she was accepted by the German troupe last August. Learning about the affiliation between the city and Hiroshima, she suggested performing "Shonen Kudentai 1945." She obtained the script through a relative of the late writer and has been making arrangements for the performance. She said, "Though I'm not from Hiroshima, I consider it my mission to convey the universality of peace through theater."

The show will open on September 18.

(Originally published on July 22, 2010)