Former Hiroshima University student sends A-bombed roof tiles to universities overseas

by Yu Yamada, Staff Writer

Rebun Kayo, 34, a former student at Hiroshima University, has received praise for sending pieces of roof tiles that were charred in the atomic bombing to universities overseas. Cheryl Matherly, Vice Provost for Global Education at the University of Tulsa, located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma, met Mr. Kayo, an auditor at Fukushima University and resident of Nishi Ward, Hiroshima, and commended the significance of his effort. The University of Tulsa will soon receive a piece of an A-bombed roof tile.

After Mr. Kayo met Ms. Matherly at JR Higashi-Hiroshima station in the city of Higashi-Hiroshima, they joined others, including Shinichi Ue, a vice president of the school, on the Hiroshima University campus for a meal and conversation. Ms. Matherly complimented Mr. Kayo’s effort, calling it an important contribution to enlightening people about peace. She also said that she would like to see the roof tile displayed in the University of Tulsa library so that students and people from the local community can see it. Mr. Kayo responded that he hopes the artifact will be made good use of for peace education.

Mr. Kayo is originally from Okinawa Prefecture. When he visited Hiroshima on a school trip as a junior high school student, he learned about roof tiles which were damaged in their exposure to the atomic bomb. He entered Hiroshima University’s faculty of law in 2002. Obtaining permission from the Hiroshima city government, he began collecting pieces of broken roof tiles in such places as the Motoyasu River. So far, he has sent these artifacts of the A-bombing to 22 universities in 10 overseas nations. Toward the end of this month, he will send others to 28 institutions, including the University of Tulsa, in 13 countries.

Ms. Matherly received Mr. Kayo’s letter in March and wished to meet him in person. She met with him during a visit to Japan to make arrangements for study abroad programs with Kyoto University and other universities.

(Originally published on July 10, 2012)