A-bombed piano is shipped to Norway for concert to mark awarding of Nobel Peace Prize

by Kunihiko Sakurai, Staff Writer

On December 11, the day after the award ceremony for the Nobel Peace Prize, an A-bombed piano from Hiroshima will be played at an event to mark this occasion. This year’s Peace Prize will be presented to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), an international non-governmental organization (NGO).

The piano is one of six A-bombed pianos owned by Mitsunori Yagawa, 65, a second-generation A-bomb survivor and a piano tuner who lives in Asaminami Ward. It is an upright piano made in 1937, which is said to have been at a private home in the Ujina district, in Minami Ward, at the time of the atomic bombing. On the morning of November 29, the piano will be shipped from Mr. Yagawa’s studio to Oslo, Norway. At the concert to celebrate the winner of the Peace Prize, American pianist John Legend will play the A-bombed piano.

In late October, Kathleen Sullivan, a U.S. resident and a disarmament educator who serves as a Peace Ambassador for the City of Hiroshima, approached the city with the idea of a performance on an A-bombed piano in Oslo. With ICAN in full agreement, the idea was realized after the sponsor of the concert also pledged its support.

Since 2001, A-bombed pianos have been played at more than 1,700 venues. This will be the second time that an A-bombed piano is played outside Japan, following a performance in New York in 2010.

Mr. Yagawa will leave for Norway on December 10 to tune the piano. He said, “It’s a great honor for me to witness the moment that the award is given to a group pursuing the abolition of nuclear weapons, our shared desire.” He added, “I hope that the audience, through the tones of the piano, will feel our wish for a peaceful world in their hearts.”

(Originally published on November 28, 2017)