Former U.S. professional basketball player, Yuichiro Morishita, to hold talk about African A-bomb exhibition September 27

by Tsuyoshi Kubota, Staff Writer

This past June through August, peace educator, and former U.S. professional basketball player, Yuichiro Morishita, brought a touring A-bomb exhibition to 12 nations in Africa. It was the first round of a larger plan to visit the world’s five continents in an effort to help tell the stories of A-bomb survivors. Morishita, 42, a resident of Akitakata, Hiroshima Prefecture, will hold a debriefing session September 27, at the Peace Memorial Museum. There he will tell of his two-month trip to Africa and of disseminating stories and artifacts of the atomic bombing to local youth.

Morishita’s A-bomb exhibition traveled to thirty university and church locations throughout the African continent, and displayed about 30 A-bomb-related items. The tour, which included a photo showing the landscape of Hiroshima completely burnt after the bombing, and one depicting a woman whose back was branded with the pattern of the kimono she was wearing that day, traveled to such countries as Ethiopia and Kenya. A video message from 10 A-bomb survivors who have called for the elimination of nuclear weapons was also played at the venues.

According to Mr. Morishita, most of the local African residents had no knowledge of the atomic bombing. He said, “I was shocked by the real fact that the terror of nuclear weapons has been still unknown to many people in the world.” While holding the exhibition, he received much appreciation from visitors, with many commenting by saying, “Thank you for sharing that with us.” Seeing Morishita’s exhibit as an opportunity to further discuss peace, students at the university in Uganda formed a club to think more about the issue.

Mr. Morishita is originally from Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture. He moved to the United States at the age of 18 in pursuit of his dream of playing basketball in the National Basketball Association (NBA), the most prestigious professional basketball league in the world. He played for a team in the American Basketball Association (ABA), as well as with a professional street basketball team. During his thirteen years in the U.S., Mr. Morishita commented that he witnessed a division between people with different skin color. When he home-stayed, he was told by his host family that peace begins with respecting each other, and that he should be able to contribute to building a world peace because he was neither black nor white. This encouraged him to start peace activities. In January of this year, Mr. Morishita moved to Akitakata.

With cooperation from the A-bomb survivor group and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Morishita plans to take his exhibition to 100 nations. The next round of the project will run from October to December, and will be held in Europe. A crowd-funding campaign is now being launched on the web to collect the estimated two million yen necessary for the trip.

Mr. Morishita’s debriefing session at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. He said, “I want the participants to know the fact that a circle for building peace is expanding in Africa, a region far away from Japan.” For more details, please call his cell phone at 070-1822-2050.

(Originally published on September 12, 2019)