U.S. resident Shizumi Shigeto publishes novel based on true story about exchanges between Honkawa School students and Americans during post-war period

Honkawa Elementary School, located in Hiroshima’s Naka Ward, was badly damaged in the atomic bombing. In 1947, some Americans sent relief supplies to the school, and the students reciprocated by sending their drawings to the American donors to express appreciation. Shizumi Shigeto Manale, a stage artist originally from the city of Miyoshi who now lives in the U.S. state of Maryland, has written and published a novel about the exchange activities titled Yume no Kureyon Kibo ni Notte (Dream Crayon of Hope).

The story is about a girl who lost her family in the atomic bombing and struggled to survive while attending Honkawa Elementary School. The students who made the drawings at that time serve as models for the characters in the book, which is written about the progress made during Hiroshima’s recovery in a way that is readily understandable by junior high and high school students.

The book is an extensive rewrite of the 2012 edition and contains photographs of the students, who are shown to delight in receiving the aid sent from America. The publication also contains 48 of the drawings made by the students, along with other materials. “I hope that people not familiar with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima will read the book and be inspired to visit the A-bombed city and Honkawa Elementary School,” said Ms. Shigeto.

On a visit to a church in the United States in 2006, Ms. Shigeto was impressed with drawings shown to her that had been made by the Honkawa Elementary School students. In this work, not only did she restore damaged drawings and help hold exhibits in Hiroshima, she also created a documentary film. The former school students sympathized with her efforts and have offered their full cooperation in her new publication. The A5-sized book, published by Bungei Shuppan, contains 192 pages and is priced at 1,300 yen. If ordered through the Shizumi Peace Project Japan Committee, the price is 1,000 yen, including postage. For inquiries: call Mr. Sera at 090-4651-4744.

(Originally published on January 13, 2020)