Floyd Schmoe Christmas card displayed for first time at Schmoe House in Naka Ward: Sent to supporters 70 years ago with piece of housing material

by Yuichi Ishii, Staff Writer

On December 17, a Christmas card made 70 years ago by the late Floyd Schmoe, an American peace activist, was displayed for the first time at the Schmoe House, an exhibition facility located in the area of Eba-nihonmatsu, in Hiroshima’s centrally located Naka Ward. The card includes leftover wooden material from the so-called “Hiroshima Houses,” which Mr. Schmoe built for local people who had lost their homes in the atomic bombing. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, also in Naka Ward, planned the exhibit to more widely publicize Mr. Schmoe’s achievements.

The card is said to have been sent from Mr. Schmoe to supporters who had made donations for construction of the houses. A thin piece of wood (measuring 4.8 centimeters by 10 centimeters) is included with the folded card, along with a message written in English explaining that the wooden piece was made by children in the Eba area of wood shavings from a house in Hiroshima built in the summer of the year the card was sent.

Mr. Schmoe and his colleagues arrived in Hiroshima in 1949. The group constructed 15 houses for 21 families through 1953. Last year, in 2021, the card was found at the home of a bereaved family of an American who was similarly engaged in the work of building housing in Nagasaki. It was ultimately donated to the Hiroshima City government.

Risa Teratani, 55, a medical office clerk in Osaka’s Ikeda City, was at the exhibit as part of her visit to Hiroshima as a tourist. “I am moved, imagining how it was made from wood used for reconstruction of the city after the atomic bombing,” she said, looking closely at the card. “Mr. Schmoe’s idea was wonderful.”

The card will be on display until December 25, 2022. The facility is open from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. with no admission fee necessary. At the same time, a regular exhibit is also being held, displaying tools used by Mr. Schmoe in the housing project as well as related photographs. During 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. on December 24, Hiroko Nishimura, 65, head of the citizens group “Learning from Floyd Schmoe,” will provide explanations about the exhibit.

(Originally published on December 18, 2022)