Junior high school students perform an A-bomb play in English

by Hideto Yamamoto, Staff Writer

Students at Ono Higashi Junior High School in Hatsukaichi City, near Hiroshima City, will perform a play about the atomic bombing, in English, for their school festival on November 1. The students created an original play based on the testimony of an A-bomb survivor and other materials they had studied in class.

The play is entitled “Hiroshima” and consists of three parts, each part assigned to one of the three classes of third-year students. These students, a total of 101, all have roles in the production. The story begins with a scene before the bombing in which a mother and daughter are worried about the father who has gone off to war. After the bomb explodes, a scene at a first-aid station then presents the dreadful conditions of that day. Other scenes involve a streetcar which resumed operations three days after the bombing and the birth of the Children’s Peace Monument.

In July, the students listened to the A-bomb account of Akihiro Takahashi, a former director of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, as part of their course “International Understanding and Hiroshima.” In his talk, Mr. Takahashi stressed that hatred produces nothing but hatred. Inspired by Mr. Takahashi’s words, the students decided to create a play in English to promote a deeper mutual understanding with people of other nations. Under the guidance of an English instructor from the United States, Joseph Savona, 25, the students are working hard to put the finishing touches on their play.

The performance, open to the public, will be given in the school gymnasium at 1:15 p.m. on November 1. Shun Ono, 15, who will play the role of a teacher searching for his students in the scene featuring a first-aid station, commented, “We hope that, through our play, many people will understand the horror of the atomic bombing and the importance of peace.”

(Originally published on October 30, 2008)

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