Appeal for nuclear abolition a hit with baseball fans

by Kensuke Murashima, Staff Writer

On September 15, the "Peace Nighter," a professional baseball game that featured an appeal for nuclear abolition, was held at the Mazda Zoom-Zoom Stadium, the city's new ballpark in Minami Ward, Hiroshima. The Hiroshima Toyo Carp faced the Chunichi Dragons and a crowd of 21,230 people raised green and white posters to call for peace.

Roughly 900 people in green T-shirts of the same design sat in three rows of unreserved seats behind the infield on the second level of the stadium, creating a 25-meter-tall "Peace Line," the same height as the Atomic Bomb Dome. After the bottom of the fifth inning, the spectators forming the Peace Line raised white posters, while other fans in the ballpark held up green posters.

The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Declaration, which was issued by 17 Nobel Peace Prize laureates and published in the Chugoku Shimbun, was printed on these posters. The summary of the declaration was also projected on a giant TV screen at the stadium to appeal for nuclear abolition. The players of the Hiroshima Toyo Carp and the game's umpires donned a patch incorporating images of the A-bomb Dome and the stadium on the sleeve of their uniforms.

The Peace Nighter was organized by Seikyo Hiroshima (a consumer cooperative), the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation, and the Chugoku Shimbun so that the new stadium can establish itself as a symbol of peace, much like the former Hiroshima Municipal Baseball Stadium in downtown Hiroshima, a symbol of the city’s reconstruction.

Yoshitaka Hanada, 77, a resident of Minami Ward, Hiroshima, who entered the city of Hiroshima on the day after the atomic bombing and was exposed to residual radiation, firmly held up a poster and said, "This is a good opportunity to raise our voices together for nuclear abolition."

(Originally published on September 16, 2009)

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