Junior writers in Hiroshima share thoughts on peace with British teens

by Sakiko Masuda, Staff Writer

On July 2, teens in Hiroshima who serve as “junior writers” for the Chugoku Shimbun newspaper shared their thoughts on what young people can do for peace with about 100 13- and 14-year-old students living in Coventry, England. The two groups communicated via a teleconferencing link over the Internet. The city of Coventry suffered tremendous damage in an air raid carried out by Nazi Germany in World War II.

Seven junior writers, ranging from the sixth grade of elementary school to the third year of high school, gathered at the Chugoku Shimbun building in downtown Hiroshima to take part in the event. The discussion began with the two sides describing the damage that their respective cities experienced during the war.

Asked how students in Hiroshima learn about the atomic bombing, Yumi Kimura, 17, a second-year high school student, said, “We study not only the damage caused by the atomic bombing, but also the history of Japan as an aggressor. We would like to listen to the voices of as many A-bomb survivors as possible to convey the tragedy to the generations to come.”

The participants also discussed what they can do to promote peace in the world. Students in Coventry proposed that both sides study what happened in the war and explore possible actions they can take to build a better future. Mako Sakamoto, 16, a second-year high school student, stressed, “I’d like to tell the world the facts of what happened in Hiroshima.”

The dialogue was arranged by a citizens’ group called the “Hiroshima-Coventry Club,” whose members are visiting the city. The group planned the event after a school in Coventry agreed to take part in an exchange on peace issues between youth in the two cities, which had both suffered damage during the war. The discussion lasted about 30 minutes.


Coventry is a city in central England. During World War II, from the night of November 14, 1940 to the following day, Nazi Germany attacked the city by air. Downtown Coventry, where munitions factories were located, was turned into a scorched plain, with over 500 dead. In the aftermath, the people of Coventry proposed a spirit of reconciliation and the town became known as a city of peace. In 2004, members of the Hiroshima World Peace Mission, organized by the Hiroshima International Cultural Foundation, visited the city and conducted exchange activities with the people there, including those who had suffered the air raid.

(Originally published on July 3, 2013)