Hiroshima Prefectural University students report on efforts to encourage Barack Obama to return to Hiroshima

by Asuka Takio, Staff Writer

On February 26, members of the Obama Project, which was formed in June 2017 by students of Hiroshima Prefectural University, located in Minami Ward, Hiroshima, with the aim of encouraging former U.S. President Barack Obama to return to Hiroshima for another visit, met with Kuniaki Shimozaki, the head of the Hiroshima Prefectural Board of Education. The students reported their latest progress to Mr. Shimozaki.

Eight of the 22 students participating in the project visited Mr. Shimozaki. The members of the project are seeking to collect 999 folded paper cranes from students and one additional crane from Mr. Obama, which they hope he will fold when he comes to Hiroshima, to complete the set of 1,000 paper cranes. The students told Mr. Shimozaki that they have asked elementary school and junior high school students in Hiroshima Prefecture to fold paper cranes and write letters to Mr. Obama. So far they have collected 214 cranes and 197 letters.

In addition to making contact with staff at the U.S. Consulate General Osaka and the Barack Obama Foundation, the project members also shared their activities on Facebook. They are planning to upload a multilingual video to YouTube as well.

Hiromasa Hara, 20, the leader of the project, is a third-year student in the Faculty of Human Culture and Science at Hiroshima Prefectural University. He lives in Naka Ward and is a fourth-generation A-bomb survivor. He said, “There are some messages that can only be conveyed by students like us. I would like this project to grow into a global project.” Mr. Shimozaki encouraged the students to work hard to expand their efforts.

(Originally published on February 27, 2018)