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Noboricho Junior High School students’ enthusiastic efforts for creating “Children’s Peace Monument” supported by children throughout country

Ten years after the end of the war, the damage caused by the atomic bomb can still be seen in various parts of Hiroshima. In the wake of the tragic death of Sadako Sasaki, a first-year student at Noboricho Junior High School who died at a young age lamenting the scars of the atomic bomb, the desire of young people in Japan to create a “Children’s Peace Monument” has been kindled by the efforts of students at Noboricho Junior High School.

On November 10, a three-day nationwide conference for junior high school principals opened at a public hall in Hiroshima. At the conference site, some students representing the Noboricho Junior High School student council talked about the moving story of Sadako’s death and argued passionately that another atomic bomb should never again be used. The students also expressed their ardent determination to create the Children’s Peace Monument in order to comfort the souls of Sadako and the other children who lost their lives to the atomic bomb.

The students’ presentation drew an extraordinary response at the principals’ conference. Furthermore, the students’ strong appeal, together with the remarks “This A-bomb tragedy must never be repeated” made by Mr. Tanaka, the Noboricho Junior High School principal who served as the president and chairperson of the conference, were seared into the minds of the 1,200 principals who came from all over Japan to take part in the gathering.

Soon after the conference closed, donations were sent to Noboricho Junior High School from schools across the nation, including Fuse Junior High School (1,601 yen) in Ochi-gun, Shimane Prefecture; Motodate Junior High School (1,600 yen) in Akita-gun, Akita Prefecture; Yuzawa Junior High School (2,587 yen); Joto Junior High School (2,222 yen); Wakimachi Junior High School (2,232 yen) in Mima-gun, Tokushima Prefecture; Yamashiro Junior High School (1,811 yen) in Enuma-gun, Ishikawa Prefecture; Monbetsu Junior High School (1,700 yen) in Saru-gun, Hokkaido; Hohoku Junior High School in Daiwa-cho, Toyota-gun, Hiroshima Prefecture; and third-year students at Nakatsu High School (500 yen). To date, donations totaling more than 20,000 yen have been sent to Noboricho Junior High School to help comfort Sadako’s soul.

In response to these donations, Noboricho Junior High School staff say that the school believes these donations are the result of the student council’s enthusiastic efforts and, in line with its aim, the school is planning to undertake a large-scale initiative to create the Children’s Peace Monument early next year, together with 610 elementary schools and junior high schools in the city of Hiroshima.

So far, as a result of similar initiatives, the A-bomb monument of the Hiroshima Prefectural Girls’ High School union, the A-bomb memorial monument of the First Hiroshima Prefectural Junior High School, and several others have been established. However, the creation of the Children’s Peace Monument is the first-ever nationwide project, and therefore it is suggestive of how fervently students from throughout the country desire a peaceful world.

Remarks made by Mr. Tanaka, the principal of Noboricho Junior High School:

“The idea of erecting the Children’s Peace Monument is a voluntary appeal made by the school council and, for this reason alone, we are all deeply moved. We, the school principals, pledge to work with the students to gain as much support as possible from the public for the project, and make the Children’s Peace Monument a foundation for building peace in Japan.

(Originally published on December 27, 1955)