Three states of mind

Tree in Peace Park, Hiroshima

Visiting Hiroshima requires holding one’s imaginings for the future, with the grim reality of the past, together with the real-time experiences that unfold in this beautiful and vibrant city. In the days following Hiroshima Day, my attention has been continually navigating between all three states of mind.

On Thursday morning Mariko and I had the privilege to meet with the Chairman and several representatives from the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation. The Foundation’s charter is to convey the facts about the Hiroshima bombing in a way that can contribute to international peace and co-operation. As well as managing the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and a number of other key local facilities, the Foundation works collaboratively with international organisations on art and cultural initiatives, and also on campaigns such as Mayors for Peace.

Chairman Mr Komizo’s explaination for how and why the creative arts play a vital role in communicating the humanitarian messages of Hibakusha stories was very relevant to our Nuclear Futures work.  Each year fewer a-bomb survivors are alive to share their experiences first hand. Mr Komizo explained that in order to sustain the impact and relevance of these stories for future generations, in ways that add value to international peace and social justice campaigns, creative expression is necessary to keep the stories alive.

On the back of this meeting I took my two daughters through the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, where the devastation upon the people and landscape of Hiroshima is revealed via extensive factual content, disfigured personal artefacts, images of the aftermath and collective accounts of immense suffering and loss. While the experience of visiting the exhibition on this nuclear catastrophe caused us all much heartbreak, my daughters’ ability and stamina to engage with a tragedy that does not make sense, and continually question and evaluate it from so many angles, was illuminating. A testimony to flexible and compassionate thinking.

Finally, with absolute generosity and hospitality my new friend Mariko enriched my present throughout the day, and waved us goodbye as we caught the train south to Fukuoka. Arigato Hiroshima (thank you).

Read Mr Komizo’s message to the world and future generations @

For more information about Mayors for Peace see: