We hope to send a message of “understanding and reconciliation overcoming hatred” from Hiroshima to the world through our reading performance of “Hotarubi,” in the 75th milestone year since the dropping of the A-bomb. We hope to make these a reality: “Peace: the whole world smiles” and “A world without nuclear weapons.” In addition, by recruiting many citizens (approx.100-150 people) to participate in a choir within the play (Music: Amazing Grace, Poem: Give Back the Human by Sankichi Toge), it will lead to a citizens’ movement for peace with new opportunities to think about peace.
Peace is a prerequisite for all our daily living. However, in the repetition of everyday life, it’s easy to forget to appreciate having (living in) peace. In the meantime, we are facing constant instability with repeated missile launches from North Korea, claims of nationalism in European countries and the United States, ethnic conflicts and disputes in various regions and frequent terrorist incidents. Under these circumstances, the threat of nuclear war is higher than the cold war era, when considering not only planned attacks, but political miscalculations (misunderstandings), accidents, and mistakes.
The 73rd year miracle: The girl standing in the burnt-out ruins was his mother, 10 years old at the time of the A-bombing! The Hiroshima Municipal Funairi High School Theater Club is the only high school theater club in Japan that has been participating in the theater competition for over 40 years using the theme, “A-bomb and Peace. Three years ago, a photo in Mainichi Newspaper in a special featured piece about the A-bomb, caught the eye of Tetsunobu Fujii, who is an alumnus of the theater club. The photo was of a girl staring at the camera despite being injured, wrapped in bandages, and wearing a blood-stained blouse. It was a photo taken by Yukio Kunihira, a photographer for Mainichi Newspaper, on August 9th, three days after the dropping of the A-bomb. The photo caught Fujii’s eyes because the girl in the photo reminded him of his mother, “Yukiko-san,” who died at a young age of 42 when he was a second year student in high school. Fujii, who couldn’t get the photo out of his mind, contacted the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum about it. The staff there were amazed as 73 years had passed, more than half a century since the A-bombing. After an appraisal by an expert, it was confirmed that the girl in the photo was Fujii’s mother, “Yukiko-san.”
The following year, on August 13, 2018, the annual Funairi High School Theater Club Alumni Association meeting was being held. Fujii told Shuji Kubota, another alumnus, “My mother (10 years old at the time) had her picture taken by a photographer for Mainichi Newspaper on August 9, immediately after the A-bombing. That photo will be displayed at the entrance of the main building once the renovation of the museum is done.” Furthermore, Fujii consulted Kubota, “Is writing a script about the photographer of Mainichi Newspaper, who took my mother’s photo, possible.” Fujii knew Kubota had continued in theater even after graduation. Kubota requested that Fujii send relevant materials to him to determine if writing a script would be possible. After receiving the materials, Kubota became interested that “Yukiko-san” had fervently studied English. The words, “Mutual Understanding” and “Reconciliation” arose in Kubota’s heart.
Ten-year-old Yoko, her right-hand fingers stuck each other due to the heat burns from A-bombing. John who was the US Army force offered to help her at that time, but she never opened her heart to John.
When she was in a Junior high school, her friend asked her to go to see Mr. Schmoe who was building the houses for Hibakusha (A-bomb survivors), where she met Kyoko who stayed cheerful while having Keloids in her face. Kyoko said, “I am looking for the reasons for my survival”. This words strongly stayed in Yoko’s mind.
The time passed after a while, she met Yoshihiko who entered Hiroshima for cremating dead body after the A-bombing, who was Nyushi Hibakusha (Entry victim). She got married, raised 3 children, traveled to US for A-bomb testimony, then she was reunited John…
The “Firefly lights” is the story of the woman who worked very hard to survive after war.
This performance is produced by the production committee for the reading performance “Hotarubi.”
A new committee was launched for this performance; the old boys from Funairi High School Theater Club and second and third generation A-bomb survivors played a central role calling for collaborators. The performance will be held on August 1, 2020, at a sacred place of peace, Phoenix Hall at Hiroshima International Conference Center in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (accommodates 1500 people). We also hope to create a citizen’s movement for peace by recruiting many citizens (approx.100-150 people) to participate in a choir within the play (Music: Amazing Grace, Poem: Preface to Poems of the Atomic Bomb by Sankichi Toge).
This performance is not for profit. At the time of this writing, support has been given by Hiroshima City, Hiroshima City Board of Education, and Hiroshima Prefectural Choral Association.