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The 6th Bell Ringing Ceremony in Osaka Expo Memorial Park

On October 16, 2022, the 6th Peace Bell Ringing Ceremony was held in Osaka Expo Memorial Park.

Total 44 people from Tokyo, Osaka and Uwajima attended the ceremony under fine weather as I sweat.

Seiko Takase, representative director, gave a speech. Three dignitaries gave a congratulatory speech;

 former minister of state Kansei Nakano, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary in Kansai, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tsutomu Himeno,and a prefectural assembly member in Osaka Yusuke Sugie.

Congratulatory messages from three dignitaries were read; a member of the House of Representatives Takemitsu Okushita, the Governer of Osaka Prefecture Hirofumi Yoshimura, and the superintendent of education of Osaka Prefecture Masashi Hashimoto.

Congratulatory speech was given by the general manager of Osaka Expo Memorial Park Junichi Nozoe. Congratulatory messagesfrom the mayor of Suita City Keiji Goto, and the mayor of Uwajima City Fumiaki Okahara were introduced.

Two groups of Suita Child Ambassadors from the Education Association for Next Generation Children and a parents and a child from Ukurainewho came to Japan as refugee participated in the ceremony.

All the people present rang the Peace Bell. The sound of bell was sent to the world as prayer for peace.

Handmade books with a theme on peace were displayed on site and interested audience had a look at them with admiration.

Although the ceremony was held under the prevention measures to COVID-19 pandemic,thanks to the fine weather, the ceremony certainly helped us to step forward with hope for the future.

After Mitsuo Tomari, our director, gave closing remarks, a group photo was taken and the ceremony was ended smoothly.

    

Bell Ringing was Performed by Us in Three Locations on the International Day of Peace

On September 21, 2022, the bell at Taiheiji temple was rang. Taiheiji is the place where Chiyoji Nakagawa  started his endeavour for peace; Chiyoji Nakagawa visited the temple when he returned home after the war, and was surprised to see that the temple bell was delivered to the government and gone.Then, Chiyoji had a bell cast using the coins collected from 26 nations and his own saber too.

The bell was marked with letters “世界絶対平和万歳,” meaning “absolutely peaceful world forever,” and was donated to the temple.

Takanobu Hoshino, chief priest, helped us with the ceremony. Jiro Ohno, our director, and kindergarten children from Rissho Hoikuen,  participated in the ceremony. The chief priest gave a speech about the bell, followed by bell ringing.

The lovely children listened to the speech delivered by the chief priest eagerly. There was an interview by Nankai Broadcasting also.

  

The bell in Osaka Expo Memorial Park, which is a sister bell of the one in the United Nations headquarters, was cleansied and bell ringing took place.The park was supposedly closed, Junichi Nozoe,the general manager of the park, and his staff kindly supported for us to cleanse the bell; Masaaki Taniyama,our director, and volunteers worked together. After the bell cleansing was finished, everyone on the site rang the bell and wished for peace.  We hoped that the sound of the bell reached to people in the disputed area. 

 

 

In Tokyo, there was a ceremony titled Bell Ringing Ceremony to Pray for Peace throughout Japan at  Meiji Shrine.Seiko Takase, representative director, and Masanori Katsura, our director, attended the ceremony.Following Sukehiro Hasegawa, master of the ceremony, Seiko Takase talked about the story of peace bell.Yuriko Koike, Governer of Tokyo, and other guests gave a speech and rang the bell, a scaled-down one, weighing 4kg, of the UN Peace Bell. With the performance of biwa by Kakushin Tomoyoshi, the ceremony was closed.

  

 

 

2022 Participation in the UN Peace Bell Ceremony

On September 16, the International Day of Peace ceremony was held at UN Headquarters, and Director Tomari and I participated in the ceremony.

Although the ceremony was small, as the Corona crisis has not yet ended, Secretary-General Guterres’ serious and thoughtful speech made the ceremony solemn. He called for “the world to unite, not fight, to tackle the threats of poverty, hunger, and climate change,” and rang the Peace Bell with a prayer. General Assembly President Korosi then rang the bell.

I was in a wheelchair, so I was outside the ceremonial circle, but Deputy Secretary General Amina, out of concern for me, invited me into the circle to stand by the UN Peace Bell. Secretary General Guterres also greeted me with a smile, and I was so moved by his kindness and his firm recognition of the history and significance of the Peace Bell that I involuntarily burst into tears.

The bell, seen up close, had a very nice bronze color that reminded me of its 68-year history. I was impressed by the golden glow of the words “Long Live World Absolute Peace,” a prayer for world peace, and the crescendo symbol, which represents peace for those close to us.

I felt as if my late father, Chiyoji Nakagawa, was standing beside me looking up at the bell and saying, “Please do not give up and continue to pray for peace, one by one” even in a world of continuing conflict.

                                       Representative Seiko Takase

 

(Photo courtesy of the United Nations Information Center and Mainichi Newspapers)

 

    

Presentation of the Peace Bell to the City of Hiroshima

On August 25, 2022, Director Takai and I visited Hiroshima City and presented the sister bell of the United Nations Peace Bell to the City of Hiroshima.

The presentation ceremony was held at the Mayor’s Office. Mayor Matsui welcomed us with a smile, and Mr. Sakaya, Director of the Citizens Bureau, Mr. Matsushima, Director of the International Peace Promotion Division, and Mr. Higaki, Director of the Peace Promotion Division, were in attendance.

 

After an explanation of the significance of the UN Peace Bell and its origins, the presentation ceremony was held. After receiving the bell, Mayor Matsui rang it and listened to the sound of the bell. After the ceremony, the Mayor leaned forward to listen to me as I gave him materials and a picture book about the UN Peace Bell. It was the first time for me to meet Mayor Matsui in person, and I found him to be very calm and gentle. Many media representatives attended the ceremony, which turned out to be a splendid presentation ceremony.

 

We are very pleased with the care of Mr. Yagasaki and Mr. Kubo, who were in charge of the event. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

                                 Representative: Seiko Takase

(Photo courtesy of Hiroshima City)

        

 

The Sacred Ceremony for Peace Bells at Kamakuraguu

On August 22, a ceremony was held at Kamakuraguu to mark the unveiling of the sister bell of the United Nations Peace Bell.

The bells weighing 4 kg were to be presented to Hiroshima City, Nagasaki City, the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, and the Embassy of the Republic of Gabon. The ceremony was solemnly held in the lingering summer heat with 15 people in attendance.

The ceremony began with a prayer of congratulation by Mr. Koiwa, the chief priest of the shrine, followed by the “Ootounomiya Dance” by the shrine maidens, followed by the offering of a tamagushi by those in attendance and the ringing of the bell in prayer for peace.

Following Mr. Koiwa’s speech, there were greetings by Representative Takase, Mr. Nojo, the chief priest of Tsurumine Hachimangu Shrine, Ms. Kusaka, a member of the Kamakura City Council, Mr. Nakamura, General Manager of Toda Shoji, and Mr. Miyake, a board member of the Japan-Gabon Friendship Association.

The Peace Bell to be presented to the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of Gabon was donated by Toda Shoji.

Although it was a corona disaster, the ceremony was completed without delay thanks to the cooperation of the participants in preventing infection.

         

Participation in Hiroshima World Peace Flag Ceremony

On August 6, Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Memorial Day, I participated in the Hiroshima World Peace Flag Ceremony (WPFC). Every year on this day, a ceremony is held in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome (Genbaku Dome) at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park to pray for peace by raising national flags of 194 countries around the world. This ceremony was held with Hiroshima as the main venue, connecting the United States, Canada, South Korea, Brazil, and other countries around the world via a live broadcast. At 8:15, when the atomic bomb was dropped, we prayed silently in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome to the signal of the Peace Bell at the Peace Memorial Ceremony site in Hiroshima. The flag ceremony began with the sound of the child bell of the UN Peace Bell. During the ceremony, I introduced the origins and significance of the UN Peace Bell. Passersby joined the ceremony in turn, waving flags from around the world and saying “May peace be in that country!” as they waved their flags.

After the ceremony, participants also rang the UN Peace Bell to pray for peace.

The next day, Ms. Suga, a member in France, sent me an e-mail saying, “I am glad that you could send out information about UN Peace Bell to the world”. Seeing the beautiful city of Hiroshima, which has recovered from the tragedy of the atomic bombing 77 years ago, I was reminded once again of the efforts and underlying strength of the people of Hiroshima.

         

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