On Dec. 19, 2020, the consecration ceremony for the Peace Bell for Republic San Marino
was held solemnly at the main building of Kamakura Shrine.
The ceremony was attended by 13 people from our association and the Executive Committee
of San Marino Nippon Matsuri.
The chief priest Koiwa gave the Shinto ritual prayer and the priestess played dance.
The chief priest performed Otonomiya dance and offered tamagushi, i.e. a branch of sacred tree.
It was a heartfelt ritual. All attendees rang the bell. The chief priest Koiwa talked in his speech
about the reason why Chiyoji Nakagawa came to this shrine for the purpose of consecration ceremony;
Nakagawa loved and respected Otonomiya who sacrificed life for people in general.
Lastly, Seiko Takase, the representative of our association, and Yuko Furugen,
the representative of Executive Committee of San Marino Nippon Matsuri gave closing remarks,
and the ceremony ended smoothly as planned.
The Peace Bell to be presented to San Marino had been made very nicely, and
was shown on the sidewalk in front of Shin-Marunouchi Building,
by courtesy of Mitsubishi Estate, on December 6, 2020.
The show started with a special kabuki play “Heiwaninareya Inoruwakonokane”
(“Aspire to Peace with this Bell”), performed by Hashigo Nakamura, a kabuki actor.
Audiences were impressed by the splendid performence.
Nakamura was followed by Seiko Takase who talked about the Peace Bell enthusiastically,
a group Kohanjuku to play Japanese drums, and
a group to perform a traditional dance called Nishimonai-bon-odori
The performers and audiences together shared aspiration for peace and containment of coronavirus.
We paid attention to anti-coronavirus measures; keeping social distance and modest call
to passers-by. They seemed enjoying the show for a while.
On November 25, 2020, Seiko Takase visited Suita City Peace Memorial Museum as she learned
that the UN Peace Bell was displayed.
Taeko Sakaguchi, a City Council member, and Takashi Nishiguchi, Councilar, Citizen’s Dept.
welcomed me and their staff showed me the display.
Immediately next to the entrance was a panel display of the peace bell on the wall,
which was very conspicuous.
The book “The Story of the UN Peace Bell” was also on display.
The Peace Memorial Museum is a facility to share misery of war and importance of peace with future generations,
and to encourage people striving for peaceful and nice society.
On Nov. 24, 2020, four of us, namely Yuko Furugen, Michio Takai, Midori Ono and Seiko Takase
had an opportunity to meet Taisei Higashiyama, the great priest, zengan at Koyasan Temple,
along with Masayuki Imada, chairman, Seiko Group Co. Ltd., who introduced us to the great priest.
We learned that the great priest travelled around the world actively striving for peace.
The great priest accepted my enthusiastic talk about the activities of our association with warm smile, then rang
the miniature of the UN peace bell that I brought, and listened to the echo of the bell.
The fact that Kobo-daishi was born in Kagawa prefecture
and the peace bell was cast by Tada foundry located in Kagawa prefecture
is milacurous coincidence, I felt.
The meeting lasted for over an hour squeezed out of his precious time.
He was kind enough to take a photo together and to see us off at the parking.
We were impressed very much by his kind, friendly and tolerant personality.
On the way back, we stopped at superb view point to worship sunset.
On Saturday, October 10, there was a ceremony in Osaka EXPO Memorial Park to commemorate the 50th year since EXPO’70 was held in Osaka, and Seiko Takase attended.
It was chilly as it rained just before the ceremony. When the ceremony began at 11 o’clock, the sky was clear and blue.
The ceremony started with singing a song Konnichiwa and dance on the stage, which also meant the start towards EXPO 2025 Osaka & Kansai.
Hirofumi Yoshimura, Governer of Osaka Prefecture, gave an opening address, followed by Ichiro Matsui, Mayor of Osaka City, and Keiji Goto, Mayor of Suita City.
Shinji Inoue, Minister in charge of EXPO, offered his congratulations.
The official wear adopted by 21 pavilions in Osaka EXPO’70 were introduced, and Junko Koshino, a fashion designer, gave a speech.
Kobukuro, a singer songwriter duo, joined the talk between Governer Yoshimura and Mayor Matsui.
It happened that Mayor Matsui offered Kobukuro an opportunity to write the official theme song for EXPO 2025.
The ceremony ended with singing a song Konnichiwa sung by all attenddees in unison.
The Peace Bell for the Republic San Marino has been made, thanks to Yuko Furugen, and is shown at Kyoto HBS Museum.
It will stay there until November 25, when a special kabuki play “Heiwaninareya Inoruwakonokane” (“Aspire to Peace with this Bell”) will be performed by Hashigo Nakamura, a kabuki actor, as the grand finale.
This program is the one that was performed on September 21, 2020, when the 4th Ringing Ceremony was held in the Osaka EXPO Memorial Park.
The history of UN Peace Bell movement has been showing since July 11, 2020, at Kyoto HBS Museum, where the exhibition “Japan in the Trunk – War, Peace and Buddhism” had been held during June 9 through October 8.