On 3 February, we visited Toda Shoji Ltd. We presented them with a letter of appreciation and a trophy for their warm understanding and great contribution to the peace activities of the Association for the Preservation of the UN Peace Bell over many years.
Vice-President Hidehiro Suzuki, Vice-President Hiromi Nohara, General Manager Hiroyuki Nakamura and Kentaro Suzuki of the Audit Department attended the meeting. Seiko Takase, Representative of the Association, presented a letter of appreciation and a trophy to Vice-President Nohara.
The trophy was designed by Mr Kazufumi Nagai, President of Hakuhodo Design Inc, who was introduced by Mr Mitsuo Tomari, a member of the Association’s Board of Directors, and is made of crystal. The symbol engraved on the trophy represents the sound of the Peace Bell echoing across the world’s five continents, praying for peace.
We are grateful for their contribution to our activities.
On March 9, We visited Seikei Junior High School and gave a talk in the classroom. Seikei Junior High School is a private integrated junior and senior high school with a history of 100 years. The junior high school has a special research group “UNESCO School”. Mr. Miyamoto, the advisor of the group, had contacted us to ask about the background of Mr. Chiyoji Nakagawa’s creation of the UN Peace Bell, his passion for the bell, and the story of Ms. Takase, who had watched over her father.
The school had a free and cheerful atmosphere. The teachers and students welcomed us warmly and listened to us attentively. We had so many questions about what we can do for peace, what it means to love others, etc., that there was not enough time to talk. I could feel the energy of the students.
At the end of the session, the students rang the bell one after another and worshipped one another, which made me smile.
On February 13, 2023, we visited the Embassy of the Republic of Gabon and held a presentation ceremony of the Peace Bell.
Ambassador Effangone-Obaghe and Counsellor Mouroumby welcomed us with smiles.
The ceremony was attended by Mr. Miyake, representative of the Japan-Gabon Friendship Association, Mr. Kambayashi, Mr. Cho, general manager of Toda Shoji, and Mr. Sakai, representative director of Higashi Nihon Koun Co.
Representative Takase presented the bell to Ambassador Obaghe. When we first visited him on November 14 last year, we had brought a 4kg peace bell with us and explained our desire for the UN Peace Bell. From this, the Ambassador understood well the significance of this bell and said that the world today especially needs the Peace Bell, which is the wish of Chiyoji Nakagawa.
The Ambassador said that he would like to show this bell to everyone and is thinking of taking it to his home country of Gabon.
It was suggested that we visit schools in Gabon, and Takase will give a talk at the school and have the students ring the bell. Ambassador Obaghe will be working with us on this plan.
By the way, Gabon has a wide variety of fish. We enjoyed the panel explanation of the various types of fish.
On February 9, 2023, Representative Takase gave a lecture at Hirai-Nishi Elementary School in Edogawa Ward, Tokyo. Former Principal Kasuga, a member of the Board of Directors of Association, also attended and assisted the event.
About 370 students from grades 1 through 6 attended the lecture, listening intently to the story of Nakagawa Chiyoji’s 1954 appeal for peace and presentation of the Peace Bell to the United Nations, and many students raised their hands one after another to ask excellent questions.A representative child from each class rang the Peace Bell, the sound of which will remain in the children’s hearts for a long time.
Principal Fujisawa, PTA president, and many other teachers also participated in the event, showing their passion for peace activities at Hirai Nishi Elementary School.
On January 12, 2023, Mr. Borislav Iliev of Bulgaria, through our member Ms.Yoko Takikawa, who is currently a Japanese language teacher at Sofia University in Bulgaria, asked us to appear on the Bulgarian National TV program “PANORAMA” in a ZOOM interview.
The interview took the form of an interview with Bulgarian journalist Peter Georgiev about the origin of the UN Peace Bell, Chiyoji Nakagawa, the current activities of the Association, the invasion of Ukraine, and some other topics, and the interview took place on January 25 on ZOOM. Ms. Takigawa also witnessed the event.
Mr. Iliev informed us that the interview was broadcast in Bulgaria on January 27, and sent us an archived video saying it was very good. As we have mentioned before, Mr. Iliev found a 1 kg “UN Peace Bell” during his Shikoku pilgrimage and brought it back to Bulgaria, where he made and hung a Torii gate by himself.
Ms. Takigawa invited me once to give an online lecture at the Japanese Studies Department of Sofia University, and I have been inspired to do so.
Representative: Seiko Takase
On November 10, 2022, I visited Nagasaki City Hall with Director Katsura and Director Takai to present a 4kg sister bell of the United Nations Peace Bell.
We were very happy to be welcomed with smiles by Mayor Taue and all the staff, and to feel that the significance of the presentation of the Peace Bells and their wishes were well received by them. The ceremony was attended by Mayor Taue, Mr. Maeda, Director of the A-bomb Countermeasures Department, Ms. Matsuo, Manager of the Peace Promotion Division of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, and Ms. Shinozaki, Director of Nagasaki Peace Memorial Museum, and was moderated by Mr. Sadakane, Section chief of the Peace Promotion Division. It was a splendid presentation ceremony with many media attendance.
I felt Nagasaki City’s strong desire for peace. And I still feel the deep connection between the UN Peace Bell and Nagasaki, as there is a history of a 16-year-old girl from Nagasaki who sent a handful of soil from here to the UN headquarters in 1954, which is buried under the cornerstone of the bell tower.
Representative: Seiko Takase
(Photo courtesy of the City of Nagasaki)