On September 21, 2020, the 4th ringing ceremony of Peace Bell was held in the Osaka EXPO Memorial Park under the clear sky.
Although there was concern about coronavirus infection, this ceremony was carried out with the understanding of Osaka Prefecture government on the International Day of Peace.
Initially we wanted to make this ceremony small because of coronavirus, but ended up with about 30 attendees, more people than we initially anticipated.
In addition, there was a surpre; encounter with Hashigo Nakamura, a Narikomaya kabuki actor,who performed a special kabuki play “Heiwaninareya Inoruwakonokane.” ( “Aspire to Peace with this Bell.”)
Finally he shouted “Do not grudge against others, but do love,” which sounded as if Chiyoji Nakagawa was shouting, and I felt tears flew.
He also joined the ringing ceremony held simultaneously throughout Japan,and the Bell in Osaka EXPO Park, a sister bell of the UN Peace Bell, was rung towards the world.
We did all measures to fight against coronavirus; checking body tempreture, disinfect hands, installing smart phone application COCOA, registering to the corona tracking system of Osaka prefecture, and interview.
These cumbersom measures were kindly accepted by attendees, and the solemn and touching bell ringing ceremony was successfuly concluded.
I cordially thank you all concerned parties.
On October 27, 2019, an autumn clear day, the third ceremony of ringing the Peace Bell was held in the Expo’70 Commemorative Park in Osaka under full cooperation by Osaka Prefectural Government. Honorable guests included Governor of Osaka Hirofumi Yoshimura, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in charge of Kansai Region Jota Yamamoto, as well as Osaka Prefectural Board of Education, Member of Osaka Prefectural Assembly, Chairman of Suita City Board of Education, Member of Suita City Assembly, Member of Kamakura City Assembly, and Office Manager of Osaka Expo’70 Commemorative Park. Local elementary school boys and girls helped the reception desk as volunteers. Children in wheelchair from local facilities for disables joined the ceremony and rang the Peace Bell. Total seventy members and supporters of our association from Shikoku, Kansai and Kanto regions attended the ceremony.
The first UN Peace Bell Concert started in Nihombashi On November 16, 2019, a music concert for peace was held in a hall on the eighth floor of the Nihombashi Community Education Center. The concert was organized jointly by the Association for the Preservation of the UN Peace Bell and a chorus group focused on spiritual hometown. The Peace Bell of the UN Headquarters was presented in 1954 as the only gift from Japan. It has existed since then as a symbol for world peace. The concert was an opportunity to learn about the footsteps of a Japanese man, Cahiyoji Nakagawa, his courageous act and aspiration for world peace. He visited single-handedly the UN soon after WWII to express the importance of the world peace. The rich program of the concert lasted for two hours. The stage and the audence was one, leaving everyone with touching impression.
On September 20, 2019, people with flags of nations in hands gathered in the Japanese Garden of the United Nations headquarters where the Peace Bell exists. The delegation from Japan attended the solemn ceremony. Attendees were Seiko Takase, Representative Director, Association for the Preservation of the UN Peace Bell, and four members, namely Kaori Fujioka, Yoshimasa Kadota, Yoshiaki Ishizuka and Kenjiro Takase. António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, UN Secretary-General, urged the crisis around the world due to climate change, and rang the Peace Bell. The Peace Bell becomes even more important when the world is moving toward homelandism. Muhammad-Bande, President of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, followed Guterres and rang the Bell. After the ceremony, Ambassador Koro Bessho together with President Muhammad-Bande, a Nigerian, walked up to us and introduced us to the President. We shook hands with nice smile. Per request by UN, Seiko Takase gave the UN tour guides a lecture on origin of the Peace Bell and Chiyoji Nakagawa’s aspiration. Our members joined the UN Tour on the following day and were very pleased to find that the guide wholeheartedly and politely explained about the Peace Bell.
On April 8, 2019, Seiko Takase, Representative Director, and Masanori Katsura, Director, left Narita International Airport, to visit Bosnia-Herzegovia until April 15. April 10 Takase and Katsura together with Nozomi Miyanoya, lecturer at University of Sarajevo and Lamija Mršo, interpreter, visited Saburina Elementary School and gave a talk in front of senior grade students, who are very tall compared to high school students in Japan. The audience including the school principal eagerly asked questions. We brought Japanese spinning tops as gift made by a hearing-impaired Japanese person. The gifts were well received. We all prayed for peace by ringing the Peace Bell. April 11 We visited the War Childhood Museum, where we learned the hardships that children experienced and how they felt during the war. Our heart hurt very much. The fact that there exists such a museum that conveys to younger generations the horrors of war is very important. April 12 Presentation Ceremony of Peace Bell We visited City Hall and greeted Deputy Mayor of Sarajevo Milan Trivić and Ambassador Hideyuki Sakamoto. Then we were interviewed by media. The presentation ceremony of the peace bell took place at 1 pm in a very nice room of the City Hall. Attendees were about 30 people from Sarajevo City including Vice Mayor and Parliamentary Chair. Seiko Takase explained the purpose of the gift and Chiyoji Nakagawa’s aspiration about the Peace Bell. Ambasador Hideyuki Sakamoto gave a greeting address. Deputy Mayor of Sarajevo Milan Trivić expressed words of thanks. Then Deputy Mayor rang the Peace Bell, followed by Ambassador Sakamoto and rest of the attendees. The sound of the Peace Bell echoed throughout the hall. Everyone donated coins. Deputy Mayor gave us commemorative medal of Sarayjevo as a remembrance of the occasion. Nozomi Miyanoya, Lecturer, Japanese Language Course, University of Sarajevo, was instrumental for our visit and invited us to give a talk for her students in the evening. The students understood speech in Japanese. They raised many questions and the interraction was very enjoyable. Miyanoya-sensei kindly offered to translate the book “The Story of the UN Peace Bell” into Bosanski jezik.
On September 21, 2018, the UN Peace Bell Ringing Ceremony was held at the United Nations Headquarters. Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General, and H.E. María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, UN General Assembly chairman, gave speech and rung the bell in front of Mr.koro Bessho, Japanese ambassador to the UN, Mr. Michael Douglas, UN Peace Ambassador, representatives from nations and the five Japanese delegates: Ms. Seiko Takase, representative director of Association for the Preservation of UN Peace Bell, Mr. Kazuaki Tanaka, director, Mr. Masanori Katsura, director, Mr. Yoshimasa Kadota, member, and Ms. Kaiho Tanaka, member.
After the ceremony was ended and the dignitaries were to leave, three people, i.e. Mr. Guterres and H.E. Espinosa with a smile, together with Mr. Bessho, approached Ms. Takase unexpectedly and shook hands with her.
That was realized by the thoughtful people at the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations led by Mr. Bessho, the UN mission Ambassador. The visit turned out to be a very memorable one.