Commemorating Hiroshima and Nagasaki

August 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the tragic bombings of Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945). In his statement of commemoration, issued on behalf of the Soka Gakkai Council on Peace Issues, Ikeda Center President Yoshiki Tanigawa considers the bombings in the context of contemporary nuclear weapons abolition efforts. (Read the full statement here.) Here is an an excerpt:

This year, which further coincides with the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations and the 50th anniversary of the entry into force of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), marks a critical juncture in the field of disarmament. The very first resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1946 clearly called for the elimination of nuclear weapons. It is of momentous and historic significance that at long last, in 2017, in response to the raised voices of people throughout the world, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was adopted by the UN, and that it is now moving toward gaining the ratification by 50 countries necessary for entry into force. More than anything, the TPNW embodies the courageous voices of the world’s hibakusha—the survivors of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and of the production and testing of nuclear weapons—insisting that no one else ever suffer what they have endured.

. . .

The teachings of Buddhism express the confidence that, “When great evil occurs, great good follows.” With each individual envisioning a future world free from nuclear weapons, we must make the current crisis a turning point, transforming division into unity as we advance toward the realization of that vision. As heirs to the vow of our mentor Daisaku Ikeda to realize peace—in turn the legacy of his mentor Josei Toda—we renew our determination to promote grassroots awareness-raising activities in order to build a growing popular solidarity for a world without nuclear weapons.

In addition to considering Mr. Tanigawa's thoughts, we invite you to engage with Ikeda Center articles on the challenge of nuclear abolition. Of special interest are the in-depth pieces we created covering the nuclear abolition seminar process led by Betty Reardon and Zeena Zakharia in late 2017 and early 2018. These seminars featured young women from Boston-area universities engaging with what Reardon calls Ikeda's "alternative thinking" approach to nuclear abolition. The process culminated with a public event in which the students reported on their experience in the seminars and their efforts toward nuclear abolition during the previous several months. Foremost among their activities was learning to craft questions capable of both raising awareness of nuclear weapons issues among regular citizens and increasing their commitment to the cause of abolition.

Finally, Daisaku Ikeda Ikeda's annual peace proposals always address the imperative of eliminating nuclear weapons, and the 2020 proposal is no exception. In that proposal, called "Toward Our Shared Future: Constructing an Era of Human Solidarity," he highlights the need to not only abolish nuclear weapons but to clearly envision the positive aspects of the kind of world in which this might be a reality, a point that the peace scholar Elise Boulding once shared with him. Ikeda explains:

In the 1960s, while attending a conference on disarmament, Dr. Boulding asked the participating specialists how they envisioned a totally disarmed world would function. To her surprise, they responded that they had no idea—their job was merely to describe how disarmament is possible. Based on this experience, Dr. Boulding came to realize that unless one has a clear and specific vision of what a peaceful society looks like, it will be close to impossible to effectively bring people together in pursuit of peace.

I believe this is a very important perspective. For its part, the SGI has worked to encourage widespread and multifaceted efforts to envisage a peaceful society through the “Everything You Treasure—For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons” exhibition, developed in collaboration with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which has been shown in some ninety cities around the world since 2012.

Precisely because the issue of nuclear weapons is associated with images of destruction on a scale that threatens human survival, there is a strong impulse among people to avert their gaze. In contrast, the opening panels of the exhibition invite viewers to reflect upon what is most important to them. By encouraging them to consider how to build a world that safeguards not only the things they themselves treasure but also what others regard as irreplaceable, it seeks to nurture a shared desire for constructive action.

Now, in 2020, as we reflect on the events of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is our sincerest wish that by the 2045 centennial, the dream of a nuclear-weapons-free world will have become a reality.

Print Friendly and PDF