The 69th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, ending World War II, was commemorated on Aug. 6 at the Izumo Taishakyo Mission in downtown Honolulu. The tragic act of war was remembered with the 25th Hiroshima Commemoration and Peace Service, which was attended by local dignitaries and religious leaders from the Shinto, Buddhist, Christian and Jewish faiths. Their messages focused on future efforts to achieve peace rather than the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings.
Among the dignitaries who spoke were: Gov. Neil Abercrombie, state Sen. Brian Taniguchi, Honolulu City Councilmember Ann Kobayashi, Consul Ko Murabe (representing Consul General Shigeeda) and Wayne Miyao (on behalf of Hiroshima Mayor Matsui). Hawaii Izumo Taishakyo Bishop Daiya Amano conducted a purification and blessing ceremony, with an English explanation provided by Amano’s assistant, Rev. Jun Miyasaka. Rev. Takamasa Yamamura of the Honolulu Myohoji Buddhist Temple followed with a Buddhist message and the singing of “Ave Maria” and “Amazing Grace.” Dr. Gregg Kinkley of the Congregation of Sov Maarav delivered the Jewish message, and Dr. Kahu Kaleo Patterson of the Pacific Justice and Reconciliation Center shared the Christian message.
Every year, the YMCA of Honolulu coordinates a goodwill exchange program that sends local youth to Hiroshima and brings Japanese youth to Hawai‘i. Participant Chris Ilar spoke on behalf of the Youth Exchange Program. He said that going to Hiroshima was an unforgettable experience and that the friendships that have been forged between the United States and Japan will last a lifetime.
The YMCA was represented by retired president Donald Anderson, who also emceed the program. Anderson, along with Hawaii Izumo Taishakyo executive director Richard Miyao, received certificates of commendation for conducting the service for the past 25 years.
The ceremony concluded with dignitaries and guests each taking a turn ringing the Hiroshima Peace Bell, which was presented to the people of Hawai‘i from the Hiroshima Prefectural Government in 1985. It was placed next to the Izumo Taishakyo Mission in 1990.