On 6 August 2019, Coventry Lord Mayor’s Committee for Peace and Reconciliation organised a stimulating, thought-provoking and moving annual Commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima.
A memorial has been held in Coventry for Hiroshima Day every year since 1987. The two cities have developed a friendship over the years with messages exchanged between the Lord Mayor of Coventry and the Mayor of Hiroshima. This year, Coventry Hiroshima Day coincided with Japan-UK Season of Culture 2019-20, and the Committee registered four of the day’s activities with the Embassy of Japan.
The day started with an exhibition of beautiful Japanese Embroidery created by British enthusiasts who practice and teach the technique in association with the American Japanese Embroidery Center.
That was followed in the afternoon with Taiko drumming in the body of the Cathedral. See here for a video.
The Lord Mayor held a reception for his Excellency Minister Okada from the Japanese Embassy who brought a letter from the Mayor of Hiroshima for the people of Coventry, and kindly received a letter from the Lord Mayor of Coventry to take back in return.
This was followed by an introduction to the service in which an account of moments after the bomb fell on Hiroshima written by a survivor was read out, followed by a demonstration of Taiko drumming.
The service itself, which included prayers and reflective silence, was led by the Reverend Craig Muir of St Columba’s Church and the Coventry Cathedral Chapel of Unity. The service included a performance by six Coventry Young Ambassadors of Howes Primary School, led by Deputy Head Rebecca Bollands.
Students from Cardinal Newman Catholic School told the story of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl affected by the Hiroshima bomb and part of it was read in Japanese by Etsuko Connor. Coventry poet, Anthony Owens, spoke one of his Hiroshima poems.
The congregation were shown how to make Japanese origami cranes of peace.
This was followed by a thought-provoking reflection was given by Paul Parker, senior administrator of Quakers in Britain.
The event was widely acclaimed as moving and profound, bring home the horror of nuclear weapons and the need to ensure they are never used again.