Tag Archives: Tokyo

The flame of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

On our last trip to Tokyo, we were walking through Ueno and happened upon the monument to the flame of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Standing in front of this monument is a very moving experience. The marble slab is surrounded by hundreds of paper cranes, a symbol of peace.

The Origin of “the Flame of Hiroshima and Nagasaki”

“On August 6, 1945, US forces dropped the world’s first atomc bomb on Hiroshima, and another on Nagasaki…Sometime later, Tatsuo Yamamoto went to Hiroshima in search of his uncle, and found a flame of the atomic bomb burning in the ruins of his uncle’s house. He brought it back to Hoshino-mura, his hometown in a memento of his uncle and an expression of his resentment. But years went by, the meaning of the flame turned into a symbol of his desire for abolition of nuclear weapons and for peace. Hoshino-mura built and torch and transferred the flame to it on August 6, 1968. It has been keeping the flame ever since as the flame for peace, with the support of the villagers.

 

“The use of nuclear weapons will destroy the whole human race and civilization. …The elimination of nuclear weapons…has become the most urgent and crucial for the very survival for the whole of humanity. There must never be another Hiroshima anywhere on earth. There must never be another Nagasaki anywhere on earth.” – Appeal from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, issued in February 1951.

In 1988, a flame was taken from the torch and was merged with another flame lit by the friction of broken roofing tiles of Nagasaki. Along with 30 million signatures collected in support of the “Appeal from Hiroshima and Nagasaki”, it was carried to the Third Special Session of the UN General Assembly for Disarmament taking place in New York City.

We hereby pledge to keep burning the A-Bomb flame, convinced that this monument should contribute to strengthening the worldwide people’s movement to abolish nuclear weapons and achieve peace, which is the most urgent task for the people across the borders. – August 1990, Association for the Flame of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Lit at Ueno Toshogu”

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Meiji Shrine, Tokyo, Japan

Meiji Shrine (明治神宮, Meiji Jingū), located in Shibuya, Tokyo, is the Shinto shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. When Emperor Meiji died in 1912 and Empress Shōken in 1914, the Japanese people wished to pay their respects to the two influential Japanese figures. It was for this reason that Meiji Shrine was constructed and their souls enshrined on November 1, 1920.

The original building was destroyed during the Tokyo air raids of World War II. The present iteration of the shrine was funded through a public fund-raising effort and completed in October, 1958.[5]

Meiji Shrine was brought into the flow of current events with the 2009 visit of United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After arriving in Tokyo on her first foreign trip representing the newly elected President Barack Obama, she made her way to this shrine in advance of meetings with Japan’s leaders to show her “respect toward history and the culture of Japan.” 

This shrine is one of the most peaceful places I have ever visited. Although it is located in the heart of Tokyo, you feel as if you are miles away from the noise of the crowded city.

When Tony and I visited there in 2009, we were lucky enough to attend a tea ceremony at this traditional tea house.

Traditional wedding ceremonies are also performed at the shrine. Spring seems to be a very popular time for wedding ceremonies. The bride and groom are shielded by a red umbrella as they walk across the courtyard to the area where the ceremony is performed.

There are barrels of wine and sake donated to the shrine from around the world. According to travelblog “Emperor Meiji is known in part for his interest in western culture, and this interest is partially responsible for Japan’s modernism period during his reign. In particular, Emperor Meiji was known to enjoy pairing certain western foods with fine red wine. In his honor, several wineries around France donated barrels of the Emperor’s favorite wine, and these barrels are displayed on the side of the path to the shrine.”

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