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ISSUE 120 VOL 1 PUBLISHED 9/22/2006

Hiroshima survivors share stories

By Emelie Heltsley
News Editor

Friday, September 22, 2006

The St. Olaf, Carleton and Northfield communities will welcome four guests from Japan this week, men and women who lived through the World War II atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

The guests will tell their individual stories at a community event on Sunday at the Northfield Middle School auditorium, Monday and Tuesday at St. Olaf, and Wednesday and Thursday at Carleton.

Assistant Professor of Japanese Rika Ito said that the visit from the Hiroshima survivors fits well with the St. Olaf theme of global citizenship.

"What a coincidence," she said. "It's great."

Ito hopes that the visit and talks from the survivors will help connect students to Asian, specifically Japanese, culture.

Too often, she said, students only connect with stereotypical aspects of Asian cultures, such as samurai and anime.

Ito wants the upcoming Hiroshima survivor events to better acquaint the Northfield, Carleton and St. Olaf communities with wider, global issues.

"Where are we going?" she asked. "What is our responsibility as a global citizen?"

Ito also realizes that listening to the personal accounts of Hiroshima survivors might be difficult for the community.

"It is not an easy topic," Ito said. "Listening to personal testimony is hard."

Ito said that the survivors want to share their stories because they do not want their history to be forgotten.

"We cannot forget the past. They don't want their experiences to die," she said.

Busses will be leaving Buntrock Commons on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. to take any interested students to the main community event, which will last from 3:30-5p.m.

The Northfield Middle School Auditorium can hold approximately 700 people, and Ito would like to see every seat filled.

"That is a goal," she said. "The auditorium full of people."

For students who are not able to get off-campus, the visitors will be speaking at Chapel at 10:10 a.m. on Monday, with a reception afterwards.

On Tuesday, they will visit several St. Olaf classes and have meals with students throughout the day.

Ito invites all interested students to join the Japanese conversation table on Monday night to make paper cranes for the event.

The Hiroshima survivors coming to campus are Mr. Miyoji Kawasaki, Ms. Junko Kayashige, Mr. Tadahiko Murata and Ms. Miyako Yano.

The survivors were between the ages of five and 16 at the time of the attack, and have worked as teachers, artists and businessmen.

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