Atomic Bomb Fires are Still Burning
Silently--Candle Night 1 Pi:ce

On August 6, 1945, the nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, killing more than 120,000 people. The fires of the bomb still burn in the Peace Tower in Hoshino Village in Fukuoka Prefecture. A Candle Night event called "Candle Night 1 Pi:ce" is spreading silently across Japan.

Since winter 2007, Candle Night 1 Pi:ce has been gaining people's attention. In summer 2009, 51 such events were held in Japan. Takehiko Yoshizawa, representative of the executive committee of the event, told us what motivated them to initiate the activity.

"In the winter of 2007, I heard that the fires of the atomic bomb are still burning at Hoshino Village. That's when I knew I wanted to plan a Candle Night event. I thought using the fire of the atomic bomb would put more meaning to the event, so out of curiosity, I started using the fire for our event.

--"What were the reactions among the people?"

"In 2007, I went to Hoshino Village with three of my friends where we took fires from the Peace Tower. Each of us brought a fire to a different city--Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe, where we were going to hold the events. It took a week to carry the fires to the event sites. As a coordinator, I spent all day beside the fires. They seemed to tell us a lot with their warmness, beauty and flames--the victims' senses of terror, sadness and even the indignity of lives. At the events, we passed the fires to the participants, explaining where the fires came from, and how we felt while carrying them. Every participant handled the fire carefully, gazing at the flames. They seemed to be thinking a lot while gazing at the burning fires.

"One thing I noticed at the last Candle Night event was that not many people knew about the existence of the 'peace fire.' Even people from Hiroshima, Nagasaki where the atomic bombs were dropped, and Fukuoka where the fire still burns, didn't know.

"So I was determined to tell the story about the fire and I started to call for others across Japan to join the event.

--What do you have in your mind for the next event in summer 2010?

"We would like to hold an event outside Japan. There may be some hurdles to overcome, such as transportation of the fires, procedures and costs. There are also difference in the backgrounds, like history, culture and language. We want to find partners in other countries who would like to overcome those hurdles with us. I do believe even one person can change the future and make a miracle happen in our country and throughout the world."

--"What are your plans for future "Candle Night 1 Pi:ce?"

"I hope the fires keep burning not only silently at Hoshino Village but also around the world. We need a system to make that happen. When the Candle Night events are over, the fires should be put out, according to the ordinance of the village. I hope many local governments, schools and temples in different locations talk about having the fires. I wish there could be such a place to light the fire in each country. Our role is to give people a chance to realize the idea."

Candle Night 1 Pi:ce tries to tell a lot through their Candle Night events. Please contact if you find it interesting. We look forward to seeing to what extent the fire will reach in 2010.

(Yuko Kishikami)
March 19, 2010