About Eren Demirbas, Kajsa Gullberg & Heidi Dimon Djurhuus

Eren, Kajsa and Heidi are three Malmö University students that will attend the INu Student Seminar on Global Citizenship and Peace in Hiroshima, August 2016.

A Visit to the Peace Memorial Museum In Hiroshima

5th of August, 2016

After a night of barely sleeping at all, maybe because of the heat, or simply because of the excitement about being in Japan, I wake up at six in order to go to Hiroshima City with the rest of the INU students and staff. We are staying in Higashi-Hiroshima, a small town located east of Hiroshima city and the bus ride takes about an hour. A lucky few are able to sleep almost the entire trip, while I tiredly stare out the window, allowing my gaze to scan all the mountains and forests that we pass on our way.

When we finally arrive in Hiroshima City, at the Peace Memorial Museum, it is a herd of tired and confused people trying to navigate the site in search of answers to where we are supposed to go. Someone who looks like they know what they are doing wave us in one direction, and we do as we are told, ending up at the entrance to the museum. Inside the museum we are handed leaflets and audio guides before we make our way to the exhibition.

SONY DSC

The A-Bomb Dome

Not quite knowing what to expect I enter the exhibition, and the first thing I see is a life-size model of three persons, all of them with loose skin hanging from their dirty bodies, clothes ripped, and all wearing an expression of extreme pain. Horrifying. Even though I have read a lot about the effects of the atomic bomb, and how the burns from the radiation heat would melt the skin of the human body, having it visualised in front of me makes everything I’ve read feel extremely real.

The museum is filled with stories from survivors and unfortunate victims of the bombing, personal belongings have been donated by survivors and relatives, and they are all accompanied by a description of the person who it belonged to, their full name, age, and occupation followed with what happened to them after the bombing. The statistics, 150 000 dead, become real and the numbers turn into individuals as I walk through the exhibition. People with lives just like ours. People who went to school or work on the morning of the bomb, people who never returned home, some who just disappeared on that day, never to be seen again, perished in the flames.

SONY DSC

The Children’s Peace Monument

It’s overwhelming and shocking. There is a lot to process and all the small details of personal lives hit hard. One of the most heartbreaking displays is a collection of small paper cranes, folded by Sadako Sasaki, a girl who survived the atomic bombing at the age of two, but later suffered from leukaemia due to the radiation. She folded 1000 paper cranes, and, as per tradition, wished to be cured, but died in the hospital. She became the inspiration and model for The Children’s Peace Monument, a monument to commemorate the thousands of child victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

We move on from the museum to a hall where we get to listen to Keiko Ogura, a survivor of the bombing, or Hibakusha as they are called in Japan. She was eight years old when the bomb fell and her stories about the fear, the bomb, the fire, and the cremation of often unidentified bodies is hard to listen to, but it is very important that it is heard. She doesn’t only talk about what happened in August 1945, but continues to talk about how it is today, what it means to have been a person who was in Hiroshima. How it is to feel like you need to hide who you are because people are scared that there is something wrong with you because of the radiation that spread all across Hiroshima on the day of the bombing.

And she talks about the silence. The silence that had somehow become the norm amongst survivors, to not talk about what happened because of the guilt. The guilt of having survived something so horrible while others suffered immensely before they died. The guilt of being alive while others perished in the flames of Hiroshima, of having lived all this time while others disappeared. 

Despite the horrors faced by the Hibakusha, Keiko Ogura talks about the hope for the future, and about forgiveness. She asks us all to bring this story to our families and friends, share it, and help make sure that something similar will never happen again. That no one should have to suffer like they have, and that the most important aim to prevent this is to abolish the use and creation of nuclear weapons. Despite everything she has been through, she still believes in a future free from war and nuclear weapons, and if that isn’t one of the most inspiring acts of forgiveness and hope I don’t know what is.

A view of Hiroshima City

A view of Hiroshima City

/ Kajsa

I got to visit Tokyo!!!

Before me coming to Hiroshima to participate in the INU seminars, I got the chance to spend a couple of days in Tokyo. I have never before been in Japan but it has always been on my bucket list so it is quite awesome that I was given the opportunity to go to Japan a couple of days before the start of the seminars in Hiroshima.

I arrived on the 1st of August to Tokyo from Copenhagen and later that day Karolina was joining me. We hadn’t really met before, but luckily it was super great to have someone else to explore Tokyo with. A day later we joined up with Eren to walk around Harajuku and Yoyogipark. I really enjoyed Tokyo but it left me wanting more because 2 days is not enough time to really explore Tokyo and everything it has to offer.

IMG_1956 IMG_1887 IMG_1886 IMG_1892 IMG_1895 IMG_1904 IMG_1955 IMG_1939 IMG_1956

Hi From Hiroshima!

This will be our first blog post from us here in Hiroshima. We want to give you a short introduction to who we are and what this INU summer school is all about. We are 5 students from Malmo University that are coming from five different programs. The group consists of three bachelor students and two master students, and we are attending the same school, which is the Hiroshima University but two different courses.

IMG_2212

Here we are with our beautiful t-shirts representing Malmö Högskola.

From the left we have Eren Demirbas who is studying a BA in International Relations, next to him we have Karolina Piatkowska studying a MA in Leadership for Sustainability , then Heidi Dimon Djurhuus studying a BA in International Migration and Ethnic Relations, last to the right is Sam Pither who is studying a MA in Political Science: Global Politics and Societal Change. In the front we have Kajsa Gullberg studying a BA in English.

The INU programs overall is Global Citizenship and Peace, and this year the special focus is on the rights of indigenous peoples all around the world. We have different workshops where we get to learn about different issues that affect indigenous peoples in different parts of the world.

All the workshop will lead up to the final day of the UN Role Play where we all have different country groups assigned to us were we have to fight for the rights of the indigenous peoples of our country.

This is a great opportunity for us to meet students from all around the world, from Australia to Peru, and learn more about their perspectives on these issues as well. We are super happy to be able to experience such a different culture as the Japanese, and to also get an insight into how it is to be at a Japanese University.

You will be hearing a lot from us this week with posts about our experiences.