War Dead Honored in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Okinawa
Rissho Kosei-kai members joined members of other religious organizations at interfaith memorial services for the dead of the Second World War, in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the city of Itoman in Okinawa Prefecture. In these areas, hundreds of thousands of noncombatants as well as soldiers died in the atomic bombings and fierce ground battles in 1945, near the war's end.
In Hiroshima on August 6, the 66th anniversary of the atomic bombing, the memorial service for the victims was hosted by Hiroshima Sensai Kuyo-kai (a memorial association for the victims of war). As a member of a peace mission organized by the Japan Religious Committee of the World Federalist Movement, Rev. Hiroshi Shiina, minister of Rissho Kosei-kai's Hiroshima Dharma Center, took part and prayed for lasting world peace. On the same day, the Hiroshima Dharma Center held a memorial service for atomic bomb victims, in which 390 members took part. After an offering of flowers and paper cranes by 30 Student Group members, all of the participants prayed in silence at 8:15 a.m., the moment the atomic bomb exploded above Hiroshima 66 years ago.
In Nagasaki, on August 8, the day before the anniversary of the atomic bombing there, the Nagasaki Prefectural Interreligious Forum held a memorial service for the atomic bomb victims of Nagasaki in Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park. Three Rissho Kosei-kai Dharma Centers in Nagasaki Prefecture are members of the forum. Some 800 people took part, including people of faith and members of the public. Rissho Kosei-kai was represented by Rev. Masahiro Nemoto, director of the External Affairs Department. Members of the Youth League of the Nagasaki Prefectural Committee of Shinshuren, including Rissho Kosei-kai members, made an offering of Lights of Peace. Five representatives, including members of the forum and the Japanese Committee of Religions for Peace, then made speeches honoring the victims.
On the evening of August 7 there was an exchange program with Turkish Muslim leaders invited to the memorial service by the Nagasaki Prefectural Interreligious Forum. The Muslim leaders made friends with the Japanese participants. Also, on the morning of August 9, Rissho Kosei-kai's Nagasaki Dharma Center held a memorial service for victims of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and other war dead, at which Rev. Nemoto delivered an address.
On August 15, the Okinawa Shukyosha no Kai (Okinawa Association of People of Faith), of which the Okinawa Dharma Center is a member, held the 21st gathering for prayers for peace in Okinawa Peace Memorial Hall in Mabuni in the city of Itoman, Okinawa Prefecture. Some 430 people took part, including members of the Okinawa Dharma Center. Rissho Kosei-kai's Tokyo headquarters was represented by Rev. Keiichi Akagawa, head of the External Affairs Group (Interfaith). The participants recited a prayer for peace and prayed in silence. Following speeches by the invited guests and an offering of flowers by representatives, the participants prayed for the victims of the battles on Okinawa and of all wars.
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