Springfield, Ohio – Sachiko Masuoka, an 85-year old survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, will serve as one of four experts featured in a unique panel discussion at 3:30 p.m. Friday, March 14, in Wittenberg University's Kissell Auditorium in Koch Hall.
The panel discussion serves as a kick-off event for an exhibit that will be displayed from March 14-April 12 in the Thompson Gallery. The exhibit, titled "Under the Mushroom Cloud: Reflecting on the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki," and the panel discussion are both open the general public free of charge.
Created by the Hiroshima Peace Museum, the exhibit promotes world peace and abolition of nuclear weapons and includes full-color posters with text, images and artwork that explain the effects of the bombings upon the citizens of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The panel discussion, sponsored by Wittenberg’s history department, provides visitors the opportunity to explore the reasons for the bombings. Also, it creates awareness among students and the general public regarding the historical significance of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and asks them to reflect upon how the bombing has come to be remembered – or forgotten.
Masuoka will be joined on the panel by Yuki Miyamoto, assistant professor of comparative ethics at DePaul University. Miyamoto’s research focuses on the Urakami Catholic community in Nagasaki — the community which was at the epicenter of the second atomic bomb. Other panelists include Tanya Maus, assistant professor of history at Wittenberg who teaches a course on the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and historical memory and Molly Wood, professor of history at Wittenberg who will discuss United States diplomacy.
A reception will follow the panel discussion at 5 p.m., also in the Thompson Gallery in Koch Hall. At the reception, Wittenberg's East Asian Studies Club will help participants make 1,000 paper cranes, a universal symbol of peace that will be sent to the Hiroshima Peace Museum.
Maus said she has asked students in her course to consider "how such exhibitions affect people's interpretations of the bombing and shape public memory." She added that the exhibit and discussion are important because the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki introduced the world to nuclear weapons, and the threat of global annihilation remains present today.
"This history is still very painful and meaningful for many individuals living in Japan, China and Korea today as they struggle with the impact of Japan's imperialism in East Asia during the first half of the 20th century, and the wartime atrocities that were inflicted out of such imperialist expansion," she said. "At the same time, as a global community, we are also still grappling with the ramifications of nuclear weapons used for mass destruction of civilians in Japan, and the long-term effects of radiation poisoning on those civilian populations.
"The discussion challenges viewers to think about how and why people remember the 1945 atomic bombings. The panel discussion and exhibit also challenge the viewer to think about how nuclear weapons shape history and culture."
Written By: Sydney Bates '08