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Go and peace event

This year, the turning point, it has been 60 years since the 2nd World War ended and the bomb was dropped, to avoid repeating this senseless history, various events promoting the hope for peace are being held all over the world.

One of the events this summer, event introduced Go. It was a game of harmony and peace which had the theme of `the game under the bomb' was held at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) with the cooperation of the British Go Association (BGA) for 4 days.

I suppose many people know the name ` the game under the bomb'. The day the bomb was dropped in Hiroshima on the 6th of August in 1945, the 3rd Honinbo Title Match was being held and played by Utaro Hashimoto 9dan and Kaoru Iwamoto 9dan at Itsukaichi city, 10km away from where the bomb was dropped.

At that time, the Honinbo Title Match took 3 days and it was the last day of the match. The game took place on a small hill where Hiroshima city and the Inland Sea can be seen and when they started replacing stones as the game was played the day before, the US air force appeared from distance without the warning of an air-raid alarm. Everyone was wondering why and staring blankly at what was happening.

Unlike the present, there was no way of communication and also it was difficult to do anything during the war. While they did not know what was going on, they cleaned up the fallen lintel and broken glass from the windows with the flush and the loud sound from the explosion, and the game was continued. Later, it was called `a game under the bomb' and the story has been told by a lot of Go fans all over the world.

Historically, `a game under the bomb' connects Go and the bomb, and Go, a game of harmony, is a foundation of peace. I, concerned with collecting materials and so on, was invited by the BGA and visited there for inspection.

Now, IWM is located in the center of a city near the world's biggest Ferris wheel, London Eye, and there is a large magnificent cannon displayed in front of the magnificent building. Inside the building, real tanks and fighters and so on were exhibited and some of them were allowed to be touched or seen inside. Materials and photographs of the war and films were shown, so it takes a whole day to see thoroughly. A model of the nuclear warhead which was dropped in Hiroshima, called `Little Boy', was displayed specially and it attracted many viewers.

In the Go game room which was set in the middle of the hall near the entrance, the photographs from that day were displayed, as well as the diplomas of Nihon Ki-in, and the Go board with legs which had the same pattern of stones on the day the bombing occurred in the glass case. For English people who don't know Go, it must have been something completely new and different.

And the most popular section in the room was the Go trial corner. Mr. and Mrs. Wendes(please refer to my report of August 2003 in which I introduce them) who go to schools and facilities to teach as Go teachers all over the UK and the members of BGA took turns to teach the basics kindly on 9X9 Go board to people who constantly visited.

People who were interested in it were families, students who came to visit as part of their social study, couples and so on but they seemed to enjoy their first game of Go attracted by Mr.and Mrs. Wendes's skilful approach. The number of people who visited there during the event was more than 600 and it was so successful that the IWM office was surprised.

Also, Hiroko Shinkai 5dan, Iwamoto sensei's student, came from Japan to help to promote the event. She said, `I'm sure Iwamoto sensei is watching us somewhere and he must be happy'. I really thought so, too.

Also, with the help of instructors, there was a corner of Origami, making cranes, by white paper, on which you can design with any color you like and write messages, and those colorful cranes were displayed at the hall with a stairwell. I, too, made a small crane. Hope my wish comes true!

Go and Origami are both examples of Japanese culture. Culture connects people with people, and I think that peace is born from that aspect of culture. Instead of weapons, if everyone starts enjoying play Go, that is probably the first big step for peace. I hope that day will come.

However, there are many wonderful museums and art galleries in London but most of them are free of charge! And also, I could experience such a wonderful activity and I felt I gained a lot. If I have an opportunity, I'd like to visit many museums.

Lastly, I would like to thank Nihon Ki-in, Kansai Ki-in and all involved for offering valuable materials. Thank you very much.

This "GO Friends Report " started !


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