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"To foster peace, one friend at a time."

World Friendship Center was founded by Barbara Reynolds on August 7th, 1965
(20 years after the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima)
to provide a place where people from many nations can meet,
share their experiences and reflect on peace.

World Friendship Center has continued Barbara's vision of serving the Hiroshima community
and visitors to the city in a variety of ways.

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History &
Information

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Activities held
at WFC

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Programs
& Cost

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A-Bomb Survivors'
Experiences

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WFC's Newsletter
Yu-Ai

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Map to
WFC

Jessica (USA)

April 2018

Staying here definitely adds to the experience of visiting Hiroshima.

Dannie and Barb were a wealth of knowledge and eager to share and give you as much (or as little) additional information as you want. What an honor to have the opportunity to hear a hibakusha tell his story! Only regret is that I couldn’t spend more time.

So glad to support the mission of this place by staying! Thank you again!

Michaela & Felix (Czech Republic & Germany)

April 2018

Cannot express sufficiently how much this meant for us. We’ll try to spread the message and hope that many will follow. Thanks for the intense experience.  

Bethany (UK)

April 2018

We felt so welcomed and comfortable at the WFC.
An interesting and thought provoking stay, a unique chance to learn more about Japan’s past and hear personal stories.
Thank you for this wonderful experience.

Amilie (Germany)

March 2018

Thank you for our lovely stay here in WFC!
We were very moved and touched by the hibakusha story as well as the wonderful Peace Park tour.
Thank you for making such experiences possible!

Susan & Len (USA)

November 2017

What a great way to learn the lessons of Hiroshima – by connecting with bomb survivors and people committed to nuclear disarmament. Plus, the hospitality was great and the accommodations comfortable. I would love to come back! Thank you, Barb & Dannie!

Latest News

Friendship Afternoon — September, 2019

2019-09-13

Roger and Kathy Edmark are the new directors at the WFC.
They will talk about their life stories in English.

Roger grew up in Seattle in the state of Washington. He went to school there including college at the University of Washington, and then worked for The Boeing Commercial Airplane Company for 43 years until retirement. Kathy’s memories are of growing up in Miyako-jima, Okinawa and Kobe, Japan. Her parents, grandparents and aunt and uncle were all missionaries. She moved to the states to finish high school, met Roger, and the two of them raised four children. Kathy worked 25 years in education as a para-educator. Both have felt called to serve in many capacities as a response to their faith.

World Friendship Center
TEL 082-503-3191
Email wfchiroshima@nifty.com
8-10 Higashi Kan-on,
Nishi-ku Hiroshima

Yu-Ai May issue 2019 — Korean PAX report by Keigo Nakamura

2019-09-13

Yu-ai Friendship
Newsletter of the World Friendship Center, NPO

Participating in the Korean Pax
Keigo Nakamura


I learned many things and experienced many meaningful days while participating in the Korean Pax. For example, I learned about military comfort women and Korea in the Japan colonial period. I’d like to tell about four of my most impressionable experiences.

First, on the morning of the second day, I saw demonstrations held in front of a military comfort women statue near the Japanese Embassy. Many people participated in the demonstrations due to the day falling on May Day, including many students. Some, wearing yellow dresses like Jakie Chan, hit something like a sponge ball which had a face photo of Prime Minister Abe on it, which was interesting. Girl students and women with
their children also participated. I thought they were more interested in politics than Japanese people. Enjoyable activities like dances and songs were performed during demonstrations. I was surprised and interested, thinking that those looked nicer than in Japan. However, I also felt sad to see mothers participating with their small children, exposing them to Anti-Japanese sentiment at such a young age. Moreover, I had a strange feeling that I would betray my country joining this demonstration.

Second, I visited the House of Sharing. I learned about military comfort women when I visited the historical museum located on the spot where the House of Sharing was founded. I was a little bit tense because some Korean army soldiers were there. I had thought that Military Comfort Women would be all Chinese or Korean. So, I was surprised to know that
there were Japanese military comfort women too. I had an opportunity to meet former military comfort women and to hear about many things. One said to me, “I am able to forgive the present-day Japanese who were not born when I was a comfort woman. I am glad to hear your apology, but you are not responsible. My heart is not healed.” Her words impacted me deeply. She said that she wanted the Prime Minister Abe and Emperor Showa to apologize to her which made me understand what severe sufferings she had undergone.

Third, I went to Gyeongbokgung Palace. I often have seen historical Korean plays on TV, and was glad to see close-up the historical building which I saw in the TV program. I realized again that the Korean Palace was splendid. This was my second time to visit Seoul and Gyeongbokgung. I saw more black people and Westerners than the last time. I realized that Korea has become globalized.

Fourth, I experienced interaction with the host family in Korea. I was treated to Korean food – dak galbi on the second day of my visit, and to samgyupsal on the third day, as well as a Korean alcohol, mak goeli. While drinking together at that time, we talked about my grandfather and politics. Through this conversation, I learned about historical Korean plays, Korean children’s songs and the educational system of Korea. I had a friendly conversation with the host mother because both of us had something in common, learning Chinese a little. Given a lot of good sightseeing advice, I spent an enjoyable time while I was free on the fourth day.

Allow me to use this opportunity to apologize for having troubled many people when I got on the wrong train when I changed trains and got lost. I learned many things and had a valuable Golden Week. Karen invited me to participate in a summer camp in Nanjing which I’d love to do. I’d like to express my deepest gratitude to the host family in Korea, people of the Peacebuilding group that accepted the Korean PAX, and members of the WFC.


Translated by Sachiko Hiraoka

Copyright © NPO World Friendship Center 2018 All Rights Reserved

Yu-Ai May issue 2019 — Korean PAX report by Matsue Matsumoto

2019-09-13

Yu-ai Friendship
Newsletter of the World Friendship Center, NPO

Participating in the Korean PAX
Matsue Matsumoto


I participated in the Korean PAX from April 30 to May 5. During this trip, I visited places where we usually could not go, and had very valuable experiences.

I participated in a protest meeting which was held in front of the Japanese Embassy on Wednesday May 1. The protest meeting is held on every Wednesday. In the afternoon, we went to Seodaemun Prison History Hall. On May 2, we visited the Comfort Women Historical Museum and met a Korean woman at House of Sharing. They both depicted negative legacies of the Imperial Japanese Army.

At the anti-Japan demonstration on Wednesday, a priest of the Methodist church offered his message and prayer. I couldn’t understand Korean, so I had no idea what he was saying. In the bible, Matthew 5:44 says “Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” I couldn’t understand what kind of message he offered and how he prayed for people in the demonstrations.

At the site of Seodaemun Prison History Hall, prison houses are preserved and open to the public. Activists in the independence movement were imprisoned here during the Japanese colonial period. The prison houses were also used by the Korean government after World War II. They were the buildings where tortures and death penalties were performed.

At House of Sharing, Tsukasa Yajima, a Japanese, showed us a video of the activities and protest of Ms. Kang Duk-kyung who was the first to proclaim the comfort women issue. We saw her pictures that she drew for her mental health. Each picture depicted her crying heart – a feeling I could share. After that, I met two Korean women. Their names and ages were the same. One of them looked calm as she told her story. I thought she had a strong will which would not be daunted and would persevere through anything. When I asked her “What do you want us to do? What do you want?” She answered, “Apology and compensation.” The other was a woman free from care.

On the night of the second day, I made an apology and told the A-bomb experience. During questions and answers session after my presentation, someone asked “Why don’t you ask America for an apology? You had terrible experiences due to the A-bomb.” I answered, saying “Many American people agree that the A-bomb ended the war sooner. The Japanese proverb says, ‘Leave the past in the past. Cover up what smells bad.’ Many Japanese don’t ask for apology. Some young Japanese don’t know that once Japan fought against America. Today, the power of nuclear weapons is about 4000 times as strong as that of the A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima. One bomb would contaminate half of the earth with radiation. From a humanitarian standpoint, such a powerful weapon must not be used. However, some countries possess them. I am making efforts to abolish nuclear weapons.” I don’t know whether they understood what I meant.

There is a culture of “hatred” in Korea we Japanese can’t understand. They harbor this feeling for a long period of time in their minds. However, Kim Yog-Won an author of Social Psychology (1989), points out that the Korean are very generous people and forgive others, and can accept their fate due to “hatred”. I think that both aspects are true. I can understand the Korean people seek for an apology from the top person for war responsibility. If the number of people who support the latter aspect is larger than that of the former, I think we can find a clue to reconciliation. Today, the relations between Japan and Korea are strained. I hope from now on, that young people try to solve the Japan-Korea issue.

Translated by Sachiko Hiraoka

Copyright © NPO World Friendship Center 2018 All Rights Reserved