75 Years Later, A Week of Unity - Stepping Toward A Nuclear-Free Future

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Under this current condition of the extreme stress of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are learning how important it is to keep a good relationship with our community members, local businesses and government as well as the rest of the world. Yes, indeed, as Aristotle said, “Man is by nature a social animal.” We need to belong to society, and get depressed when we feel that our society is losing its structure. We feel like we are no longer safe.


However, this could be a good opportunity to start seeing the world differently. Many crisis have happened in world history caused by natural and manmade disasters, such as earthquakes and wars. Yet we have always arisen from the most helpless of times. I believe that now is the time for us to learn from the past and move forward.


I devoted my 9 years promoting “Bon-odori Dance Festival For Peace” in the Hudson Valley, in order to raise the awareness of the danger of radiation effects caused by Nuclear Bomb Testings including Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, and more. “Bon-odori Dance Festival For Peace” is a fun summer event based on the Japanese Buddhist festival and we made our Bon-odori a special opportunity for the community to learn about the nuclear disasters. We pray together for the victims and work together toward a “Nuclear-Free Future.”


Because of the COVID-19 situation, the in-person 10th annual Dance Festival will not be allowed. There won’t be dancing together, singing together, or praying together. There won’t be food vending, taiko drumming or martial arts demonstrations. We must keep the social distance or meet in online events. That is the platform where we can gather this year.


The year 2020 marks the 75th memorial of The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. It is a very important year not only for me but also for the entire world. I would like to send my message for peace through the different platforms to commemorate all the victims who suffered from the inhumane nuclear disasters.

Youko Yamamoto


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