Lanterns for Peace ceremony held at Memorial Park – Winnipeg Sun

On Aug. 6, 1945, an estimated 130,000 people were killed when an American B-29 bomber dropped the nuclear bomb “Little Boy” on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. On Monday, 73 years to the day, members of Winnipeg’s Japanese community gathered together to remember those who died in the devastating attack and to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.

Winnipeg’s 2018 Lanterns for Peace organizers (left to right) Glen Michalchuk, Alison Adachi, and Yuhito Adachi stand in the Japanese Cultural Centre.Danton Unger / Winnipeg Sun/Postmedia Network

“We have to learn from history,” said Yuhito Adachi, a co-organizer of the 2018 Lanterns for Peace memorial service. “It is very important to remember what war is, it’s something that is very hard to learn, but it is very important to remember why we should avoid war.”

On Monday evening at 7:30 p.m., people gathered at Memorial Park to take part in the Winnipeg Lanterns for Peace 2018 event. Attendees will decorate lanterns that will be released in the park’s fountain as the sun sets.

“People often use these lanterns to pray for peace or for people who died,” Adachi said. “In Japan, lanterns are very famous for the peace memorials.”


In addition to the lanterns, organizers held a memorial service for those who died in the 1945 bombings in Japan which also includes nearly 70,000 who died in the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

“I think especially as Canadians, it’s really easy to feel that we’re really removed from this. Well that was in Japan and that was the Americans and we had nothing to do with it, but we actually played a part,” said Alison Adachi, another organizer of the event. “Really we were a part of that whether we want to admit it or not. I think it’s tempting to say that we weren’t but that’s not true.”

The ceremony has been taking place annually in Winnipeg for nearly two decades, co-organizer Glen Michalchuk said. The lantern ceremony, which hails from an ancient Buddhist memorial ceremony called O-Bon, is a part of Mayors for Peace – a global organization dedicated to nuclear disarmament. The organization includes over 7,000 cities in 161 countries across the world.

“We do this kind of work to publicly educate people about these issues of war,” said Michalchuk, when asked what he hopes people will take away from the event, “to remember what happened and make a commitment that (Hiroshima) should never happen again and that we should be working towards the abolition of nuclear weapons.”

Michalchuk said all are welcome at the family-friendly ceremony, adding in previous years over 100 people attended, many of whom are not a part of the Japanese community.

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