Nagasaki students to embody threat of nuclear weapons through sounds

July 28, 2013

By TASUKU UEDA/ Staff Writer

NAGASAKI--Symbolically, local high school students will drop a single small black ball onto a metal plate to represent the atomic bomb that was dropped on their city on Aug. 9, 1945, killing some 70,000 citizens instantly, at the opening of a cultural event later this month.

After a pause for dramatic effect, they will drop 17,000 more balls to represent the comparable number of nuclear weapons believed to exist in the world today, and the threat they pose to humanity.

The students from nine schools are working for the organizing committee for the All Japan High School Cultural Festival. The performance was proposed by Koji Nanba, a student at Seido Mikawadai High School in Nagasaki. The third-year student experienced it as part of peace studies last August, and hopes it will prompt the 20,000 students expected to attend to reflect.

“We have to abolish nuclear weapons to prevent such a tragedy from taking place,” Nanba said. “I hope our presentation will serve as a catalyst for thought for people who gather in Nagasaki for the event.”

He found it compelling when Kathleen Sullivan, a U.S. disarmament educator and anti-nuclear specialist, called for the abolition of nuclear arms after she gave the performance at his school.

Nanba said that when he closed his eyes and strained to hear the first ball being dropped, he could visualize the image of a flattened Nagasaki that he has seen in numerous photos.

The single ball dropping on the plate creates a crashing noise. When the rest of the balls are dropped, the sound is expected to reverberate for about 30 seconds in the light-dimmed venue for the opening ceremony on July 31.

Nanba will address the audience attending the ceremony of the cultural festival, among the largest for high school students in the nation, saying, “Imagine.”

Each time a ball drops and makes a sound in the performance, it represents people being wiped off the face of the planet.

The festival will run through Aug. 4, featuring 24 sections, such as a parade, chorus, calligraphy, photography and orchestral music.

By TASUKU UEDA/ Staff Writer
  • 1
submit to reddit
A high school student in Omura, Nagasaki Prefecture, practices in June a performance in which she and her peers drop balls representing nuclear weapons for the opening ceremony of the All Japan High School Cultural Festival. (Takeshi Iwashita)

A high school student in Omura, Nagasaki Prefecture, practices in June a performance in which she and her peers drop balls representing nuclear weapons for the opening ceremony of the All Japan High School Cultural Festival. (Takeshi Iwashita)

Toggle
  • A high school student in Omura, Nagasaki Prefecture, practices in June a performance in which she and her peers drop balls representing nuclear weapons for the opening ceremony of the All Japan High School Cultural Festival. (Takeshi Iwashita)

More AJW