Asian Studies Class Returns to Hiroshima

Japan7-web

Every two years since 2006, students in “Hiroshima and Beyond” (Asian Studies 3100) travel to Japan to observe the anniversary of the WWII atomic bomb attack and to immerse themselves in Japanese culture. The program is offered through a partnership with Hiroshima Jogakuin University, which provides lecturers and experts during the experience and places students with host families during their visit.

During the 10-day trip, students visit Japan’s own “Ground Zero” and hear personal testimony by survivors of the U.S. atomic bomb attack on that city in 1945. They learn about the impact of nuclear weapons then and now, and they participate in the Hiroshima Memorial Ceremony on August 6 when the city vows never to forget the impact of nuclear war.

One of the few Ohio universities to have an Asian Studies major, BGSU also offers a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS), which has a field experience requirement. “Hiroshima and Beyond” is one way to fulfill that requirement. Offered under the Political Science department, the PACS minor provides students with the tools to understand and resolve conflicts and to work to foster peace in a globalized world. 

Though the students read accounts of the bomb’s devastation—between 70,000 and 146,000 civilians killed, plus more than 20,000 soldiers—and its impact on the Japanese psyche, the actual visit brings their understanding of the horrific event to a new and profound level. A major emphasis of the experience is coming to understand how a city that faced mass destruction in a matter of moments has become a signature city of peace.