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April 19, 2019

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PAX team from Hiroshima, Japan, presents programs here

Sept. 27 at Lion and Lamb Peace Arts Center and at First Mennonite

On that fateful day, Aug. 6, 1945, Emiko was eating breakfast with her mother and older sister when suddenly there was a brilliant flash of light. The next thing she knew was that she was pinned to the tatami mat with a door on top of her.

Area residents will have the opportunity to hear stories like this when a PAX team of four from the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, Japan, visits Bluffton on Thursday, Sept. 27.

The team will present a program at 1 p.m. at the Lion and Lamb Peace Arts Center on the Bluffton University campus, and an evening program at 7 p.m. at Bluffton First Mennonite Church.

The afternoon program will feature three women telling stories and speaking about various aspects of peace at 1 p.m. with time for questions and discussion from 2:15 to 3 p.m.

The evening program will be a one-man drama, Living with Father; it will have English subtitles.

Background on World Friendship Center
The World Friendship Center (WFC) in Hiroshima, Japan, was founded by Barbara Reynolds in 1965. She went to Hiroshima with her husband Earl, who was part of a research team sent by the U.S. to study the effects of the A-bomb.

Barbara was so appalled by the condition of the survivors (called hibakusha in Japanese) that she felt their stories should be told around the world. She led two Peace Pilgrimages taking survivors to tell their stories across Europe and the U.S.

When she returned to Hiroshima she founded the World Friendship Center in 1965 in an old house that still remained after the bombing. WFC is still in a house, although a different one.

Since then WFC has continued its peace activities in Hiroshima, including English-speaking guides of Peace Park for tourists, English classes for Japanese, a bed and breakfast, and many other peace-related activities.

The board of WFC is composed of residents of Hiroshima; directors are volunteers sent from the U.S., usually for a two-year term, most commonly a retired couple.

An American committee sends the directors; this committee is based in North Manchester, Indiana, and support comes from Quakers, Church of the Brethren and Mennonites. The present directors are a retired couple, Barb Shenk and Dannie Otto.

The 2018 PAX ambassadors, from left, Amano Tatsushi san, Nishii Miho san, Mimura Youko san, and Tashiro Mirei san.