Hawaii students travel to Japan for Hiroshima anniversary

HONOLULU — Students from Hawaii have gathered with students in Japan at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima to remember the atomic bombings and to promote peace.

Two students each from Punahou School and Farrington High School in Honolulu traveled to Japan as peace scholars for the anniversary of the Aug. 6, 1945 U.S. bombing of Hiroshima, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

Hawaii residents Hiromi Peterson and Naomi Hirano-Omizo, who wrote "Adventures in Japanese," have funded the Hiroshima Peace Scholars program with their royalties from the Japanese-language textbooks, which are used in high schools across the U.S.

The project by the two longtime Punahou School teachers entered its 10th year and selected two public school students for the first time in addition to the Punahou students.

The four students plus a teacher traveled to a sister school in Hiroshima to forge links for peace with other students.

Peterson was born in Hiroshima three years after the blast. Hirano-Omizo, the granddaughter of a Japanese immigrant, grew up on the Big Island.

"I hear the same words from both Pearl Harbor victims and Hiroshima victims: 'I just don't want the same thing to happen to anyone else,'" Peterson said. "If we pass our message to the young people, I hope the seeds of peace will come up, here and there. At least it's better than doing nothing."

The students stay with Japanese families, speak with survivors and attend the memorial.

"This is a really good way to not forget about what happened, to come to an understanding and be able to move forward instead of having history repeat itself," Punahou senior Eden Chun said last week before leaving for the 10-day trip.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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