Sunday and Monday, June 9 and 10, 2019. Nagoya, Kiyosu, and Kitanagoya, Aichi Prefecture

WELL, LET’S TRY IT. Sate, sate, sate! (さて / Now… / So… / Well…) Ajima Midori-san, a cultural worker and artist for peace, in one of her theatrical performances.

Text and Photos by Galileo de Guzman Castillo

June 9 was a big day for the peace movement. Many groups joined the Intra-Nagoya Intensive Peace March and Action. Our group’s starting point was the Toyokuni Jinja (Shrine) in Nakamura Park, about six kilometers away from the convergence point at Oasis 21 in Sakae, the center of Nagoya City. Nagoya is the capital of Aichi Prefecture and is also the largest city in the Chubu region, home to about 2.3 million people.

As we reached Oasis 21, a popular tourist spot near the Nagoya TV Tower (the oldest tower in Japan; built in 1954 and “destroyed” by Godzilla in 1964), a plethora of peace marchers welcomed us with thundering sound of clapping. Amidst the cheers of the huge crowd and the sound of drumbeating and warm welcome, the rain also joined us in celebrating and honoring the unwavering efforts of the Heiwa Koshin—still going strong in its 61st year.

A contingent of “peace joggers” were also given special thanks for jogging through twelve courses in Nagoya’s wards: Atsuta, Chikusa, Higashi, Midori, Minami, Minato, Mizuho, Nakagawa, Nakamura, Nishi, Showa, and Tenpaku.

OASIS IN THE HEART OF THE CITY. Japanese peace movements converge at the Oasis 21 (photo above). Oasis 21 is also referred to as the “Spaceship-Aqua” for its symbolic glass roof designed with a celestial theme (photo below).

The next day, June 10, we marched from Kiyosu to Kitanagoya. At the Kiyosu Castle (清洲城), we were treated to a sumptuous lunch of Japanese bento (弁当) and invigorating performance led by cultural workers and artists for peace (see introduction photo). The cultural solidarity was a fitting tribute to the Heiwa Koshin as it captured succinctly well the sentiments, feelings, and emotions of the peace marchers.

As the day reached an end, with more than 44,000 steps walked and 33 kilometers covered, Hirotani-san, a youth peace marcher from Wakayama, asked me: “Galileo, do you like the rain?”

I thought about the rains these past few days of the Peace March. The thought of the hassles and icky feelings of wet socks (see Notes from the Field #8) also briefly ran through my mind.

I looked at Hirotani-san, smiled, and nodded, “Yes, I like the rain.” I consider the rain as a blessing from above, a “gift.” And while it serves as a challenge for us, the peace marchers—shivering in wet and cold—it also serves as a motivation to carry on and move forward, as we look for the rainbows and new days ahead.

Tomorrow will be the last day of the Aichi Peace March. I know I would walk all over again, in a heartbeat, come rain or shine—for love and for peace.

ONE THOUSAND ORIGAMI CRANES (千羽鶴 Senbazuru). Hirotani-san receives a symbolic offering of one thousand paper cranes. The Orizuru (折鶴) is a peace symbol and are often seen at war and atomic bomb memorials. According to a Japanese legend, anyone who folds senbazuru will be granted a wish by the gods.

WE DO NOT NEED NUKES! Chants of kakuheiki nakuso (核兵器 なくそ) and kakuheiki iranai (核兵器 いらない) fill the air as the heiwa koshin marches on.

NEW DAYS. There’s another new day in your eyes / Another me and you day, if we try / So carry all our troubles home / Lay them by the riverside and wash them away (Asher Lane). The bokin (signature and donation) team walks through an underground tunnel illuminated with sun murals.

Focus on the Global South’s Galileo de Guzman Castillo from the Philippines took part in the 2019 International Youth Relay Peace March, which aimed to Tprovide a place  and an opportunity for overseas young delegates to witness the Japan National Peace March, interact with Hibakushas (atomic bombing survivors) and learn about peace and nuclear weapons abolition while walking with grassroots people in Japan.  Galil is now back in the Philippines after his 18-day journey through Aichi and Gifu prefectures.