Keepers of the Flame

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Processional (Roji-noge) by the ministers.

The 73rd Commemorative Service of Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Victims was held on Aug. 5 at Koyasan Beikoku Betsuin of Los Angeles in Little Tokyo.

The service, which includes the tolling of the bell, a processional, sutra and mantra chanting, and an incense offering, marks the anniversary of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which occurred on Aug. 6 and 9, respectively.

From left: Bishop Junkun Imamura, Junji Sarashina, Darrell Miho, Jimmy Hara, M.D.

Eiko Fukushima and Gloria Saller of ASA.

Koyasan is home to the Hiroshima Peace Flame, lit from the original flame in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, which will continue to burn until nuclear weapons have been eradicated. The speakers at the service often discuss the need for nuclear disarmament. The late Kaz Suyeishi, a Hiroshima survivor, always ended her talks with “No more Hiroshima. No more Nagasaki. No more hibakusha. No more any war.”

Bishop Junkun Imamura was the officiant, assisted by ministers Rev. Ryuzen Hayashi and Daichi Kihara.

Hiroko Nakano of ASA.

The service was chaired by Darrell Miho and Midori Seino of the American Society of Hiroshima-Nagasaki A-Bomb Survivors (ASA), which includes both postwar Japanese immigrants and Nisei who were in Japan during World War II to attend school or visit relatives.

Junji Sarashina, president of ASA, gave greetings. He survived the Hiroshima bombing when he was 16 and has often spoken about the death and destruction that he witnessed.

During Goeika chanting by Koyasan Eiyu-kai, candlelight offerings were made by Hajime Mukai, Hiroshima Kenjinkai; Kiyohide Tsubakiyama, L.A. Nagasaki-kai; Hiroko Nakano, ASA; and Kenneth T. Ito, Koyasan.

The guest speaker was Jimmy Hara, M.D., vice president of Physicians for Social Responsibility and board member of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

Words of appreciation were given by ASA representatives Eiko Fukushima and Gloria M. Saller, Ph.D.

Incense offerings in front of the Hiroshima Peace Flame.

Photos by MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo

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