Air-Raid damaged site Tours and Peace Activities


Japanese Consumer Co-ops have been holding study sessions to remember the tragedy and sorrow of the war so that peace could be kept without being forgotten. In the fall of 2021, Tochigi Co-op* and Palsystem Tokyo** held tours of the air-raid damaged sites with co-op members.

Co-op Tochigi's family walking tour in Utsunomiya :

damaged site Tochigi 1.jpg damaged site Tochigi 2.jpgのサムネイル画像

On November 3, 2021, Tochigi Co-op held its first "Family Walking Tour of the Air-Raid Damaged Site of Utsunomiya." Five parent-child groups of 12 members and six co-op staff participated in the event.
The Utsunomiya air raid occurred at 11:10 p.m. on July 12, 1945. 115 planes of B-29 bombers attacked Utsunomiya, dropping as many as 94,000 incendiary bombs. Many lives were lost as bombs were dropped intensively on urban areas where civilians lived, resulting in more than 620 deaths and 1,128 injuries.
In this tour, guided by the Utsunomiya City Guide Association, 10 war-damaged sites were visited. The 10 sites include the burnt stone Gate post of Eda Hospital, the burnt roof and second-floor walls of the Matsugamine Catholic Church, the evacuation site of Mr. MIYAZAKI Hayao, who is now a prominent film director, and the Big Ginkgo Tree, "Oicho", which was burnt black in the air-raid but later sprouted and revived.
The participants listened intently to the guide's explanations, while the children took notes about them. They walked the 4 km route in about 3 hours.
After the session, participants commented, "I learned a lot of things that I didn't know before even though I live in the neighborhood. " and "I would like to come back later for a private visit".

Palsystem Tokyo's Fieldwork in Koto ward, Tokyo: 

damaged site Tokyo 1.jpgのサムネイル画像 damaged site Tokyo 2.jpgのサムネイル画像 damaged site Tokyo 3.jpgのサムネイル画像 

On October 23, 2021, Palsystem Tokyo organized fieldwork of war sites in Koto ward in Tokyo and visited "the Center of the Tokyo Raids and War Damage" to listen to stories of war survivors. More than 30 people applied to participate in the field trip, but this year, due to the need to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 infection, a lottery was held, and 16 people participated in the field trip and 26 people participated online. On March 10, 1945, Koto ward was severely damaged by an air-raid on Tokyo.

The participants visited the War and Earthquake Memorial Museum in Jugan-ji Temple, where they saw the propeller of a B-29 bomber that crashed during the Tokyo Air-Raid and pieces of incendiary bombs. At Sarue Shrine, Ms. ISHIDA, the guide, explained about the main shrine and stone lanterns that were destroyed by fire in the Tokyo Air-Raid. Ms. NIHEI Haruyo, who experienced the air-raid when she was 8 years old, shared her harrowing experience with the participants.

*Tochigi Co-op is a consumer co-op with a membership of 266,544 (as of March 20, 2021) and is engaged in businesses such as home delivery and stores in Tochigi Prefecture, Japan.

**Palsystem Tokyo is a consumer co-op with a membership of 519,805 (as of the end of March 2021) and is engaged in businesses such as home delivery, and welfare in Tokyo.

tags: air-raid damaged site, Co-op Tochigi, Palsystem Tokyo, peace activity