Dissonance Searching for Resonance: A Time to Remember the Hibakusha, or Are We Too Late?


 Robert Kowalczyk - TRANSCEND Media Service

“What has kept the world safe from the bomb since 1945 has not been deterrence, in the sense of fear of specific weapons, so much as it’s been memory. The memory of what happened at Hiroshima (and Nagasaki).”
— John Hersey

14 Feb 2022 – The world is now bracing itself for a possible Russian invasion of the Ukraine. The U.S. is pushing back, with President Biden, while asking all Americans to leave the Ukraine, saying, “Things could go crazy quickly,” and almost nonchalantly talking about “a World War.”

A calculated risk on each side, which could eventually, or rapidly, escalate towards an automated, spontaneous chain of events taking us from relative peace into the potential for global nuclear warfare. Advanced technology and the introduction of hypersonic cruise missiles have brought us to this moment.

Nuclear weapons have only one target ― Humanity

Hopefully, it’s not too late to remember the Hibakusha (the survivors of the atomic bombings). How does one limit such an exchange once the first button is pressed? And should it happen, will any future historians quibble about who started it? Will there be future Hibakusha who live to tell their horrific stories?

Peace Mask Project, a small, international Kyoto City registered NPO, has promised the Hibakusha and their descendants the establishment of a traveling exhibition, or the finding of a permanent and appropriate home to which to donate the 100 Peace Masks (image above) from Japan (90), Korea (8), Taiwan (1), and the United States (1).

We seek an appropriate international venue where the Peace Masks can quietly express the unimaginable.

Although exhibitions of the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Peace Masks have been displayed both in Hiroshima and at the United Nations Conference Centre, Bangkok, the third promise made to the Hibakusha, as expressed above, has not yet been accomplished.

During the 17-month project, each of the Hibakusha and their descendants, ages 8 to 92, offered their facial impressions in support of the well-known Hibakusha peace mission: “No More Hiroshima’s! No More Nagasaki’s! No More Nuclear Weapons!” 

Peace Mask Project was both honored and humbled by the individuals and families who participated. Not one of them pointed a finger of blame or anger; lasting peace among nations was their most common thought. We trust that their 76-year prayer becomes a reality by allowing the world to remember the past, and then chart the endless possibilities for our future.

The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Hibakusha Peace Mask Project

Japan, U.S. urge world leaders to visit A-bombed Hiroshima, Nagasaki – Kyodo News (January 21, 2022)

With appreciation to Transcend Media Service (TMS) its writers, readers, and contributors; with a special nod to Gary Corseri, who contributed to this article. Please leave a comment below and consider a donation to TMS, the website that works hard to encourage and support peacebuilders.


Peace Mask Project is not affiliated with any corporate or religious interest. Please send any email concerning this article to Robert Kowalczyk (or journey04@mac.com), International Coordinator of Peace Mask Project.


Robert Kowalczyk is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment. He is former Professor and Department Chair of the Department of Intercultural Studies in the School of Art, Literature and Cultural Studies of Kindai University, Osaka, Japan. Robert has coordinated a wide variety of projects in the intercultural field, and is currently the International Coordinator of Peace Mask Project. He has also worked in cultural documentary photography and has portfolios of images from Korea, Japan, China, Russia and other countries. He has been a frequent contributor to Kyoto Journal. Contact can be made through his website portfolio: robertkowalczyk.zenfolio.com.

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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 14 Feb 2022.

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2 Responses to “Dissonance Searching for Resonance: A Time to Remember the Hibakusha, or Are We Too Late?”

  1. Gary Mintier says:

    Mr Kowalczyk

    Thank you for your tireless effort on behalf of the Hibakusha. If only there were more people trying to bring about the awarness of the possibilities of Nuclear War. Keep up the good work.

    Thank You again

  2. Gary Steven Corseri says:

    Arigato gozaimasu, Robert Kowlczyk and Antonio C. S. Rosa (at Transcend Media Service)–for your dedication and mighty contributions to the cause of Peace….