WILMINGTON — A delegation from Wilmington College that traveled to Japan in summer 2019 to return an atomic-bombed cross to a Catholic cathedral in Nagasaki and present 100 handmade dolls to Japanese schoolchildren gained the attention of thousands across the world, including Pope Francis.
That story will play a central role when Northwestern University Professor Hirokazu Miyazaki presents a virtual lecture, “Gifts of Peace,” Sept. 21, from 6 to 7 p.m., via a live Facebook stream available to all with internet at www.facebook.com/PRCatWC. Possessing a Facebook account is not required to access this program.
The event is being held in observance of the United Nations’ International Day of Peace.
It is also being presented in conjunction with the current gallery exhibit, “Gifts of Peace: Artifacts of Reconciliation and Healing,” at the Meriam R. Hare Quaker Heritage Center at Wilmington College (open weekdays through Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). The program also will include a message from Archbishop Mitsuaki Takami of the Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki.
Miyazaki is the Kay Davis Professor and professor of anthropology at Northwestern University. He will share his keen interest and the role he played in the scenario that led to Dr. Tanya Maus, director of the Peace Resource and Quaker Heritage centers, and Nancy McCormick, campus minister, along with three Wilmington College students visiting Nagasaki on a mission of reconciliation and healing in August 2019.
Maus recalled that the delegation presented nearly 100 handcrafted dolls to children in Nagasaki. The delegation’s visit, and their gift of dolls, “renewed and reenergized the longstanding relationship” between Nagasaki and Wilmington. The relationship originally began with the 1927 gift of more than 12,600 friendship dolls from children in the U.S. to children in Japan, including dolls from Wilmington.
Nearly 100 years ago, one of the dolls sent from Wilmington in that project was given to a public preschool in Hirado, Nagasaki, and unlike many other dolls sent from the U.S., the doll has been kept at the school. “The doll known as Ellen C. has served for many people in Nagasaki as a reminder of our collective yearning for friendship and peace,” she added.
The delegation also repatriated a cross, originally found in the ruins of the Urakami Cathedral following the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, given by then Bishop of Nagasaki Aijiro Yamaguchi to Walter Hooke, a U.S. Marine, in 1946, and subsequently donated by Hooke to Wilmington College.
“The return of the cross inspired a broad range of reflections on forgiveness, justice and peace in Nagasaki,” Maus said, and on Nov. 24, 2019, the cross was displayed at the Nagasaki Hypocenter Park, where Pope
Francis prayed for the victims of the bombing and spoke about the moral imperative to abolish nuclear weapons.
Miyazaki’s lecture will examine these two cases of exchange and consider the role of giving and material culture in peace and future making.